This bread is one of those recipes that immediately caught my eye, I love lemony treats. It’s also one of those recipes that has been lost in my abyss of bookmarks for months. As it is the season for citrus, my local grocery store has been stocked with all kinds of zesty goodness. We are big fans of oranges and grapefruits, simply segmented maybe with a drizzle of maple syrup or a sprinkle of Pico de Gallo (I love this stuff on apples and mangoes too), but I do most of my citrusy baking with Meyer Lemons. I love them, sweet-sour and such a perfect sunny yellow.
This bread is akin to sticky-bun, but instead of caramel or cinnamon, it’s sweet bright lemon. The filling between the layers is sticky, sweet, and tangy from the copious amounts of meyer lemon zest. The top gets golden and crusty, while the bottom is ooey-gooey like the bottom of a pan of sticky buns. The icing is perfect, tangy cream cheese and lemon, but it could definitely be left out.
It’s the perfect sharing bread, warm from the oven, around the coffee table, lattes in hand, and good conversation being had.
Meyer Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread
Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria and Anger Burger. My only real adaptations were that I used Meyer Lemons instead of the regular old kind. Whatever lemons you do use, try to get organic or unsprayed ones, as you will be zesting and no one likes tainted zest.
This recipe is also notoriously a bit tricky, as there is stacking and layering and the dough is SUPER sticky. Definitely try to make the dough the night before…it makes the rolling/layering/stacking process loads easier.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (i used organic cane w/ fine results)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 envelope)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk
2 oz. butter, unsalted
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temp
1 cup sugar
the zest of 5-6 meyer lemons
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
juice of 1 meyer lemon
1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan heat milk and butter over low heat until the butter is just melted. Remove from heat, add water, and set aside for about a minute until the temperature registers 120F-130F, add vanilla.
Pour the milk mixture over the dry mixture and combine with a rubber spatula (or a bowl scraper). Mixing by hand, add eggs one at a time (you can use a mixer if you want, fitted w/ the dough hook). Mixing in the eggs takes some effort and it will seem like you are swirling dough around in an eggy mess, but keep going until it is incorporated. Add 1/2 cup flour and mix until smooth (30-45 seconds). Add remaining flour, 2 tablespoons at a time and knead until smooth and sticky (it will be stickier, resist the urge to powder it up with flour).
Place the dough in a large, greased bowl (I used my mixing bowl) cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Deflate the dough. At this point you can either pop the dough in the refrigerator overnight and resume in the morning, or if you are brave you can tackle the dough now.
In a small bowl rub sugar for the filling with the zest of the lemons with your fingers.
On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into roughly a 12 X 20 inch rectangle (erring on the side of smaller is okay here as the finished dough will rises considerably, filling in any gaps). Using a pastry brush spread all of the melted butter over the dough. Cut the dough North to South in strips (12X4 in pieces). Spread 1/5 of the lemon zest mixture onto a rectangle of dough, stack another rectanngle on top and repeat. You can reshape and maniupulate the dough as needed to make a nice stack.
Preheat the oven to 350F and place rack in the center. Lightly grease a 9X5 loaf pan.
Slice the stack through the five layers into 6 equal sections, about 2X4 inches. Fit the layered strip into the loaf pan, cut side down…as if it were a loaf of pre-sliced bread. Cover the pan in plastic and allow to rise another 45-50 minutes until nearly doubled in size. If you poke the dough and the indentation stays it is ready to bake.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
Make glaze. Stir cream cheese until smooth. Add lemon juice and powdered sugar, combine.
Turn out the bread while it is still warm and glaze. This bread is delicious still warm from the oven and is best eaten the day it is baked.