A soft and delicious sticky bun-like bread flavored with orange zest and tart cranberries. With endless strips, it’s hard to know when to stop eating!
Let’s just jump into it. Cranberry Orange Pull Apart Bread.
Sorry, I need a moment.
OK I’m ready. Can you smell those gorgeous zests of orange on that loaf? Or see cranberries popping out of every little cranny? How about the bread? Can you tell how ridiculously soft it is and that it absolutely melts in your mouth? CAN YOU?
I can, I did, and I ate about 1/3 of the loaf in one day. And you know what? I have no regrets.
For those of you who haven’t ever had a pull apart bread, I will explain: a pull apart bread is made of tons of strips of dough all rubbed with sugar, tucked nicely together, and baked in a loaf pan. As the picture below shows, you rip off a piece and eat it just like that.
It’s the perfect weekend breakfast bread. How happy would your roommate/girl-/boyfriend/spouse/kids be to wake up to this? The answer is so happy. There’s a whole psychology to food that requires the eater’s interaction, and this bread delivers on the interaction front. You peel off a piece and get so excited you end up peeling off another and another and another.
Onto flavor. There is orange zest in the filling and in the glaze, so that gorgeous sweet citrus is in every bite. The cranberries add a welcomed zing. And the dough? Well, let’s just say this is my only sweet dough recipe moving forward.
In other news, I did a photoshoot last week! They’re mostly pictures of me eating cupcakes. I ate so much cupcake. I kept posing for a shot and felt it had to be authentic so I halfway bit into it, then found myself thinking whoops, it’s gotta go somewhere now.
I leave you with these. Hope you all have great Wednesdays!
Cranberry Orange Pull Apart Bread
- Prep Time: 2 hours 20 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 3 hours 5 mins
- Yield: 1 large loaf 1x
For the bread
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant active yeast
- 2 eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- zest of 1 1/2 oranges
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 2–3 tablespoons heavy cream
- In a small bowl, microwave the milk and sugar for 45 seconds, until it is warm but not hot. Add in yeast and stir. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should foam, signaling that the yeast is active. Then, stir in melted butter, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Pour mixture into a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the flour 1 cup at a time. Let the dough knead for 5 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky, but firm enough to hold together in a ball.
- Coat a large bowl with oil and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area to proof for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Flour a large work surface. Roll the dough out into a 12 inch by 20 inch rectangle. Smear the butter over the dough, coating it evenly. Sprinkle the brown sugar and orange zest on top. Make sure to spread everything evenly to the edges.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough width-wise into six even strips (each approx. 3.3 inches wide). Set the strips on top of each other, sprinkling the dried cranberries on top of each strip as you work. Then, cut the large stack into six equal slices once again. You will end with six stacks, each with six strips of dough.
- Place three dough stacks on top of each other and put into the loaf pan so they stand up vertically. Repeat with the last three stacks. The end product should look like a dough accordion in your loaf pan.*
- Allow dough to rise a second time. Cover the loaf with a cloth and let rest in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown.** You’ll want a deep golden color, as the outside of the loaf can be cooked and the inside still doughy. Use your discretion.
- While the dough is baking, mix all icing ingredients together. The consistency should be thick and create ribbons the width of a finger when you pull it up out of the bowl with a spoon or whisk. Set aside.
- Once out of the oven, allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle with glaze.
*At this point in time, you can freeze the dough overnight and then take it out in the morning to thaw for 1 hour. Then, bake as normal.
**Should the top of your loaf brown in the first 30 minutes, cover it loosely with tin foil to prevent excess browning