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5 from 2 votes

Lemon Pull Apart Bread

This Lemon Pull Apart Bread is light and fluffy, tastes like summer and has a perfect balance of sweet and tangy, which I love!
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time2 hrs 55 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Servings: 8


For the sweet yeast dough

  • 1/2 cup milk 120ml
  • 1/2 cup water 120ml
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100g
  • 4 tsp packages instant yeast
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature, 80g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting/rolling, 562g

For the lemon filling

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature, 80g
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150g
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the lemon glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar 120g
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • In a small saucepan, warm the milk and water together over low heat until lukewarm (about 95F). Pour the warm mixture into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or use a handheld mixer. Use a spoon and manually stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Beat in the softened butter on low speed. Then add the eggs, one at a time (beat until each egg is incorporated) and the salt. On low speed, add 4 and 1/2 cups of flour, one cup at a time. Once all the flour is added, increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and smooth, about 3-4 minutes longer. The dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  • Knead the dough with your hands for 1 minute and form it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  • In the meantime make the lemon sugar mixture for the filling. In a small bowl mix the granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest together. Set aside.
  • After the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a 1/4 inch high (1/2cm) rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the softened butter on top. Sprinkle the lemon sugar filling all over. Grease your loaf pan. Cut the rectangle with a pizza cutter or sharp knife into strips which are a little bit less wide than your baking dish (I used a silicon loaf pan), then cut the strips into squares. Each square should a bit less wide and high than your loaf pan. Stack the squares on top of each other and put the stacks into your loaf pan. The dough will rise quite a bit during the second rise and while in the oven so don't over fill your loaf pan. (see Note 1) Let my pictures below guide you. Flip the last square over, so that the side with no filling is the end of the stack.
  • Preheat your oven to 350F (177C) and let your pull apart bread sit in a warm place to rise a second time while the oven is heating up. My oven needs about 10 minutes to preheat and the bread gets visibly bigger in those 10 minutes.
  • Bake the pull apart bread for 50-60 minutes until lightly browned. If your bread gets too dark, cover it with aluminum foil. Let the loaf sit in the pan for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool down before glazing.
  • Prepare the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment mix the confectioners' sugar together with 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, add more lemon juice until a smooth but not runny mixture has formed. Beat the mixture one minute and drizzle the glaze with a spoon over the pull apart bread.


1. If you have leftover squares, cut them in half, and stack them in silicon muffins cases. Take these out of the oven after 20-25 minutes.
2. My loaf pan is 10x3.5 inches and I could fill 3 additional silicon muffin cases with dough.