This flavorful pull-apart bread is by far my favorite kind of bread. It is so soft and airy and I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it tastes. Although it may look fancy, it is in fact very easy to make. If you have a bit of extra time on your hands, you can make this beauty from scratch, using just a few budget-friendly ingredients. Not to mention the fact that you don't need a knife to slice it, you just tear it apart.
Step 1: Measure the Ingredients
- 420g strong bread flour – 3 cups (plus 2 Tbsp extra for kneading)
- 120ml lukewarm water – ½ cup
- 1 tsp active dry yeast – 5g
- 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar – 15g
- 1 tsp of salt – 6g
- 120ml milk – ½ cup
- 1 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp butter (60g)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and thyme)
- a large bowl
- a small bowl
- a large sieve
- a wooden spatula
- a small saucepan
- a brush
- cling film (or a clean towel)
- a knife
- a large loaf tin (30x13x7cm or 11x5x3inch)
- parchment paper
- tsp = teaspoon
- Tbsp = tablespoon
Step 2: Activate the Yeast
Pour the water in a small bowl. The water should be lukewarm (between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, 37 to 42 degrees Celsius)
Sprinkle the granulated sugar and the yeast over the top, mix the ingredients with a spoon and let it stand for 10 minutes . After 10 minutes the mixture should be frothy.
Step 3: Prepare the Wet and the Dry Ingredients
In a small saucepan combine the milk with 1 Tbsp of butter and heat the milk until the butter has melted (you can also use the microwave of this step).
Sift the flour In a large bowl. Add salt and make a well in the center. Add the activated yeast and the milk mixture and mix with a wooden spatula until you form a ball.
Step 4: Knead the Dough and Do the First Rise
Lightly flour your working surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic (it should take about 8 - 10 minutes). The dough is ready when it springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers.
For this step you can also use the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer. In this case the dough is ready after 6 - 8 minutes.
Place dough in the bowl, cover with cling film (or a clean towel) and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (for about 50 - 60 minutes).
Step 5: Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Herb Melted Butter
Preheat the oven at 180°C / 350°F (gas mark 4).
Carefully wash the herbs and pat them dry. Place them on a cutting board and chop them finely using a sharp knife.
Finely mince the garlic.
In a small saucepan melt the remaining 3 Tbsp pf butter. Add the minced garlic and the chopped herbs.
Step 6: Cut the Dough Into Small Pieces
After 50 minutes, place the dough back on the working surface and knead vigorously to knock out the air bubbles.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Elongate each piece of dough with your hands to form 4 batons. Cut each baton into 12 small pieces. Take each piece of dough and use your hands to shape into a ball.
Step 7: Prepare the Loaf
Line a rectangular loaf tray with parchment paper.
Dip each small ball into the butter mixture, shaking off the excess and cover the bottom of the tray with the first layer of pieces of dough. Proceed the same until all the dough is used.
Step 8: Do the Second Rise
Cover the loaf with cling film (or a clean towel) and let it rise in a warm place until it starts to dome over the edge of the tin. This step should take between 40 and 50 minutes.
Step 9: Bake the Loaf
Bake it in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden-brown (it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when it's ready).
While the loaf is still hot, brush it with the remaining herb butter.
Carefully place in on a wire rack to cool down for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I like to serve it warm with different kinds of stew, thick soups or casserols.