Irresistible, sweet, buttery pull-apart bread layered with cinnamon brown sugar and crushed pecans, baked until it’s golden brown and drizzled with a sweet salted caramel sauce.
My daughter recently said she’d been dreaming of a caramel pecan version of my Lemon Pull Apart Bread. So when Red Star Yeast asked me to team up again to create two new recipes for them in May and June, it was the perfect time to make her dream come true.
I decided a whole wheat dough would be a perfect fit for caramel and pecans, and of course using whole wheat flour always makes me feel better about eating sweets.
Did you know it’s important when making bread to punch down the dough. According to the Red Star website:
Punching down removes some of the gas bubbles formed by the yeast during rising and produces a finer grain. It also redistributes the yeast cells, sugar and moisture so they can ferment and rise the dough during the proofing stage.
You can find out more about the reasons for punching down and also the reasons for letting the dough rest after you punch it down on the Red Star Yeast website
You’ll want to line you loaf pan with foil so that it’s easy to remove your sticky pull-apart bread from the pan.
The easiest way to fit the foil in the pan is to turn the loaf pan upside down; fold the foil around the outside of the pan, remove the foil and it’s perfectly shaped to fit inside the pan.
The recipe looks like a lot of steps, but they’re all really easy. If you use a ruler to trim up the edges and make nice even cuts, it makes putting the stacks together so much easier. Then you end up with a beautiful loaf of perfect little thin slices of heavenly deliciousness.
Once your beautiful golden brown loaf comes out of the oven let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack while you make the salted caramel sauce.
If you used the tin foil, you should be able to turn the loaf upside down and gentle peel away the tin foil. Then put the bread on a pretty platter and drizzle the hot sauce on top.
I debated whether to sprinkle crushed pecans on top of the bread, but thought for the pictures it would be fun to add just a whole pecan. You may want to sprinkle more crushed nuts on top when you serve it.
My daughter loved this bread, as did my little grandson who couldn’t resisting pull off just another little slice. I think you’ll love this bread too.
Whole Wheat Caramel Pecan Pull-Apart Bread
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 package 2 ¼ teaspoons Red Star Quick Rise (instant) yeast
- 2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten optional
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup bread flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup toasted pecans finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup pecans toasted and chopped
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, yeast, vital wheat gluten, sugar, and salt.
- In saucepan or microwave safe dish, heat milk and butter until warm (120° - 130°F); butter does not have to be completely melted). Add to flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened. Add egg and beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining bread flour a little at a time, to make a soft dough, add more or less flour as needed. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising, make the pecan sugar filling. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and finely chopped pecans.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9x5" loaf pan, and line with parchment or foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each long side; butter paper. (For easy removal of the bread from the pan.)
- Punch down the dough. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20"x 12" rectangle. Spread 4 tablespoons softened butter evenly over the dough with a rubber spatula or pastry brush.
- Cut dough in to five strips, each about 12"x4" with a pizza cutter.
- Sprinkle 1 ½ tablespoons of the pecan sugar over the first buttered rectangle. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling with 1 ½ tablespoons of pecan sugar. Continue with remaining rectangles.
- Cut the stack into 6 rectangles (each should be 4"x 2"). Carefully place the rectangles of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. Cover the top with foil if it's browning too quickly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- While bread is cooling, make the salted caramel glaze. In a saucepan combine brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolve and sauce is smooth and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and chopped pecans.
- Use the foil to remove the loaf from the pan. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, remove the foil, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up.
- Drizzle icing over bread. Serve warm or at room temperature.