Wild Pull-apart Bread (BBB September 2019)

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Sourdough September BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: Nailed it! …do as I say, not as I did; recipe for Wild Pull-apart Bread; or is it called ‘share and tear’? …a Bread Baking Babes (BBB) project; bookmarked recipe; Sourdough September;

Bread Baking Babes’ Wild Pull-apart Bread, September 2019

…pull-apart bread. I can eat this all day! – Monica Khoo, FB Sourdough Bread Baking

Bookmarked Recipes - last Sunday of the MonthBookmarked Recipes: Sourdough pull-apart bread

It feels like eons ago that I bookmarked Monica Khoo’s fabulous looking pull-apart bread I saw on FB’s group Sourdough Bread Baking. And, in computer terms, it was eons; it was over a year ago….

Monica Khoo's Sourdough pull-apart bread It was high time for me to give this bread a go. And who better to join in the deliciousness than the BBBabes? After all, we have our starters in good condition from August’s BBB project.

When I was putting the BBB recipe together, I looked through our various cookbooks on our shelves, but found zero reference to pull-apart bread in almost all the books. I wasn’t surprised about the recent cookbooks. But I thought that there would be something in Mum’s Five Roses Cookbook, or Joy of Cooking. But all was not lost.

Thrillingly, there is a reference to a ring shaped bread in Mum’s wonderful Dinner Party Cookbook (Sunset Books 1962) in the “Salmon Dinner” section. Dinner Party Cookbook (I LOVE that book and still cannot believe that my sisters allowed me to take it when we were dividing up Mum’s cookbooks!)

A Salmon Dinner
Iced Cucumber Soup
Grilled Salmon Steaks
Asparagus with Hollandaise
Ring of Rolls
Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts
The Chilled Cucumber Soup that starts this dinner is a perfect prelude to the grilled salmon that follows. Accompaniments are simpl: fresh asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and an oven-fresh ring of rolls. Creamy lemon tarts top off the meal. […]
[C]ut [the dough] into rounds with a 2- to 2½-inch cutter. Butter a 1-quart, 8-inch ring mold. Brush each circle of dough on both sides with some of the melted butter; overlap about 14 of the circles evenly arround the bottom of the mold. stand about 10 more circles (also brushed with butter) around the sides of the ring, with edges touching. Fold half circle of dough slightly as you place it around the sides of ring mold to make the ring of rolls.
-Sunset Staff (ed. Dorothy Krell), ‘Salmon Dinner’, Dinner Party Cookbook, p31,33

The amount of yeast called for is staggering: “2 packages, active dry, or compressed” for 6 cups of flour! Nowhere in the book is there a hint about how much yeast is in a package…. Granted, the ring of rolls is not shaped in exactly the same way as for Monica Khoo’s pullapart bread, but it’s not completely far off either. (Please read more about The Dinner Party Cookbook)

Our Jane Mason starter is happier than ever. All should have gone swimmingly! (Did you hear those ominous chords?) Here’s how things went:

BBB Wild Pull-apart Bread diary:

7 August 2019, 20:16 I can’t get over how our Jane Mason starter is creating great bread after great bread. Every time I get it out of the fridge, it smells quite alcoholic these days and yet it doesn’t seem to matter at all! And it’s gotten to the point that I feel as if I’ve failed if I use commercial yeast….

30 August 2019, 18:34
I told my eldest I needed to get baking for September’s challenge […] Pull apart bread. She was instantly enamored with the idea of a tear and share thanks to Great British Baking Show. “Oh, you should make a tear and share!”
Kelly, message to BBBabes

I love that name! “Tear and Share”!

31 August 2019, 08:23 Of course, I haven’t even begun to think about making this bread. And I’m still waffling about what to smear onto each of the rings.

I suppose I’d better get cracking, considering that this was my choice. (I’m starting to freak out; the season is about to begin. One of my orchestras is playing Beethoven 9. Eeeeeeeeeek!!!)

Oooh, look: Sage and onion Share and Tear…. That sounds like fun!

And this Tear and Share bread looks amazing for another time! Several different kinds of rolls put together. Although… I suppose I could do this with the ring too, making it multi-coloured. Spinach? Basil Pesto? Cheese? Butter? Olive Oil?

What to do? What to do?

11 September 2019, 10:13 I’m getting the worst feeling that I may be simply posting the recipe on 16th and reporting on what I did to it on 17th… the windows of opportunity for baking bread this week are quickly narrowing. However, our now annual “Cousins’ Day” is this weekend (whoohoo!! I love Cousins’ Day!) and I’m planning to take the Pull-apart Bread to add to the festivities. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be on-time with my post after all.

