Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread & A Few Ideas for Mother’s Day

brunch, Provisions quilted placemats

A few weeks ago while searching for recipes online by Bea Ojakangas, the Scandinavian chef to whom Nigella Lawson credits the processor Danish pastry dough recipe, I stumbled upon a most delectable looking cinnamon pull-apart bread. Its creators, Lindsay and Bjork, had taken a class with Bea and learned how to make this “pulla,” which they described as “everything you love about cinnamon rolls in a pull-apart bread form.”

With that in mind, last Saturday, I made a batch of my favorite cinnamon roll dough, shaped it into a log as described on Pinch of Yum, and baked it for a few friends passing through town en route to an Easter gathering. The loaf of pulla stretched from corner to corner of the sheetpan, oozed with cinnamon and sugar upon baking, and required my largest cutting board for serving.

When our friends arrived, we tucked in immediately, each pulling at the nearest coil, spreading cream cheese icing over each bite, eating and talking and sipping coffee until not a crumb remained — it couldn’t have been more fun.

Have a wonderful weekend, Everyone.

A Few Ideas for Mother’s Day:

1. Many of you may receive the beautiful Provisions by Food52 emails and so perhaps do not need any more temptation, but with Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, it might be a good idea to take a peak? Just a quick one? These quilted placemats (pictured below) are SO cute.

2. I am loving Deborah Madison’s The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3. Just started reading The Dirty Life — very inspiring.

4. Next up is Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey. I loved A Homemade Life and am so looking forward to her latest.

5. This is still one of my favorites: Blood, Bones & Butter. I find myself rereading passages from it all the time.

brunch, Provisions quilted placemats

cut bread



Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Dough adapted slightly from Molly Wizenberg, Bon Appetit & Epicurious
Serves 6 comfortably

Notes: If you have a recipe for cinnamon rolls that you like, just use that dough. I love the Molly Wizenberg recipe both for traditional cinnamon rolls and for pearl-sugar topped cinnamon rolls, and so I used that here.

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (446 g) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup (114 g) sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon table salt
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise or instant yeast
olive oil or butter for greasing

3/4 cup sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 to 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

egg wash: 1 beaten egg

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. (If you don’t own a microwave, gently heat the butter and milk together in a small skillet.) Place 1 cup (128 g) of the flour, the sugar, the egg and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed. Slowly pour the warm milk and butter mixture into the bowl. (Note: If you pour slowly you will ensure not cooking the egg if your mixture is a little too hot). Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Touch the mixture to make sure it is just barely warm. Sprinkle yeast over top and stir. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups (318 g) flour to the mixing bowl. Continue beating on low speed until flour is absorbed and dough is smooth and elastic (or actually quite sticky), about 8 minutes. Note: In the past, I have added more flour (only about a quarter cup) but most recently I don’t add any more flour. The dough will not gather around the hook — it will look like a sticky mess — but after the two hour rise, it is surprisingly easy to work with.

2. Lightly grease a large bowl with butter or oil. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Punch down dough. Divide the dough in half. Roll each into a large rectangle about ½-inch thick. Spread 2 (or more) tablespoons butter onto each half, sprinkle with just enough cinnamon sugar to cover — you will have extra; don’t go overboard or you will have issues with the cinnamon and sugar oozing out during the baking — and roll into a log starting with the short side. Place each log seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make cuts every couple of inches straight down leaving the last layer of the log intact. Gently pull the sections outward as pictured above. Let rise for about 40 to 45 minutes or until slightly puffed. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. Brush the loaves with the beaten egg. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden — this may take more or less time depending on the size of your loaves and on your oven. Let cool slightly. Whisk the powdered sugar and milk together. Drizzle over top. Serve.

cinnamon pull-apart bread

cinnamon pull-apart bread

This is the loaf I made last Saturday. As you can see it stretches from end to end of a large cutting board. This is kind of fun — very dramatic! — for a large gathering, but for a daintier presentation, cut the dough in half and bake two smaller loaves:
cinnamon pull-apart bread


  1. says

    Looks outrageous! I’ve yet to make a successful cinnamon roll batch so I’m eager to try this. Also, thanks for the link to Bea’s website! Amazing.

    • says

      Lisa, you do! And I need to update the post because I make it even simpler now: I mix up the dough the night before, don’t knead it, stick it in the fridge, then take it out early in the morning to finish its rise and continue with the rolling. It’s so much easier than how the original recipe is written.

