I have ALWAYS wanted to bake a loaf bread ever since I was in high school, and yes that a LOOONNG time ago. I remember when I was in form 3 (grade 11) one of my classmates had a bread cook book that I borrowed for quite a long time and I read it from cover to cover every other day for about a month and I was kind of hooked on the idea of making bread.
Well almost a decade later and I never tried to make a loaf of bread till last weekend.
I saw this recipe first on Pinterest. When I followed the link I found it on Clockwork Lemon she calls it pull apart lemon coffee cake, but I didn’t see the “coffee” part nor feel the cake part so I dropped the two tags. Any who I thought it looked sooo interesting and sooo delicious, I just had to try it.
So last weekend my gals Mo and Mona came over and as Mona drunk, I kneaded and Mo wrongly filed my recipes (the girl has no idea about file organization!!! She even punched all my recipes on the wrong side!!!!!! <3) Anyway I digress. The process was not as hard as I thought. For the first part I used my hand mixer and the kneading was not for that long BUT the waiting was excruciating. In total you have to let the dough rest and rise for about 2 hours, bake for about 40 mins and not forgetting the time it take to prepare, look for ingredients etc so you can easily get impatient. So we sat, napped drunk and 4 hours later the bread was ready and smelling amazing. Of course we all baked the bread the drunkard and the faux secretary included. The bread was so nice, it tasted as though it had marmalade on it already. I think I would use a little less sugar the next time though. This is what the original bread from Clockwork lemon looked like
I did not have cream cheese so I did not make the icing but I honestly think it it not really necessary due to the fact that the bread has a lot of sugar but could be worth the try. Because this was my first attempt on bread I did not change a thing, But with too much sugar or not this bread is definitely worth trying out. HAPPY BAKING!!!
Sweet Yeast Dough
· 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (You might not use all of this)
· 1/4 cup granulated sugar
· 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/3 cup whole milk
· 2 ounces unsalted butter
· 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
· 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
· 2 large eggs, at room temperature
Lemon Sugar Filling
· 1/2 cup granulated sugar
· Zest of three lemons
· 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
· 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Tangy Cream Cheese Icing ( I did not use this part)
· 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
· 1/3 cup powdered sugar
· 1 tablespoon whole milk
· 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. In the microwave heat the butter and the milk together until the butter melts. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. While it is cooling Mix two cups of the flour with the yeast and the sugar in the bowl of a mixer.
3. add the water to the milk mixture and stir in the vanilla extract
4. Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixer and stir until combined.
5. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the eggs one at a time, mixing each egg until it is combined. Add another ½ cup of the flour and the salt and mix till combined.
6. Sprinkle the dough with 2 tbsp of flour and knead it with the dough hook for 3 minutes. The dough will be sticky but should become soft and smooth from the kneading. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
Make Ahead Tip: If you want to make the dough the night before you bake it just gently deflate the dough after its first rise, place back in the bowl and cover it with plastic. Stick it in the fridge overnight (it will continue to rise, but at a much slower rate. Plus you get added flavor in the bread from the benefit of a slow, cold rise) The next day take the dough out and bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the next steps. I like to cover my dough with a damp piece of paper towel and stick it in my oven at the lowest temperature until it is room temp
7. Mix the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest. It will draw out the citrus oils and make the sugar sandy and fragrant.
8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan or spray it will baking spray
9. Forming the loaf: Deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. This part is a lot easier with a ruler on hand! Use a pastry brush to thickly coat the dough with the melted butter
10. Use a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, or a sharp knife to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″ (it might not be this exact size, but try to make the five strips be equal sizes).
11.Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon sugar over the first buttered rectangle and gently press the sugar in. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling that one with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon sugar as well. Continue to top with rectangles and sprinkle, so you have a stack of five 12″ by 4″ rectangles, all buttered and topped with lemon sugar.
12. Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″.) Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes.
13. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes and then check to make sure that top isn’t browning too quickly. If it is, just cover the top of the loaf with tinfoil and continue baking. My loaf took a little over 50 minutes to bake completely ( I think this is because I was using a microwave convention the original recipe took about 40 mins). When done, transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
14. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth, then add the milk and lemon juice. Stir until creamy and smooth. Spread over the warm bread (you might want to put some plastic wrap or parchment paper under the bread to catch the drips)
15. HAPPY EATING!!