(I just noticed the date. Sobering, as always. RIP, victims of the nightmare. )

12 September 2019, 22:59 Starter built up!! Maybe I’ll be on time after all….

13 September 2019, 15:09 I just folded and stretched the dough. It feels great!

I mixed it early this morning, before we had to race off to an appointment downtown.

Naturally, before mixing the dough though, I hugged our black cat (it just makes good sense).

Hug a black cat for good luck! (ConsciousCat.com) The folklore surrounding black cats varies from culture to culture. In the United States and several European countries, having black cat cross your path is considered bad luck, while in the UK and Japan, it’s considered good luck. It even seems to make a difference from which direction the black cat comes from: In Germany, some believe that black cats crossing a person’s path from right to left is a bad omen, but from left to right brings good luck. consciouscat.net

While mixing, I did have to add a tiny bit extra water. The dough was on the dry side. (Hmmm, could this be because, instead of 60 grams of each, I used 55 grams of whole wheat flour and 55 grams of water to build up the starter? It can’t be that, can it??)

15:48 I still haven’t decided what filling to use. Aside from butter and sage.

I almost decided to add hot sweet Shepherd peppers, but I changed my mind, not wanting this pull-apart bread filling to stray too far from the filling suggestion I gave to the other BBBabes. Those peppers sure were gorgeous though, piled up in two big baskets: beautiful, bright red, locally grown peppers – one basket labelled “hot” and the other basket labelled “sweet”. They only appear at this time of year…. We’ll go back to get some later this weekend!

But. Should I add cheese or not?

Monterey Jack cheese, grated
chilli flakes
coarsely ground black pepper
butter, melted
– BBB September 2019 recipe

Ha. Notice that I have decided not to use oregano, even though it is in the recipe? (Do you think I need to change the recipe?)

Oooh!! I had forgotten about the chilli flakes! Good idea to remember those!

17:51 I just finished shaping the bread. It’s so easy! I rolled out 6 discs at a time (of course I didn’t count how many discs in all!) and brushed on the butter that was already melted. Then I put a small amount of grated Monterey Jack (yes, I finally decided…), crushed dried chilli pepper, and chopped sage. Sage from our garden! Beautiful sage! (We have oregano growing there too, but when I was out there the other day, admiring things, the sage called to me.)

Wild Pull-apart Bread

I managed to make the folded discs form a circle in our large spring form pan. Yay! There was a little butter and cheese mixture left over, so I scattered it on top of the ring. It is now languishing on the counter under an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl. Rising. I hope….

20:00 Into the oven it goes! There doesn’t look to be a lot of rise; here’s hoping that there will be oven spring. I put a cookie sheet to cover the spring form pan, and set the timer for 20 minutes.

20:23 Wow. Blonde – completely blonde. And not even beginning to be done.

[B]ake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes
– Monica Khoo’s notes in FB
Bake [at 375F] for 30-35 minutes in all, removing the hat half-way through baking. Turn the oven down to 350F when you remove the hat. The bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the top.
– BBB September 2019 recipe

20:45 Not even close to being done yet. But. It’s possible I’m imagining things but I think I see a little oven spring. I’m setting the timer for 10 more minutes.

20:55 Still not done?! At least it’s starting to smell like bread…. I’m setting the timer for 10 more minutes.

21:06 What?! It’s still quite blonde and underdone. So I took it out of the spring-form pan and with it still in the parchment paper (I didn’t want to lose all that butter that was bubbling inside the ring), put it onto the cookie sheet, turned the oven down to 325F, and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Question: do you think the parchment paper overly protects the bread from baking? Or is it the spring-form pan?

21:17 Noooooooooo!!! Now it’s overdone!! And heavy as a rock! Clearly, I didn’t hug our furry black fiend enough….

I can’t take this to Cousins’ Day! :stomp: :stomp:

Wild Pull-apart Bread
Nailed it….

This SHOULD have worked! If only I hadn’t become impatient at the end.

T says that it doesn’t look burned at all and that we’re taking it for Cousins’ Day. (But. But. But. It smells burnt!) But okay…, if he insists. Still, let’s play the Glad Game: I’m glad I burned the bread; it means there’s more food for the chickens to eat!

Wild Pullapart Bread

Below is the Pullapart bread recipe that I gave to the others. Please, do as I say, and not as I did, to make beautiful bread that looks like Monica Khoo’s!