      And, I know, I want to buy Bea’s casserole cookbooks even though I never make casseroles. She’s just too cute. I also found this great video of Bea and Julia baking together:
      She shows how to make her processor Danish pastry dough and a few yummy looking pastries, too.

  2. Maria says


    I come from Finland, and wanted to post this on facebook to my Finnish friends (how you seem to make art even from our “ordinary” pulla!). But the photos do not follow, or come from some other posts of yours, tomatoes etc.. :) Hope you are able to fix that one!

    Were there not cardamom in the original recipe? I absolutely love cardamom in pullas, and I guess most finns add some in the dough.

    • says

      Oh Maria, I know, something is weird on my site — feel free to drag any photos you wish to your desktop and repost as needed. I love that “pulla” is ordinary to you! It’s a dream for us :)

      I think the original recipe on pinch of yum does have cardamom. I love cardamom, too, and will definitely try it next time around. Where in Finland are you? I’ve been to Turku ages ago now for a soccer tournament.

  3. says

    What a sweet sentiment behind this communal breakfast treat! Makes me wish I had a big farm table with benches for us to gather around and pull off pieces of cinnamon-y goodness. Awesome twist on the usual, Ali! Love your gift ideas, too. I try, but it isn’t easy to show my mom how much I think of her.

    • says

      Awww, Sophie, you are too sweet. I think your mama must know how much you think of her. And me too — would love to have a big farm table! We just moved and the previous owners left us this awesome/funky retro banquet and table. Not charming, but comfortable and fun. One day we will find that farm table :)

  4. Laurie says

    Love that you’re reading The Dirty Life! I love that book so much….I also love the idea of the pulla….it’s beautiful and looks like cinnamon and sugar heaven on a board! My favorite photo, I know I’m weird, is the unbaked pulla one….something so delectable looking about unbaked, risen dough!! So much gardening, so little time! I could use a coffee, Ali recipe break! XXOO!

    • says

      Laurie, I ordered the book after you told me about the sweet potato pie! I still haven’t made it, but definitely will be doing so this fall. Can’t wait! Wish we could take a coffee break together. I built a raised bed over the weekend. Hoping to have an herb garden at the very least this summer. Big hugs! xo

  5. Trish says

    Hi, Ali! Your pictures are so beautiful! I especially love the one with the rolls on the parchment lined tray. The icing looks like abstract art. So pretty! Yes, I find design inspiration from cinnamon bread, :)

    I have been using Molly Wizenberg’s recipe for 5 years but have never thought about making it as you have here. That is why I am so glad I follow your blog (among many other reasons). In this instance, you showed me how to use an old recipe in a new way. Which is wonderful because even though I have success with cinnamon rolls I am not so adept at the slicing of the dough. I usually have to re-roll. Thanks for sharing this recipe and as always, your lovely stories.

    • says

      Thanks, Trish! If you like MW cinnamon rolls, then you will love this bread. It’s a little crisper on the edges, but still gooey and soft on the inside. And the communal aspect of pulling the loaf apart is fun, too. I really need to update this recipe, too, bc I’ve been making the dough the night before and I haven’t been kneading it, and it works really well. Hope you are well!

  6. Christy says

    You Rock!!! I have made the Cream Cheese Danishes and they were amazing. I cannot wait to make this. Thank you for the amazing recipes!!! Happy Mother’s day!

  7. says

    Ali — did you have any trouble with cinnamon sugar oozing out and scorching in the oven? I shouldn’t have read the comments on Pinch of Yum…. it freaked me out….!

    • says

      Hi Sophie! I did the first time. I used way too much cinnamon and sugar, and it oozed out, but my sheetpan contained all of it, so I didn’t have any issues with it scorching my oven fortunately. If you are careful with sprinkling just enough cinnamon and sugar to make a thin layer, you will be totally fine. Happy baking! Dreaming about your quesadillas…

  8. Katie says

    I have made these twice in the past two weeks. Everyone loves them! I love the pull-apart concept and enjoy serving them this way. There is a definite show stopper quality to it. My cinnamon and sugar oozed out the first time too, but I corrected it the second time. Also, I baked one roll straight away and put the second one in the fridge overnight. I had my husband set it on the counter when he left early for work the next morning, and baked it an hour and a half later. They were both absolutely perfect. I printed this and added it to my collection…I try hundreds of recipes and not many get added to my “absolutely cannot ever lose this one” collection. Thank you!

    • says

      So happy to hear this, Katie! Your experience sounds just like mine: oozing first time around, corrected second time around, stored one in fridge overnight — love being able to do this! Thanks for writing in!

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