Pull apart bread is a huge crowd pleaser. It’s true – any event, any flavor, any size – people will love it. A lot of the draw comes from the dozens of flaky layers, often stuffed with a sweet gooey filling. But the best part is that while it looks impressive, it’s so simple to make! A basic dough recipe, rolled out and sliced into a ton of rectangles, and then stacked together. You can get more fancy with the filling, or go basic with a melted butter and cinnamon sugar combo. Either way, this bread is perfect for all of the holiday gatherings quickly approaching.
Tips for Creating the Dough Layers
- As you’re rolling out the dough, if it’s shrinking back and not reaching a large enough size, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. This will give the gluten a chance to relax and when you come back it should be easier to stretch.
- Create short stacks of dough layers (4-5) instead of trying to stack them all. Then, just place 1 short stack in the loaf pan at a time and press each stack up against each other.
- Don’t put the melted butter and filling on the outside of the end pieces! This will create a sticky mess when removing your bread from the pan.
- The number and size of the dough layers is not important. This bread is SUPPOSED to look like a tangle of gooey layers. It doesn’t need to look perfect or be a complicated math problem. Just cut your layers about the same size and have enough to fill up the pan. Have extra layers? Squeeze them in the sides or wherever you can!
I added a cinnamon glaze to the bread, and it was super tasty but not required. I just whisked together some melted butter, confectionary sugar, and cinnamon. The drizzle on top creates a nice aesthetic and the glaze adds sweetness. This bread is not super sweet, but you can adjust that level by how much brown sugar filling you put between layers. If you want it as a dessert, add more! Looking for more Thanksgiving week recipes? Try our Pumpkin Pavlova or Caramel Apple Spice Cake!
- Bread Dough
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 c water
- 3 T unsalted butter (melted)
- 1/3 c whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 c flour
- 1/4 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 c cranberries
- 1 medium apple (peeled and diced)
- 1/4 c granulated sugar
- 3 T melted butter
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 2 T cinnamon
- Mix yeast with lukewarm water in a small bowl, and let sit until bubbles form.
- In a large bowl, stir together melted butter, milk and vanilla extract. Pour in yeast mixture.
- Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt and mix until well combined. Add eggs and blend in.
- Add remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth comes together, but is still fairly sticky.
- Transfer dough into a large greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- While dough is rising, start making filling by putting cranberries in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until they begin to pop and then add in sugar.
- Continue stirring for about 10 minutes until sauce is very thick. Stir in apples and remove from heat.
- On a floured surface, turn dough out and roll into a rectangle about 12x20 inches. Slice in horizontally twice, to create three equal strips. Slice each strip into 8 equal rectangles so you have 24 pieces.
- Working with groups of 4 dough pieces at a time, brush each with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mixture and finally top with cranberry apple sauce. Stack each piece on top of each other and then carefully transfer each stack into greased loaf pan.
- Cover pan and let rise for until its about doubled in size again.
- Set the oven to 350 °F and bake until deep golden brown and insides are cooked through. (about 25-30 minutes)
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to serve.
Keep bread wrapped tightly after first day.
Dough recipe adapted from Joy the Baker