Wild Pull-apart Bread
based on recipes for Monica Khoo’s Pull-apart bread in FB’s Sourdough Bread Baking group and Cooking From Heart’s Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

for 1 ring or loaf


  • dessert spoonful (10ml or so) active natural wheat starter at 100% hydration
  • 60gm (60ml) water, body temperature
  • 60gm (118ml) 100% whole wheat flour


  • 250gm (~430ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 30gm (~60ml) dark rye flour
  • 5gm (~7ml) whole flax seeds, finely ground
  • 5gm (~10ml) wheat germ
  • 60gm (~60ml) plain yoghurt
  • 14gm (~15ml) olive oil
  • 140gm (140ml) water at body temperature, divided (hold back about 10gm for mixing in the salt)
  • All of the Leavener from above
  • 7gm seasalt (~5ml table salt) + 10gm (10ml) water from above I urge you to weigh your salt, rather than use a volume measure; for more ranting about this, please see salt is salt, right?


  • Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • oregano
  • chilli flakes
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • butter, melted
  1. leavener In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put the starter, flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on.
  2. mix the dough In the morning of the day you will be making the bread:
    1. When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of cool room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. If the leavener does not float, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water – even amounts by weight – cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float.
    2. Put flours, wheat germ, ground flax seed, yoghurt, olive oil, and all but 10 grams water into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
  3. adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 10gm (10 ml) water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  4. kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding the mess over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.
  5. stretching and folding the dough: Run your folding hand under water and then with the flat of your hand against the inside of the bowl, reach down to the bottom to pull the dough up and fold it into the center. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Do this folding 4 or 5 times. Cover the bowl with a plate and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Repeat the folding three more times at 20 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother.
  6. proofing: Cover with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and early spring, into the oven with only the light turned on) for a couple of hours to allow the dough to almost double. (A good way to tell if the dough is reading to shape is to run your index finger under water, then poke a hole in the center of the dough. If the hole disappears immediately, the dough still need to rise. If there is a slight whooshing sound and the hole remains in place, the dough has probably over-risen. If the hole very very gradually begins to close, the dough is ready to shape.
  7. prepare the filling: Eyeball the amounts of cheese, oregano, chilli flakes, and pepper you think you’ll need and mix them together in a smallish bowl. Set aside. Melt the butter in another container and set aside.
  8. prepare the pan: Line a springform pan with parchment paper.
  9. filling and shaping: Scatter a dusting of flour on the board and gently place the dough onto the board. Cut off walnut sized pieces and roll them out into discs about 2mm thick. Brush half of each disc with a small amount of butter and cover with a small spoonful of the cheese mixture. Form a circle of discs by standing them up fold side down – each disc propping the next disc up – against the edge of the pan. If there is any leftover filling, scatter it over top.
  10. proofing: Cover the pan with an over-turned mixing bowl and leave the pan in the oven with only the light turned on for 3 or 4 hours (until it has about doubled).
    Both the dough and the shaped loaves can be slow risers, especially in the winter. Let the dough rise in the bowl until it’s noticeably puffy – PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour | butterflake herb loaf recipe
  11. baking: To know when it’s time to bake, flour your index finger and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread with the over-turned bowl and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, start preheating the oven to 400F.
  12. About fifteen minutes later, when the oven is preheated, put an over-turned stainless steel bowl overtop like a hat and transfer the bread into the oven on the middle rack. Immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake for 30-35 minutes in all, removing the hat half-way through baking. Turn the oven down to 350F when you remove the hat. The bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the top.
    Bread baked in a ceramic pan will take 5 to 7 minutes longer to bake than in a metal one. – PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour | butterflake herb loaf recipe
  13. cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove the sides from the springform pan and allow it to cool on a footed rack for 10 or 15 minutes before pulling it apart; the bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to make this in advance and serve it warm (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

Serve the bread warm. If the filling is savoury, serve it with soup or stew.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


:: salt: There’s a very good reason to weigh the salt, rather than use volume measures. For more raving about this, please see Salt is salt, right?

:: leavener: Most of the recipes I saw for Pull-apart bread call for active dry yeast. I’m so glad that Monica Khoo posted her sourdough version on FB! Not to mention that I probably would have converted a commercially yeasted recipe anyway: I cannot stop using our starter that has been creating the most wonderful loaf after wonderful loaf of bread for us since July 2017. It is 100% hydration and takes about 5 days to create. (Please see our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.) If you don’t have a starter going yet, then of course, you can use commercial yeast. I’m guessing that you could substitute 2 grams (half a teaspoon) of active dry yeast for the active starter called for in the leavener. It should work….

