During the shelter-in-place orders this spring, grocery shoppers were uneasy about the food supply chain and were preparing for an unknown length of time spent at home. They cleared grocery stores of frozen foods, meat, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. That uneasiness, paired with a surge of interest in home baking to help fill time at home created a yeast shortage.
Active dry yeast was unavailable, but bakeries began selling their supplies, and I was able to buy a pound of instant yeast.
This kid-friendly, fun, and delicious pull-apart bread was our first weekend baking project. It’s fantastic served alongside anything that has pan juices (hello, garlic butter chicken), and reminded us in the best possible way of the yeasted rolls served in our high school cafeterias.
Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. instant yeast (see note for active dry yeast)
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbs. oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see note for whole wheat)
- 8 Tbs. butter, melted
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the warm water, sugar, yeast, egg, oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour.
Mix until combined - it's ok if it is a little lumpy. With the mixer running, continue to gradually add flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball that is soft but not overly sticky. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the top of the bowl, and let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes. It should puff slightly.
Pour half (4 Tbs.) of the melted butter evenly in the bottom of a bundt pan (if you don't have a bundt pan, you can use 2 loaf pans).
On a lightly floured or greased countertop, press or roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle, about 12x10 inches. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 semi-equal squares.
Grab one square at a time, dip the bottom of the square in the butter in the pan and layer the squares against each other (kind of like a trail of dominoes that has fallen over on each other). All 24 squares should fit in a layer around the bottom of the pan. Lift and rearrange the squares, if needed, to fit them all in.
Cover the bundt pan and let the dough rise until noticeably puffy, 45 to 60 minutes. After the dough has risen, pour the remaining 4 Tbs. butter over and around the top of the bread.
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown on top and baked through. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate or platter (lay the plate upside down over the bundt pan and holding onto both the plate and pan at the same time, flip it over so the bread falls out onto the plate).
Serve warm or at room temperature.
To substitute active dry yeast, increase the amount to 1 1/4 Tbs. and dissolve the yeast in 3 to 4 Tbs. water, letting it rest until the mixture is bubbly and foamy. Then proceed with the recipe as directed.
Works well with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.