pumpkin spice pull-apart bread

October 24, 2018 Portland, OR, USA


This post was sponsored by Land O'Lakes, my favorite butter company! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own, and I'm incredibly excited to be working with Land O'Lakes all year long because of their high-quality butter and dairy products. Thank you for supporting Hummingbird High and my awesome sponsors!


I don't know about you guys, but the last few weeks—no, months—have been insanely busy for me. I feel like I've been running around across the country and even the world, from France to England to North Dakota to Kentucky. I've been finding little pockets of time to bake for you here and there, but if I'm being honest, everything's felt really rushed.


When I worked in corporate, I've never been the kind of person who glorified being busy. I always tried to work smarter, trying (but not always succeeding) to contain all my work within the 8-hour-day/40-hour-work-week. Because let me be honest with you: the work I did, which was hard and boring and consisted of me and my team moving data from one database to another in faster and more efficient ways, was NOT saving anybody's life. To me, it was always more important that me and my team members went home to get well-rested and motivated for the next day.

So I was especially excited to find myself home after all my work travels with a calendar completely clear and free of any commitments for the week. Blank calendars excite me; it's almost as if I've been given permission to tackle a time-consuming baking project like this incredibly delicious pumpkin pull-apart bread.


Don't let my sentence above fool you though — this recipe is mostly time-consuming because bread is leavened with yeast, which always needs an hour or two to rise (especially in coldish fall weather). I get around that by sticking it in the fridge and letting it rise overnight so it's ready to go first thing in the morning. The filling takes almost no time at all; Land O Lakes® Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread is perfect on its own with a fresh, buttery pumpkin pie spice flavor straight from the tub. And despite its impressive appearance, shaping the bread is a breeze too; slicing the dough into squares and layering them in the pan results in a beautifully craggy dough with the perfect ratio of crust to filling. When warm from the oven, each jagged slice pulls apart easily, resulting in wonderfully imperfect slices of warm, pumpkin bread. Enjoy!


Some baker's notes:
  • The recipe works best if you bake it in a double pullman loaf pan, which is 16-inches long and 5-inches wide. If you don't want to source a new pan for this recipe, you can divide the dough into two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans. Note that if you go this route, the baking time will change significantly; you'll need to reduce the bake time to 25 to 30 minutes.


Overnight Pumpkin Pie Spice Pull-Apart Bread

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Special Equipment:
  • a 16 x 5-inch pullman pan (see baker's notes for substitutions)

For the Dough:
(makes one 16 x 5-inch loaf)
  • 4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (see baker's notes)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk, warmed to between 120 (F) to 130 (F) (see baker's notes)
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, melted but still slightly warm (see baker's notes)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature (see baker's notes)

For the Pumpkin Pie Spice Filling:
(makes enough for one 16 x 5-inch loaf)

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Recipe

For the Dough:
  1. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Whisk to combine. Use a tall glass or the bottom of a measuring cup to create a small well in the dry ingredients and set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a large liquid measuring cup, combine 1 cup whole milk, 1/4 cup melted Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, and 3 large eggs. Whisk to combine, and pour the wet ingredients into the well in the center of the dry ingredients (from the 1st step). Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the mixture is completely moistened — don't worry about getting any lumps out of the batter just yet, you'll get most of those out in the upcoming kneading process.

  3. Once the mixture is moistened, turn on the electric mixer and knead the mixture on low speed for 10 minutes, or until the dough is soft and elastic. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand one or two times, just to ensure that any stray dough pieces previously stuck in the bowl get incorporated into the greater mass. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight, or until doubled in size.

Assembly and Baking:
  1. Once the dough has doubled in size and you're ready to bake, prepare a French pullman pan by spraying with a light coating of cooking spray and lining the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper as well and set aside. 

  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn out into a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12 by 16-inch rectangle. 

  3. Use an offset spatula to spread 5 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread all across the surface of the rectangle, making sure to spread right up to the edges of the rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. 

  4. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the rectangle lengthwise into 3 even strips. Cut each strip widthwise into 4 equal sections. At the end of the process, you should have twelve 4-inch squares. Fold each square in half, and place in the prepared pan, arranging each square so that its seam side is down and they're fairly squished in together next to each other — in fact, the only thing preventing each square from popping open and spilling its filling everywhere is the fact that it's nestled between another dough square. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough does not spring back when pressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes.

  5. While the dough is rising, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). 

  6. Once the dough has finished rising for the second time, transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and the squares have risen spectacularly to form a jagged top. It can be a little hard to tell when pull-apart breads are done, so if you have a digital thermometer, stick it in the center of the loaf — the internal temperature should be 190 (F). If the top of the loaf is fairly browned and the internal temperature is nowhere near that, cover the top of the loaf with a sheet of aluminum foil before returning to the oven. 

  7. Once done, transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, before turning out to cool completely. The bread is best served 40 to 50 minutes after baking, when the loaf is still warm — the bread will be the perfect texture for pulling. Serve with a small ramekin of Land O Lakes® Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread.
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