Grapefruit pull-apart bread

As I tried to clean out my cupboards before I moved away from Australia, I discovered that I had a couple packets of yeast that I didn’t want to go to waste.  In retrospect, these packets of yeast cost about 1 dollar at most and the effort that I went through to get rid of them was fairly enormous, but don’t mess with me when I’m in a panic baking mood pre leaving the country.  I saw this recipe floating around on a blog somewhere and was really intrigued by the addition of grapefruit, which is certainly something I’ve never thought of adding to bread before.  Grapefruit is one of my absolute favourite fruits and I loved the idea that its flavour would seep throughout the bread.

Yes, the process is a bit more involved than your typical yeast bread, but if you have a special occasion of some sort, I’d definitely recommend this one.  If you don’t like grapefruit, you could use orange or lemon zest as well or a combination of the two.  This bread is like monkey bread in that it’s really not healthy at all, but it pulls apart in the most delightful way when warm to make for perfect snacking at any time of day!

Grapefruit pull-apart bread (adapted from Beth Cakes)


  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
  • 4 cups bread flour

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided, softened and spreadable

For the glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1-2 drops pink food coloring (optional)

In a glass measuring cup, combine warm water, active dry yeast, and 1 tsp granulated sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, cream the butter until it’s smooth and then add the sugar and salt.  Next, add the eggs, milk, and grapefruit juice.  Mix until incorporated and then add the yeast mixture.  Finally, add the flour gradually until it becomes a dough.  Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 5 minutes, sprinkling the surface with more flour as needed.  Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and then place the dough in bowl and turn it to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for at least an hour in a warm, dry place. with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 hour in a warm, dry place.

To make the grapefruit filling, just combine the zest of the grapefruit and the sugar together in a bowl.  When you’re ready to make the bread, punch down the dough and divide it in half.  Roll out one half into a long, thin rectangle – it should be about 1/4th inch thick (half a centimeter) on a lightly floured surface. If you have a pizza cutter, use that, or just use a knife to cut the rectangle into 6 strips.  Spread each strip with a thin layer of butter and then sprinkle one strip with the grapefruit filling. Place another strip on top of that and then repeat with the rest of the strips until you have one stack.  Cut the stack into three equal sections.

Spray two loaf pans with nonstick spray.  (I only had one so I also used a circular cake pan and divided some of the tall layers in half.)  Arrange sections of the dough in the pan (divide the layers up as needed).  If there is any leftover filling sprinkle it over the loaves. Cover the loaf pans with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for another hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.  Bake them for 35-40 minutes.  Start checking for doneness after about 25 minutes.  Particularly with my oven, I needed to cover the loaf with foil to prevent it from turning too brown on top.  Make sure all the layers are cooked through so ensure that even if it’s brown on top you cover it and let it bake the entire time.  Cool the loaves in the pans for at least 10 minutes.  You can remove in pieces to package them or attempt to remove the whole loaf in one go.

To make the glaze, just combine the ingredients together and stir.  (Honestly that made way too much so I’d just use a couple tablespoon of grapefruit juice and add sugar till it’s drizzling consistency.)  While the loaves are still warm, drizzle with the glaze.  This is obviously to die-for good when warm, but it’s pretty great when it’s room temperature as well!

IMG_7608Adding the eggs to the butter sugar mixture

IMG_7609Adding the grapefruit juice, milk, and finally the yeast mixture

IMG_7610After adding the flour and letting it rise, punch the dough down before working with it

IMG_7611Ingredients for the filling – good old butter and the grapefruit zest sugar mixture

IMG_7612The long thin rectangle cut into six strips

IMG_7613The layering process – spread with a little butter and then the filling mixture before stacking

IMG_7614I layered them in my two pans like so but obviously two loaf pans would probably be better

IMG_7615About halfway through the baking when they are starting to brown

IMG_7616Finished loaf

IMG_7617As you can see the bread pulls apart quite easily

IMG_7618Drizzled with the glaze

IMG_7619Packaged up and ready to go

This bread is obviously divine – how could it not be, with a whole lot of citrus-y sugar-y goodness going on combined with the light pillow-y factor of a yeast bread.  What I love most about pull-apart breads is how easy it is to just grab little pieces off and get a bit of crunch on the edge and softness in the middle.  It’s definitely a bit of an effort to make since you have to zest the grapefruit and assemble the loaves with all the cutting and spreading of the filling, but man is it worth it for a special occasion.  You could halve the recipe since this makes a lot, or you could be extremely beloved if you make this right before a party and bring it along.  It will feed a lot of people and if you’re lucky you’ll have some leftovers for yourself!

One year ago: Chickpea bulgur tomato soup

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