Flaky orange pull apart bread with a sweet pomegranate glaze in whichever form you’d like, muffins or a loaf!
What is your happiness?
Three months ago my happiness was hope. Holding onto that shred of hope that I just might be able to break from the career path that I’d thought I’d wanted. An insurmountable mountain, threatening to squander my happiness with the flick of the pen. But I surmounted.
Recently, happiness has been anticipation. Anticipation for the freedoms I’ll have in a new country with fresh faces and a reinvigorated life.
Today, happiness is calm. The calm as I sit on my grandpa’s porch, soaking in the smell of his tobacco pipe and Georgia in the fall. The calm in knowing that it’s all going to be alright.
And today, happiness is also finally, after many failed attempts, perfecting this pull apart bread. Knowing that I can do this. Like, I did this! And you can do it! And the happiness that comes from making bread magic + sweet citrusy pomegranate carbs = happiness to surmount all.
And I’m especially happy because I discovered two ways to make this recipe (happiness = choices). The first is a loaf. We’ll essentially roll out our dough (with a Nalgene bottle because it’s too early in the day to be using a bottle of Jameson as a rolling pin…and because I still haven’t got around to investing in a rolling pin), then cut out circles (with a mason jar because, shockingly, I don’t have cookie cutters either). Spread a bit of butter onto a circle, sprinkle a bit of orange zest + sugar on it, fold it in half like a taco, and place it in a greased bread pan (sidenote: happiness also = greasing a bread pan with soft butter all messy like a true masterchef).
Then there are the muffins. For these we’ll roll the dough, butter it up, and cut out strips. Sprinkle each strip with orange zest and sugar and layer them all on top of eachother. Cut your stack of dough into 8 or so mini stacks, and place each into a greased muffin well so the layers are facing up like an accordion.
Whichever route you go, you’ll need to let it rest and rise for about an hour before actually baking (happiness = watching dough rise). Then you’ll just bake it/them about 20 minutes until brown.
Pomegranate time! I experimented with many many ways of integrating pomegranate into this recipe, to include putting the pomegranate seeds in the bread itself (→ soggy) and making a pomegranate syrup of sorts (→ inedible). The winner ended up being a simple combination of powdered sugar and pomegranate juice. Whisk the two together to create a smooth icing, then mix in some pomegranate seeds. The icing really just acts to hold the seeds together so that they’ll rest beautifully and tastily atop your pull apart bread.
Happiness = orange pomegranate pull apart bread. What’s your happiness today?
- 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour 330 g, + more as needed
- ¼ cup sugar 50 g
- 1 .25-oz package instant yeast 6 g
- ½ tsp salt 4 g
- ½ cup milk 120 mL
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter 60 g
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL
- 2 eggs whisked
- 2-4 Tbsp butter 30 to 60 g, softened
- ½ cup sugar 100 g
- 4 Tbsp orange zest zest from about 1 orange
- ¾ cup powdered sugar 75 g, powdered
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate juice 30 mL
- ½-1 cup pomegranate seeds 1 fruit
- In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
- Over low heat, just barely warm butter and milk in a small saucepan (120 degrees F, 48 C), then mix in vanilla.
- While stirring, slowly pour milk mixture then whisked eggs into the flour until a loose dough is formed (if it’s a bit wet, it’s okay!)
- Transfer dough to a clean, floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add more flour, a spoonful at a time, as necessary if dough is too sticky.
- Set dough in a greased bowl and cover with either plastic wrap or a warm, wet towel. Set somewhere warm and allow dough to rise. Dough won’t double in size, but it should get nice and puffy. Let it do it’s thing for about 1 to 2 hours.*
- In the meantime, combine orange zest and sugar. Place butter out at room temperature to soften.
- On a floured surface, roll dough out to about 20’’x12’’ (50 x 30 cm), then decide if you want to make muffins or a loaf (ah, decisions!)
To Make Bread Loaf
- Grease a medium-sized bread pan.
- With a circle cookie cutter (or a mason jar or really anything round) cut out about 3 inch (7.5 cm) wide circles from the dough.
- Grab one of the circles. If it feels a bit thick, feel free to wang jangle it to be a bit thinner and wider. Then, using your fingers or a spoon, rub a touch of softened butter onto one side and scoop a bit of the orange sugar mix onto it. Fold in half and set curvey side up in the bread pan (like a taco, right side up).
- Repeat this process until you’ve cut out as many circles as you can, then smoosh the remaining dough into a ball, knead a few times, roll out, and start again until you’ve used all you can. You can set the dough tacos in a straight line down the pan or in two intertwining columns (see picture above).
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough tacos to rise and get to know each other for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for about 20 minutes, until top is browned. Let cool 15 minutes before topping with pomegranate.
To Make Muffins
- Grease the wells of a muffin tin.
- Rub softened butter over your dough rectangle (2 to 4 Tbsp, as much as you’re comfortable with), then cut rectangle into about 3 inch (7.5 cm) wide strips.
- Sprinkle a strip with the orange sugar mix then top it with a naked strip. Sprinkle that strip with orange sugar, layer with a naked, sprinkle, layer, you get it. You’ll end up with a long stack of alternating dough and orange sugar mix.
- Eyeballing how wide your muffin tin wells are, cut your long layered stack into mini stacks about as wide as the wells.
- Gently pick up your mini stacks and set them vertically into the muffin wells so the layers are facing up like an accordion (see picture above).
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for about 20 minutes, until tops are browned. Let cool 15 minutes before topping with pomegranate.
- Whichever route you go, you’ll need to garnish it with this tasty pomegranate finish. Combine powdered sugar and pomegranate juice, whisking until smooth.
- Gently mix pomegranate seeds into icing (as many or few as desired).
- Pour or scoop pomegranate icing over your warm bread or muffins. Pom appetit!