Blanched spinach, mozzarella and parmesan layered between bread dough tinted green from spinach. This bread is a feast for eyes and taste buds. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce!
You might ask, what is a pull apart bread? Well, instead of baking a loaf of bread in one piece, we roll the bread dough into a sheet, cut into pieces and layer a filling between each piece, then stalk them together and bake in a regular loaf pan.The filling keeps the bread pieces from adhering together while baking and it creates these layers that you can pull apart and enjoy. Pull apart breads are such lovely twist to the traditional breads, both kids and adults seem to love pulling apart each layer after another. The bread that keeps on giving (or not)!
An unusual twist to the pull apart breads with a classic combination of ingredients-spinach and cheese. Beautiful green dough layered with spinach and cheese between each layer and shhh…… nobody needs to know the ingredients! Let us get to the process, shall we?
We use spinach 2 ways, one is blended into the bread dough, giving it’s lovely shade and the other layered between the pieces of dough. So, blanch both spinach separately.
Blend 1 handful spinach with lukewarm water. Add that along with melted butter to flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Knead to a smooth dough and let rise. Roll dough to a square, brush with prepared butter and then cut into squares. Top with remaining blanched spinach (don’t forget to squeeze out all the water) and then the cheeses. (Why did I choose to cut and then top with filling? I placed the cheese in the middle of each cut square, instead of sprinkling all over. This made less mess while transferring the squares into the pan). Stack the pieces one top of each other, and place them sideways in the greased loaf pan. Rise again and then bake.
Roll risen dough into a 12-inch square….
Brush with garlic butter……
cut into squares…..
Top with spinach and cheeses
Stack dough ….
Place in pan sideways and rise again….
Risen and ready to be baked…..
Let the family pull apart each layer, mop in sauce and GOBBLE!`
Spinach and Cheese Pull Apart Bread
3 handfuls baby spinach, divided
Spinach bread dough
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablepoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup + 2 tablepoons water, lukewarm
Spinach and cheese filling
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Garlic butter spread
3 tablepoons unsalted butter, room temperature\
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fill a medium saucepan 3/4th with water, bring to a boil. Add 1 handful of spinach and let cook for 30 seconds, remove spinach with a slotted spoon onto a small bowl or plate.
Add remaining 2 handfuls spinach and cook for 40 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and keep separately.
Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of your stand up mixer.Set aside.
Combine 1 handful blanched spinach and lukewarm water in a small blender and process until smooth.Add this mixture along with melted butter into the flour mixture, stir together with a spoon, until moistened.
Now, attach dough hook and knead on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until double in size, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir together butter, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Transfer dough on a kitchen counter, roll into a 12-inch square. Brush a thin coating of prepared garlic butter evenly (you will use only a part of it, save remaining butter. We will use it to brush bread once done baking ). Using a pizza wheel, Cut square into 16 smaller squares.
(Place remaining 2 handfuls blanched spinach in a muslin cloth and squeeze very well to remove all moisture)
Evenly distribute spinach and both cheeses on the centre of each cut square. Gently place squares on top of each other ( I did groups of 4 and it was easier to transfer into the baking pan). Transfer dough sideways onto the prepared pan (refer pictures).
Cover with the kitchen towel and and rise for an additional 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake bread for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack. Brush remaining garlic butter on top of the bread.
Let cool for 5 minutes, before transfering bread onto a wire rack. Serve hot with your favorite marinare sauce.
makes 1 loaf