Lemon pull-apart bread

As the name suggests, you just pull apart the bread to eat a slice! This bread is a little time consuming to make but always worth the effort—each piece is coated in butter, lemon, sugar, and icing.

Makes one 9in loaf

WHAT YOU NEED

For the lemon bread
3 large eggs, at room temperature
120g whole milk, warm (35°C to 45°C)
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp granulated sugar
444g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp instant yeast
1½ tsp salt
113g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces, plus more for greasing the pan

For the filling
150g granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
Pinch salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the icing
180g confectioners’ sugar
30–60g fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

WHAT TO DO

To make the bread
Grease a large bowl and set aside.
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk, honey, and granulated sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt on low speed to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low speed to combine (if the mixture is dry and some of the flour isn’t combining, add 1 to 2 tbsp of water—but no more—to help incorporate it).
With the mixer running on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, about 1min.
Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl; the dough will be sticky and you will need a spatula to scrape it into the bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 30mins. Remove the plastic wrap and place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough to gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this folding.
Repeat this folding motion six to eight more times until all the dough has been folded over on itself.
Re-cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 30mins. Repeat this series of folding three more times, for a rise time of 2hrs and a total of four foldings.
Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 72hrs.

To make the filling
In a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, lemon zest, and salt.

To bake
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm x 10cm x 10cm pan with a sling.
Lightly flour your work surface, then roll the dough into a 50cm x 30.5 cm rectangle with a short edge facing you.
With a pastry brush, spread the melted butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the lemon-sugar mixture over the dough and press it gently into the dough with your hands.
Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the dough crosswise into five strips (about 30.5cm x 10cm) each, then stack the five rectangles on top of each other.
Slice the stack of rectangles to create six equal strips, about 10cm x 5cm each. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut-edges up and side by side (it will be a tight fit, but it is okay to press them close together).
Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 45 to 60mins. (Bread can also do a slow rise in the refrigerator overnight.)
Place a sheet pan on a lower oven rack (this will help catch any drips). Bake the bread until the top is golden brown, 40 to 50mins, or registers 91°C on an instant-read thermometer. Check the bread halfway through baking—if the top is browning too quickly, cover it with a piece of foil.

To make the icing
While the bread is baking, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, the melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add more lemon juice, 1 tbsp at a time, to thin the icing to your preferred consistency.

To assemble
Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack and immediately pour half of the icing over the bread, then let sit for 15mins. Use the sling to gently remove the loaf from the pan, then drizzle the remaining icing over the loaf. Let cool slightly before pulling apart and eating. This bread is best eaten the day it’s made.


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