For me, breakfast pastries are the ultimate treats. Eating essentially dessert in my PJ’s and having it be completely acceptable is what weekends were made for. Sure, I’ve been known to have a slice of leftover cake for breakfast on any given weekday, but nothing beats the anticipation waiting for yeast to proof combined with the aroma of freshly baked bread filling the kitchen as I sip my coffee. This is what makes things like flakey croissants, assorted Danishes, and gooey cinnamon rolls the ultimate treats.
Another reason that such pastries are the ultimate treats is the fact that they don’t just happen by accident or when a sudden craving strikes. In order to enjoy something so buttery, warm, and comforting straight out of the oven during breakfast hours, a bit of planning is necessary.
If I am going to put in the effort to start a recipe that doesn’t have the instant gratification of something like a cookie, I might as well go big or go home. The kind of treat that whether you have to feed a crowd or just you and your spouse (like in my case), you hover over the baking tin and devour it until there’s nothing left.
In this case, I am talking gooey, sweet Lemon Brioche Pull-Apart Bread made from dough enriched with eggs and butter. Brioche is like the equivalent to homemade mac-n-cheese or fried chicken and waffles, aka – breakfast comfort food. Held together by even more butter, zesty lemon sugar, and a bit of spice, this Lemon Brioche Pull-Apart Bread takes a classic and gives it an even more decadent twist.
Similar to cinnamon rolls, sweet pull-apart breads get a thin layer of filling but the dough is cut into pieces that are lined up in a loaf pan rather than rolled and sliced into buns. And instead of cinnamon, I went with a lemon filling combined with a dash of ginger and nutmeg. Why should cinnamon get all the fun?
When brainstorming this recipe, I started thinking of different types of fillings. I considered things like chocolate or chopped nuts, but I ultimately wanted something a bit more fresh and lively for spring.
I began to recall my first French crepe filled with just sugar and lemon juice. I am usually drawn to those dripping with chocolate-hazelnut sauce or loaded with fresh berries, but the simplicity of just lemon sugar always intrigued me. Now, I totally get it. Lemon is my favourite filling for crepes and I discovered it makes for a delightful component to my pull-apart bread.
Back to the brioche dough itself. As I mentioned before, it does take some planning. Brioche requires time for the yeast to rise and for the flavours to develop. Thankfully, part of this process can actually be done overnight or the day ahead!
In order for me not to stress about my dough proofing properly over the 8 hours or so it takes to rise in the refrigerator, I trust my brioche dough with Fleischmann's quick-rise yeast. Instead of worrying all night if I’ll be waking up to deflated dough, I can rest easy knowing the yeast is doing all of the work for me. Allowing the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator slows the process a bit (but that’s kind of perfect for while you sleep), but it adds more developed flavours to the dough.
Thinking you might want to devour this dish tomorrow? Knead the dough together tonight and then let the yeast do all the work while you sleep. Your future self will surely thank you.
Overnight Lemon Sugar Brioche Pull-Apart Bread
3/4 cup whole milk
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon Fleischmann’s Quick Rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
the zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan until it reaches between 105 to 11o degrees F. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, and yeast. Add in the salt and nutmeg and mix until combined.
3. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk into the milk.
4. With the mixer running on low using the paddle attachment, pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
5. Stop the mixer and swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook.
6. With the mixer on low, begin adding in the butter, a few teaspoons at a time.
7. Continue to knead for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the dough is soft, supple, but not sticky. Add in a little more flour as needed. You may need to knead by hand if the butter is not incorporating well enough with the dough hook.
8. Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough in side. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until it doubles in size (about 30 to 90 minutes).
9. Once doubles, knead to dough about 5 times. Place back in the bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
10. The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead about 5 times into a disc.
11. Line a loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper, allowing a couple inches of overhang, and set aside.
12. Let rest about 10 to 20 minutes, then roll out into a 13-inch by 18-inch rectangle.
13. Spread the softened butter over the dough. Generously sprinkle with the lemon zest, sugar, and spices.
14. Cut the dough into five equal strips, lengthwise. Stack the strips on top of each other and cut into fifths again.
15. Place the pieces of cut dough in a row in the lined loaf pan. It’s okay if they are not all facing the same directions or if they do not fill out the pan at this point. You may have a few leftover pieces - do not over-stuff the pan.
16. Cover with a clean tea towel at set aside to rise for about 45 minutes.
17. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
18. Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and the center piece feels secure when wiggled. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with a piece of foil.
19. Let cool on a wire rack. Remove the bread by carefully lifting it out with the edges of the parchment.
20. Drizzle with the lemon cream cheese glaze and serve.
Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
2 tablespoons cream cheese, very soft
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 to 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar.
In a small mixing bowl, stir the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. The glaze should be slightly runny.
This post was sponsored by ACH Foods. All opinions and ideas are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Style Sweet CA possible!