pastry inspired pull-apart bread & homemade blackberry jam

by Chen


Depending on how many thoughts one devotes to it, baking can never be boring.

I have been thinking of making my own puff pastry dough, or equivalently, croissant dough, for a long time, which sounds crazy but is complicated rather than difficult. Working with layers of dough and butter is definitely a mess, and it requires long chilling time. I am not prepared.

However, the specific folding technique can be adapted to bread-making. Bakers usually divide the raised dough into small pieces, brush with fat and seasoning or sandwich with fillings such as cheese, and fit the assembled bread in the pan. Because of the whatever in between, the bread can be pulled apart easily. By coordinating the butter layer into the dough, the whole thing becomes capable to pull with fluffy and buttery interior and crispy crust. To eat, get your hands ready and keep in mind that no slicing is needed.


pastry inspired pull-apart bread
Makes one loaf

For the dough:
2/3 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast

1/2 stick butter, room temperature
3 cups AP flour, plus more for kneading
1 tsp salt

For the butter layer:
1 stick cold butter

raw sugar for topping
jam for serving (recipe follows)

Whisk together the milk, sugar, and yeast. Let sit until foamy.

Combine the butter, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer attached with dough hook. With the machine running on low speed, pour in the yeast mixture. Rise the speed to medium and let it work until the dough pulls away from the wall. The dough should be soft and smooth.

Turn the dough to a floured surface and knead until elastic, 7 to 10 minutes. Loosely cover the dough and let it raise in a warm place until double in size.

While the dough is raising, prepare the butter layer. Place the butter in between two sheets of wax paper. Roll the butter out into a 6”*6” square. Cover and chill until the first raise is done.


When the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and transfer it to a floured surface. Roll the dough into a 9”*9” square and place the butter layer in the center as shown in the figure below. Fold the corners in and fold again into a rectangle, seams inside (see the figure).


Roll the rectangle out until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough lengthwise into four stripes and make a braid by alternatively place the stripe on each side into the middle. Tuck the ends underneath and place the braid in a lightly greased loaf pan (8 to 9 inch). Sprinkle on the raw sugar and gently press it into the dough. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, take the pan out and let it come to room temperature. The dough will raise again. Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake the bread until golden brown and cooked through. Let the bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out. Serve warm.

homemade blackberry jam
Makes 2 cups

4 heaping cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar (adjust the amount per sweetness of blackberries)
peel from half lemon
1 tbsp cornstarch

Combine the berries, sugar, and lemon peels in a stainless steel sauce pan. Cook on medium-low heat and mash the berries using a wooden spoon. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1 tbsp juice. Set aside.

When the mixture comes to a simmer, turn the heat to low. Cook off half the liquid and stir occasionally. Add the cornstarch to the berry mixture. Let it thicken and then remove from the heat. Discard the peel. Store the cooled jam in an airtight container and refrigerate.