Apple Walnut Pull-Apart Bread
Adapted from this recipe.
Yields , 9x5inch loaf
I added some whole wheat flour to this version, though it can certainly be made with just all-purpose. This bread is the very best the day it is made, still warm and slightly gooey. Make it when there are people around for sharing, as you might find yourself in a bread-coma, otherwise. The apples and walnuts make for a messy filling, if they fall out from between the layers, just tuck any stray bits in between the folds of dough after you have placed them into the pan. I streamlined the original steps in the recipe to make it a bit easier to pull together.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 envelope)
1/3 cup whole milk
4 Tablespoons (2 oz.) butter, unsalted
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temp, beaten lightly
1 large apple, peeled and diced small (I used a Honeycrisp)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 Tablespoons (2 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
3 Tablespoons butter, browned
1 cup powdered sugar
milk to thin
To make the dough, heat milk with butter in a small saucepan just until butter has melted. Add the water and sugar, set aside to cool for a minute–you want it to be just warm, not hot or the yeast will die. Once it has cooled (to about 120*F), stir in the yeast and set aside until foamy–about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flours and salt. Stir the beaten egg and vanilla into the yeast mixture and using the dough hook, or your strength and a sturdy spoon or bowl scraper, mix the wet into the dry until a dough forms. Knead–either with the mixer or by hand–until you get a fairly sticky and tacky, but well mixed dough.
Grease a large bowl (the one you mixed in is perfect), place the dough inside and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
While the dough rises, melt the butter for the filling, pour into a small dish and set aside. Brown the butter for the icing in a skillet–heat butter over medium until the solids turn deep brown and smell like nuts and toffee. Pour browned butter into a bowl and set aside. Add the diced apples to the skillet and sauté with a pinch of salt, until softened slightly–3-5 minutes. Set the apples aside to cool. In a small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the filling, set aside.
Deflate the dough (at this point you can recover and place in the refrigerator overnight and continue the next day).
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 cinnamon-sugar mixture onto a rectangle of dough followed by the apples and walnuts, stack another rectangle 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 and brown and the insides are done (you can test this with a thermometer, it should read between 189-190*F). Check it after 30 minutes or so…this loaf took about 45 minutes to bake–if it starts to brown too much before the interior is done, tent the top with foil and continue baking.
Make the icing by stirring together the browned butter and powdered sugar, adding milk to thin to desired consistency.
Turn the baked bread out onto a cooling rack while it is still warm and glaze.