Here is a loaf of delicious bread with apple, walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar – Apple Walnut Pull Apart Bread. The flavors are sweet and a bit tart. This is loved by all, especially so in fall. These filling sandwiched sections are easily separated and enjoyed. Leave out the walnuts or replace them with your choice of nuts or other crunchy seeds. Refer to the tips for other allergen or dietary substitutions
Apple walnut Pull-Apart loaf is lightly sweet and filled with flavors of apple and cinnamon. It is perfect for laidback breakfast or to take along on a picnic. The warm aromas fill the house as it bakes and it is a good thing that one does not have to wait for it to cool before digging in! This is one way of capturing the fall flavors in bread!
Table of Contents
- What is pull Apart Bread
- The Dough for Apple Walnut Pull Apart Bread
- Shaping the Bread
- Tips and Tricks for Soft and Spongy Bread
What is Pull Apart Bread
Pull Apart bread is meant for easy sharing. There is no need for a slicer and each section can be easily separated from the loaf. These come in all flavors, ready for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any time in between. This Apple Walnut Pull apart bread tastes heavenly when warm. So don’t bother with cooling racks and such. Get it out of the oven, cool in the pan for a few minutes, and onto the tasting table!
The Dough for Apple Walnut Pull Apart Bread
If your neighborhood stores sell bread dough it can be used to make this bread. I prefer homemade dough – as I can customize it and add more flavors. Oh and don’t forget you can substitute 50 % of the flour in the recipe with whole wheat. In this case, the bread will be slightly less spongy, but still very delicious.
When using store-bought dough, chances are there are no apples in it. In this case sprinkle the grated apples along with the rest of the filling during shaping.
This is a little wet dough. Not too wet, just a little stickier than the usual bread dough. I add the grated apples to the dough. and that adds to the moisture content of the dough. If it turns out to be too wet knead a few more tablespoons of flour into the dough.
Other than this it is a standard enriched dough. Knead till the dough is smooth and pliable (about 10 minutes by hand and 2 -3 minutes in the stand mixer). Cover and let it rest until doubled.
The rest of the procedure is the same whether you are using store-bought or homemade dough.
Usually, I make a double batch of the dough and make one standard loaf and one pull apart one. The regular loaf is a little tart and very soft and spongy. You can definitely taste a hint of apple in it.
Shaping the Bread
There are no set rules on how to shape this bread other than creating easily detachable sections. You are free to make the sections are thick or thin as you want. The loaf pictured here has fairly thick sections, as I was going for PBJ sandwich thickness. These have the filling sandwiched securely inside with a little sprinkled on top.
Another option is to roll out the dough thinner than mentioned in the recipe and spread the filling in a thin but even layer on top. Gently press the filling in to make it stick to the butter. Slice into squares/rectangles to fit in the loaf pan and stack the pieces in the pan.
Video Shows the shaping in detail. Check the other pull part recipes linked below the recipe for more shaping ideas.
Tips and Tricks for Soft and Spongy Bread
There is no set rule to how thick or thin the sections have to be
- Try the following method to get a better oven spring. About 10 minutes before baking place a sheet pan in the lower rack and preheat the oven to 400°F (200 °C). To bake place the loaf pan in the middle rack and place a few ice cubes in the sheet pan. Close the oven door and reduce heat to 375 °F (190°C) and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 °F (175 °C) and bake for 20 to 25 more minutes or until done.
- If there is brown sugar sprinkled on top, you might want to cove the top of the bread with an aluminum foil to prevent over-browning during the last 10 or so minutes of baking.
- This recipe can be made without using eggs, I would recommend substituting the egg with 2 tablespoons of butter/oil and adding few extra tablespoons of liquid during kneading.
- To make a vegan version follow the egg substitution above and replace milk with water/almond milk.
- This recipe makes a lightly sweet loaf. Increase the sugar to your taste. For added sweetness finish with a simple glaze.
Apple Walnut Pull Apart Loaf
For the dough
- 1 1/2 – 2 C All Purpose Flour Notes
- 1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 – 3/4 C Water / Milk As Needed
- 1 Egg Large
- 2 Tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 3/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 3 Tbsp Sugar Divided Use
- 1 C Apple Grated Notes
- 1/2 C Walnuts chopped
- 1/4 C Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
For Glaze (optional)
- 1 C Confectioner’s sugar
- 2 Tbsp Water/Milk
- 1/4 Tsp Vanilla extract
Make the dough:
- Heat milk/water until it is just warm (100 – 100 F). Take 1/4 C water and dissolve 1 tbsp sugar in it. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast becomes bubbly.
- Mix the 1 1/2 ap flour, ww flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Coarsely grate the apple. Make a well at the center of the flour mix, and add the yeast mixture, followed by the egg, grated apples, and the activated yeast mix. Knead to form a soft dough adding the remaining liquid, one tablespoon at a time.
- If using a machine knead for up to 4 minutes using the dough hook. If the dough seems very tacky add the remaining flour.
- Follow the same process if kneading by hand. Once the dough has come together it takes about 10 minutes of kneading by hand. Add the remaining flour if the dough sticks to the hand while kneading.
- Oil a medium bowl and transfer the dough ball into it. Turn the dough so that all sides are evenly coated in oil. Cover with a wet kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place till doubled – about 1 hour.
Prepare the filling:
- Chop the walnuts coarsely. Soften 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon well.
- Coat the insides of a 9 X 5 loaf pan with butter. Punch down the dough. Lightly flour a kneading surface. Roll out the dough into a 10-inch X 12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the dough rectangle.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and the chopped walnuts on top. Fold the dough along the short edge to create a 5X 12 rectangle. Cut into 8 equal pieces. Arrange the pieces side by side in the loaf pan with the ends facing up. If there is any leftover filling, sprinkle it on the top. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place till almost doubled about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until done (Refer to notes). Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
- Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Drizzle over the cooled bread.
- Use unbleached all-purpose flour preferably organic.
- Use any firm kind of apples like Granny Smith
- The amount of moisture that flour can absorb varies as well as the amount of moisture in the apple. Add more flour to the dough as needed.
- The shaping instruction is for the pan size used. Tailor it to the number of sections wanted and the pan size used.
Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.
The shaped dough can be covered and kept in the fridge for an overnight rise. Take out and set out on the counter while the oven is preheating. Bake as usual!
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Originally published in Dec , 2015.