:: why hand mixing? These instructions, as usual, do not mention using an electric mixer: I don’t have one; I don’t know how to use one. But of course, if you need to use your electric mixer for mixing and kneading, you should go ahead, even though it can’t be nearly as much fun. :lalala:

:: shaping: Most of the recipes I looked at called for the dough to be rolled into a rectangle and then rings punched out. GirlvsDough uses a different method. She slathers her filling then rolls it up jelly-roll style, puts it seam-side down into a round pan, and then cuts through almost to the bottom of the pan. I really liked her idea of making the bread into a ring, but decided to use Monica Khoo’s disc method to create the ring.

shaping pull-apart bread (images: Monica Khoo)

I also decided it was wiser to roll out separate discs, rather than punch circles out of a rolled out rectangle. That way, there is no wasted dough.

:: filling: Obviously, as Monica Khoo said, the filling can be anything you want. Tapenade? Pesto? Roasted red peppers? Muhammara? Baba Ganoush? Apricot Jam? …the possibities are endless! Ha. Even I didn’t manage to follow the filling suggestion that I gave to the other BBBabes! In her pull-apart bread from 2018, Monica Khoo used “about 1/4 teaspoon of melt-able cheese e.g. mozzarella; and 3/4 teaspoon of herbs, spice and garlic.” Here is what is in the tips area of the King Arthur Flour recipe: “For a sweet version of this bread, use 1/2 cup baker’s cinnamon filling or a mixture of butter and maple sugar instead of the herb filling. Drizzle the top of the baked loaf with confectioners’ sugar glaze if you like.”

:: pan: Almost all of the recipes I saw called for using a standard loaf pan. I just liked the idea of forming a ring in a spring form pan.

:: rising: Depending on the strength of your starter, the rising time may vary. Be patient!
Tips from our Bakers […] Both the dough and the shaped loaves can be slow risers, especially in the winter. Let the dough rise in the bowl until it’s noticeably puffy, albeit not necessarily doubled in size. Once the loaves are in the pans, let them rise until they reach about 3/4 of the way up the pan. This could take as long as 2 hours or so if your house is on the cool side. – King Arthur Flour recipe

:: baking: The baking time may vary. Be very careful when adding time at the end. Keep an eye on the bread – and nose in the air – (do as I say, not as I did) and set the timer for no more than 10 minutes at a time. 5 minutes at a time is probably wiser.

:: Monica Khoo’s sourdough recipe: Here is Monica’s ingredients list. As you can see from what I did to her list, I am incapable of not making at least one change to a recipe!

  • 200 grams Bread flour
  • 88 grams 100% hydration starter
  • 14 grams butter
  • 123 grams milk
  • 18 grams sugar
  • 5 grams salt


I did end up taking the bread to have for Cousins’ Day after all. On Saturday night, we ate (correction: chawed and chawed) it at dinner – everyone was very gracious and kept saying it had good flavour…). Personally, I think that everyone was just being nice because the rest of the dinner (grilled chicken, baked tomatoes stuffed with rice and pistachios, grilled vegetables with chimichurri sauce, steamed asparagus, and an assortment of excellent Ontario wines – white, rose, and red, followed by extra fudgy brownies, home-made lemon ice cream, and strawberries) was so spectacularly delicious.

Wild Pull-apart Bread

But the Pull-apart Bread? It wasn’t exactly the kind of bread that I would ever exclaim “I could eat this all day!”

Unless it was just one of the pulled apart tough and chewy pieces… each pulled apart piece certainly was tough enough to have to chew it for several minutes before becoming safe to swallow.

Sorry, no photographic evidence of the dense, very very very chewy pulled-apart pieces. Mercifully, nobody broke any teeth. And. Almost all the bread disappeared. (It must have been the butter and sage.)

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep Baking

If you’ve lasted this long, you know that I am the host kitchen for September 2019’s Bread Baking Babes’ project.

I’ve left the filling ingredients up to the BBBabes, and you too, when you make the bread. Monica Khoo used “melt-able cheese […] herbs, spice and garlic“, but she also added: “Could be anything else you want“.

And we know you’ll want to make this bread! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make Wild Pull-apart Bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 September 2019.

Here’s how to let us know:

  • email me
    » Remember to include your name and a link to your post
    » Please type “BBB September 2019 bread” in the subject heading

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please email if you want to be included.

