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Lemon Pull Apart Bread

Lemon Pull Apart Bread
From Buttered Up and Hungry Girl Por Vida
Makes one 9-inch loaf

2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 package dry active yeast
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm butter and milk until butter is just melted and is warm to the touch. Remove from heat, add water and vanilla.
3. Pour the milk mixture over flour mixture and mix by hand using a rubber spatula. Add eggs, mixing until combined. Using the dough hook of the electric mixer, add ½ cup of the remaining flour, mixing until incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and knead until smooth but still sticky.
4. Place the dough in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about an hour. Deflate the dough and chill for about 20 minutes, up to overnight. (It’s easier to roll out when it’s chilled a bit.)
5. Make the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and sugar with your fingers until the mixture looks a bit like wet sand.
6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12 by 20 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 5 strips 12 by 4 inches long. Brush the first strip with melted butter and sprinkle on about 1/5 of the lemon sugar mixture. Top with the next strip. Brush with butter and sprinkle lemon sugar, topping with the next strip. Repeat with all remaining strips.
7. Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving 1-inch overhangs on either side.
8. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the stack into 6 equal sections, about 2 by 4 inches each. Place stacks in loaf pan, lining up the stacks like slices of bread. (It helped me to turn my pan on its end and stack the sections on top of each other to keep them from sliding down into the pan before I could get the next section in. Don’t worry if there are gaps. When it proofs a second time, they’ll fill in.) Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size again, about 45 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 350F. When dough is ready, bake until top is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove loaf from the pan. It’s best enjoyed when it’s still warm. Or wrap tightly in plastic wrap to keep for a day or two.

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