The Sassy Pair

I’ve been off the past few days from work, not doing much; I’ve been recharging, planting some plants, and just lounging around at home. It’s summer here in SF, which means it’s 60°, foggy, and windy, so not the typical summer weather you might be familiar with. Normally I keep breading making for the colder months but it was chilly today and I wanted some pull apart milk bread! Did I mention this bread can be made in an afternoon?

I’ve made this recipe twice now, and I know it’s not the last time I’ll be making it. Both times I’ve made it in a loaf shape, but the rolls are my next target. This time around I didn’t have enough honey on hand so I subbed barley malt syrup, which normally would have been fine. The flavor of the loaf was just a little too barley for me. I’ll be making sure that I have honey the next time I make these.

Tips for Working With Bread Dough

This dough is pretty wet, I usually end up adding an additional 1/4 cup of flour during the kneading process (before the butter is added). You do want to make sure that you are kneading the dough enough that the gluten develops. This dough is an enriched dough – like brioche – so it’s going to get really sticky after the butter is added, don’t worry, this is normal. You can probably make this dough without a mixer but it won’t be the easiest thing to incorporate the butter.

When you are forming the dough into balls, either for rolls or the pull apart loaf, you are going to want to move quickly. The dough is going to want to stick to the counter, so be sure to liberally dust the counter and dough with flour. How I typically form balls of dough is by folding over the edges of the dough into the center many times. Then I flip over the almost-sphere of dough, cup it with my hands, and roll the ball of dough around until the surface is taught.


  • 2 1/2 cups plus 5 tbsp + 1 tsp bread flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 5 tbsp + 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperate

  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
  • Flaky sea salt


  • Over medium heat, cook the 5 tbsp and 1 tsp bread flour and the milk in a small sauce pan, whisking constantly, until a thick paste forms, about five minutes. Add milk and honey, and whisk until honey is dissolved.
  • Transfer the milk mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the remaining flour, dry milk, yeast, salt, and egg. Knead on medium speed until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth, about five minutes. Add the butter, a small amount at a time, fully incorporating until adding the next piece. Continue beating until smooth and shiny, about four minutes.
  • Place the dough in a bowl coated with nonstick spray, making sure the bowl is large enough that the dough can double in size. Cover and allow to rest until double in size, about one hour.
  • Divide the dough into six pieces that are roughly equal in size, shape them into balls. Coat a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Arrange the balls of dough into two rows of three balls. Cover and allow to rise until double in size, about one hour.
  • Heat the oven to 375°. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash. Top with flaky sea salt. Bake until the top is golden brown and the internal temperature is 190-200°, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool in pan before removing to rack. Allow to cool completely before serving.


Yields one loaf. Recipe slightly adopted from Food52.

Your dough will probably look lighter in color and less golden. Mine only looks like that because I made it with barley malt syrup, which is dark like molasses.

View more articles written by Vasili.

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