If you don’t have a blog or flickr-like account, no problem; we still want to see and hear about your bread! Please email me with the details, so your walnut bread can be included in the roundup too.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ September 2019 Bread.

It’s Sourdough September!

This post is to “encourage more people to bake genuine sourdough”.

Sourdough September

Wild thing, you make my loaf spring
Since 2013, the ninth month of the year is when the Real Bread Campaign goes on a mission to help everyone discover that: life’s sweeter with sourdough!
The aims of #SourdoughSeptember are to:
    ▪ Share the delicious delights of genuine sourdough
    ▪ Encourage more people to bake genuine sourdough
    ▪ Celebrate the small, independent bakeries that bake genuine sourdough
    ▪ Help people to say no to sourfaux and avoid paying a premium for something that simply isn’t the real deal
    ▪ Encourage people to join and/or donate to the Real Bread Campaign
Are you in? Great!
– Real Bread Campaign, Sustainweb.org | Sourdough September

Bookmarked Recipes - monthly Bookmarked Recipes

Some time ago, Ruth (Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments) created this event to urge herself (and everyone else) to actually make the several recipes they have bookmarked in various books, magazines and internet pages. For a time, Jacqueline (Tinned Tomatoes) took over hosting the event. Because she is vegetarian, she asked that submitted recipes be vegetarian OR that alternatives be given for how to make the dish vegetarian.

However, “Bookmarked Recipes”, is no longer officially happening. You might like to look at previous bookmarked recipes:


But look! I could hold my head up high yesterday morning. The Tartine loaf we baked on the same day, to take to Cousins’ Day, turned out beautifully! And see? It’s smiling.

Tartine Bread
Tartine Bread
(Or is that a devilish grin?)


4 responses to “Wild Pull-apart Bread (BBB September 2019)

  1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    I paid heed to your warning and took my last few additional times at just 5 minutes each! And really your round looks beautiful, and the tartine loaf looks spectacular! I really want to try a bunch of the sweet variations now…

    I’m really glad that you were able to benefit from my mistake, Kelly! And yes, my loaf does look nice in the photos – the magic of the camera – but it doesn’t show just how heavy the bread was. – Elizabeth (The Tartine loaf was pretty fabulous. Next time I make pull-apart bread, I think I’ll use Tartine dough. Sweet variations? …I might have to make more than one loaf.)

  2. Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups)

    Just goes to show looks can be deceiving because you ring looks gorgeous by any angle or standard. I do understand the too dense thing, been there and done that. I use a thermometer much more often than I once did because of that. The tartine loaf looks gorgeous as well.
    Wonder what you did different than I did that your rounds filled the outside around. I did mine in a springform pan as well.

        Who knows what causes these differences, Tanna? Do you think it was the fact that my dough was much much slower rising than yours, because you used commercial yeast?
        Also, good reminder to use a thermometer. Although… I’m not sure I would have been able to insert a thermometer into that tough tough skin! :lalala: – Elizabeth

  3. Katie (Thyme for Cooking)

    I love those old cookbooks. I have all of my mother’s and aunts. Such great (and funny) recipes and ideas in them.
    Bread sounds delicious.

    I have several of my mother’s old cookbooks. I love them too. One of my favourites (that contains the pancake recipe we always used when I was growing up) has “note to brides” at the bottom of many of the recipes. Those tips have given us the greatest pleasure (and a few have generated hours of laughter). My favourite tip says to use a “dover beater” to make a Charlotte “superlatively smooth” – as if a dover beater is something that every new bride knows and has! – Elizabeth (I just looked up “dover beater” to find out what it is… Ha!! It turns out that it’s just a regular garden variety hand crank egg beater!)

    1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

      I just recently received my grandmother in law’s recipe collection, which is mostly photocopies of newspaper clippings in a three ring binder, but there are just a few handwritten ones from friends and a few in her own writing, which hubby greatly appreciated since he loved her very much and stayed with her on occasion while he was without board during college. Love seeing her notes on some of the Polish recipes, “very good!” and I look at the ingredients and think, um, no thank you.

      I’m dying to know what the scary ingredients are, Kelly!
      One of my favourite recipes is “Boula Gratine (Soup)” from my grandmother-in-law: “1 tin gr pea soup diluted 1/2 way with water; 1 tin turtle soup; heat & serve with whipped cream OR chill & serve with whipped cream”. There is another for “Boula baise” that is equally frightening, calling for cans of pea soup, tomato soup, crabmeat, lobster meat…. Um, no thank you, indeed. – Elizabeth


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