Continuing this week in Meyer lemon recipes, here comes Meyer lemon pull apart bread! I've made a savory pizza pull apart bread once before, but never a sweet version. Once the idea of pull apart bread was introduced, it took off in the food blogging world. You can find an endless list of variations on this type of bread, from garlic bread to apple cinnamon and now I'm bringing in Meyer lemon. The more I work with Meyer lemons, the more I fall in love with them. Even the sweet smell of the zest gets me every time...oh Meyer lemon, where have you been all my life?
Meyer Lemon Pull Apart Bread
- ½ cup milk plus 2 tbsp
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided (50 grams)
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast (7 grams)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (444 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter, softened (57 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ¼ cup Meyer lemon zest (10 grams)
- ¼ cup melted butter (57 grams)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (130 grams)
- 2 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
- Microwave milk for about 30 seconds or until it's warm (100-110 degrees F). Add 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 ¼ teaspoon yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast is activated and the liquid is foamy.
- Combine 3 cups flour with ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture, ¼ cup softened butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix until the dough starts to come together. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is smooth, tacky, and elastic. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Prepare the filling. Combine ½ cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup meyer lemon zest.
- Punch down the dough. Dust a clean work counter with flour and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll it into an 18x15 inch rectangle. Brush on the melted butter and sprinkle the sugar lemon zest mixture on top in one even layer. Cut the rectangle into 5 strips lengthwise (each strip should be 18x3 inches). Stack the strips on top of each other, placing the last strip with the filling face down. Cut the stack into 6 even squares. Carefully place each stack into a muffin pan. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake pull apart bread for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- Prepare the icing. Whisk together the powdered sugar with Meyer lemon juice. Drizzle icing over the bread and serve while warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The technique in how to make a pull-apart bread is the same no matter how you decide to flavor it. Make the dough, let it rise, shape it, and let it rise again. It does take some time to make these rolls but the end result will be worth it, it always is!
Since I used active dry yeast, the first step is activating the yeast. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I had the water, (or in this case, milk) too hot for the yeast, killing the bacteria and ultimately preventing the bread from rising. Make sure the water is between 100 and 110 degrees F, I cannot stress this enough!
If you're like me and you forgot to bring the eggs to room temperature, let them sit in warm water for 10 minutes before adding to the dough. Let it proof for about 1 hour or until doubled in size before rolling it out.
Now comes the fun part of putting together the bread. Roll out the dough into a 15x18 inch rectangle, brush on the butter, and sprinkle on the sugar and Meyer lemon zest mixture. The butter will help the sugar melt while baking. Cut the large rectangle into 5 strips the long way; they should be 18x3 inches.
Stack those strips on top of each other. You want to place the last strip with the filling facing down. If the sugar is on top, it will stick to the muffin pan and burn while baking. Cut those strips into 6 even squares and place them in a muffin pan for the final proof.
These are fairly large rolls as they will continue to rise and proof in the oven. You can also make them smaller and turn them into 8 or 10 rolls. Bake the bread until golden brown, drizzle on the Meyer lemon icing and there you have it. The Meyer lemon icing adds another layer of Meyer lemon flavor to the dessert, and who can complain about that?
I gave these rolls to my parents, thinking that I would not be able to finish all of them. Big mistake. The next day I found myself craving the bread and went back to finish the remaining pieces. Pop these in the microwave just before serving. Nothing beats a warm Meyer lemon pull apart bread roll!
For more bread inspiration check out this mocha walnut bread!