Friday, February 28, 2014

Lemon Pull Apart Rolls with Fresh Lemon Glaze

For the past year I've had this obsession with Pull Apart Bread. I'm sure you've seen the pictures on Pinterest. You know the ones...loaves of golden brown sweet bread dripping with glaze. So you understand the reason for my obsession.
 Well, I couldn't ignore my craving any longer and finally got the chance to make some this past weekend. Instead of making a loaf (that I would probably have eaten all by myself the minute it came out of the oven and got doused with glaze), I decided to practice portion control and make individual rolls. While making a single loaf would definitely be easier, I have to say that I love this idea better. Instead of everyone pulling off of the same loaf of bread (that's assuming you're gonna share of course), everyone gets their own individual roll!

Initially the assembly seemed complicated, but once I got through the first few rolls, it was pretty easy. The dough was easy to make and work with. It wasn't sticky or tacky at all, which is often my frustration when working with dough.

These rolls require some work, but they are definitely a labor of love and the end result is truly worth it. I mean, isn't homemade bread always worth it?

With rain forecasted all weekend, why not spend a leisurely morning making some of these delicious, not overly sweet, light, tender Lemon Pull Apart Rolls. They just might be the ray of sunshine you need on an otherwise dreary rainy day.

Lemon Pull Apart Rolls
Makes 10-12 Muffin Size Rolls

** Plan ahead - the rolls need to rise 2x for a total of 2 1/2 hours. You want to start making these about 3 1/2 hours before you serve them.
Dough Ingredients:
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup room temperature water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 packet rapid rise yeast (I used Red Star) ** tip: make sure the yeast is not expired
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Filling Ingredients:
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest

Glaze Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups of the all purpose flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Pulse to combine.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the water. Stir to combine. Allow to cool to 120-130f (about 1 minute), then stir in the vanilla extact.
Add the milk mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture. Mix on low until evenly moistened.
With mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time mixing just until combined.
Stop the mixer and add 1/2 cup of flour. Mix on low until the dough is smooth (about 45 seconds).
Add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix on medium speed another 45 seconds. The dough should be smooth, soft and sticky.

Sprinkle a work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto the work surface. Using a bench scraper or your hands, knead the dough until smooth and no longer sticky adding no more than 1-2 tablespoons of flour if needed. I didn't have to add any additional flour. The flour I sprinkled on the work surface incorporated with the dough while I was kneading it to create a smooth dough that was no longer sticky.
Place the dough in a large bowl sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (approx. 1 1/2 hours). My dough took 1 1/2 hours to double, but your dough might rise faster, it all depends upon the yeast, the temperature in the room etc...
Tip: To help with the rising process, I placed the covered bowl of dough on top of the stove, preheat my oven to 300 then turn it off and leave the door slightly ajar. This creates a warm environment for the dough to rise.

While the dough is rising, make the filling:

In a medium size bowl, combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Allow to sit while the dough is rising. The lemon zest will perfume the sugar and the sugar will draw out some of the moisture from the zest.

After the dough has doubled in size, assemble the rolls:

Spray a 12 cup muffin/cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and cut in half. Set half of the dough aside and cover it.

Gently shape the half of the dough you're working with into a log and cut into 12 pcs (approx. 3/4" wide). Roll each piece into a strip that's 6" long and 3/4" wide.

Using half of the melted butter, brush each strip generously with butter.

Using half of the lemon sugar mixture, sprinkle each stripe with sugar.

Cut each strip in half widthwise, creating a total of 24 strips then 6 of the strips and stack 3 strips on top of each one creating 6 piles of 4 strips.

Disregard the number of strips stacked in this photo. I got so caught up in the moment, I forgot to count before I took the shot haha....

Pinch the bottom of each stack of strips and place the pinched bottom into the bottom of the muffin cup. Fan the top slightly.

Repeat until all rolls have been assembled, then sprinkle any excess lemon-sugar mixture remaining on your work surface that may have escaped during the assembly process onto the top of the rolls.

Cover the rolls and place in a warm place to rise for about 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350f and bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow the rolls to cool slightly in the pan them remove to a wire cooling rack.

While the rolls are cooling, assemble the glaze -

Mix all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl

Drizzle the glaze over the cooled rolls and serve.

Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 1 day. To reheat, place in the microwave for a few seconds.

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