Lemon Pull-Apart Bread: Easy with a Bread Machine

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Sneak Peek: This Lemon Pull-Apart Bread is a sweet yeast pull-apart bread flavored with lemon and orange zest. It’s ridiculously easy to make with a bread machine and a bundt pan.

Lemony Pull-Apart Bread -- in a loaf pan.

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My daughter-in-law recently asked me if I thought she could make a certain lemon pull-apart bread seen on Pinterest in her bread machine. Did you know that most regular yeast bread recipes can be converted? I took the bait.

In the end, I adapted my Monkey Bread recipe, because I think it’s better. I hope you will be inspired to convert some of your favorite bread recipes to use in a bread machine, too.

No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. You can make it by hand or with a stand mixer– directions are in the recipe notes.

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Recipe inspiration:

I procrastinated with this recipe because the original instructions for assembling the bread seemed rather complicated.  Surely there was an easier way than cutting long strips, stacking them, slicing the stacks, etc.

Then, I remembered my mom’s Christmas-morning tradition. It was a cinnamon-sugar creation baked inside a round aluminum pan with a hole in the middle. Maybe an old jello mold? (See the picture at the end of this post.)

Using a biscuit cutter, she produced round discs of yeast dough. After dipping each piece in melted butter, she double-dipped them into a bowl of cinnamon and sugar just like monkey bread.

The way she arranged the dough pieces made all the difference.

The sugary circles of dough were positioned vertically inside the pan around the whole like little toy soldiers lined up at attention.

Eating it was the BEST part. We loved pulling the fragrant and buttery slices off one by one, like pulling off segments of a juicy orange.

My mom’s cinnamon pull-a-part bread described above provided the inspiration to make this recipe faster and simpler without sacrificing taste or appearance.

Lemon Pull Apart Bread Made Easy with a Bread Machine - pieces on plate

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • MILK: Use whatever milk you have on hand. The higher the fat content, the richer and tastier your bread will be. The milk does not need to be warmed before adding to the bread maker pan.
  • SUGAR: Granulated sugar is best. If you want to substitute honey, only use 3 tablespoons as honey is sweeter than sugar.
  • SALT: The recipe was tested with table or sea salt. If you use Kosher salt, add 1/4 teaspoon more.
  • BUTTER: I always use real butter, usually unsalted. The butter you add to the recipe does not need to be warmed. Chop it finely and it will melt quickly once the bread machine starts mixing the dough. The dipping butter must be melted.
  • EGGS: I use large eggs in all of my bread recipes. If you use something smaller or larger, you may need to adjust the liquid accordingly.
  • FLOUR: This recipe was tested with unbleached, all-purpose flour. You could substitute bleached all-purpose flour. You may need less liquid or a little more flour if you do that so check your dough as it’s kneading. Bread flour is also an option but will make the bread a bit chewier.

    If possible, weigh your flour (and liquids) with a digital kitchen scale.
  • YEAST: I use bread machine or instant yeast. If you want to use active dry yeast, add 1/4 teaspoon extra as it is slower to act.
  • LEMON: You may notice there is no lemon juice in this recipe. This bread derives its subtle lemon flavor from grated lemon and orange rind. I think it’s the perfect amount of citrus flavoring.

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Can I prepare this bread ahead of time?

I can’t wait to serve this delicious bread for my family on Christmas morning, but I won’t be getting up early to put it together.

See the notes at the end of the recipe for how to prepare this recipe a day ahead and then bake it the next morning.


How to assemble and bake this Bread Machine Lemon Bread Recipe:

transferring the dough from the breadmachine pan to a floured silicone mat

Remove dough from the bread machine pan to a lightly floured surface.

rolling out the dough into a rectangle

Roll dough into a generally rectangular shape measuring approximately 8 x 10 inches.

cutting dough with a pizza cutter

Cut dough into large diamonds with a knife or pizza cutter.

arranging dough inside a bundt pan

Dip each diamond-shaped piece of dough into a small bowl of butter first, then the sugary/lemon mixture. Place each piece of dough on its side in an upright position in a bundt pan coated with cooking spray. (Please ignore the cinnamon-pecan streusel mixture pictures and pretend it is a sugary/lemon streusel-like mixture.)

What the dough looks like inside the pan before baking.

Continue until all diamonds are lined up around the pan.

dough covered with a cheap shower cap while in the final proofing stage.

Cover with a plastic shower cap, plastic wrap, or a tea towel.

pull-apart bread after it has been proofed

Allow bread to rise until almost double in size before placing it into a preheated oven to bake.

Uncover and bake in a conventional oven at 350˚F (180˚C) for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190˚F (88˚C) and the bread is golden brown. If necessary, lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top to prevent over-browning about halfway through baking time.

showing the layers in this pull-apart bread machine lemon bread

After baking, turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool. To serve, flip it upside down so you can see the crusty top. Drizzle icing overall.


My mom’s old pan. Doesn’t this look like a jello mold? Wonder how old it is.

FAQ about Lemon Pull-Apart Bread made with a bread machine:

Can I freeze the grated lemon rind?

Yes. I like to grate the rind of every lemon that I squeeze before squeezing it. Drop it into a small plastic bag and save it for a future recipe–like this one.

Can I bake this bread in my bread machine?

I don’t recommend baking bread in a bread machine, but it’s possible. Before the final rising period, remove the dough from the machine and pull out the blade(s).

Can I use an angel food cake or loaf pan instead of a bundt pan?

You can use a one-piece angel food cake pan. The buttery lemon mixture will leak out of a 2-piece angel food cake pan. A loaf pan will also work. Unless you are using good non-stick pans, line your loaf pan with parchment paper with a 1-inch overhang for easy removal.

Use a 9 x 4 x 4-inch loaf pan or a 10 x 5-inch pan. The dough should not fill the pan more than half full.

Can you make almost any bread with a bread machine?

Yes. If you are willing to use the DOUGH cycle, then shape the dough by hand and bake it in your conventional oven, a whole new world will open up for using your bread machine.

Parting thoughts: These lemon pull-aparts make a great substitute for monkey bread or cinnamon rolls around the holidays or when you have houseguests. This loaf is pucker-free but pleasantly sweet and lemony.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

Lemon Pull-Apart Bread with a Bread Machine

A simple pull-apart bread flavored with lemon and orange zest that you can make in your bread machine
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Mix and Rise Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 45 mins
Course Bread
Servings 16 slices

Video

Ingredients

  • cup milk - 150 gr
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar - 50 gr
  • 1 teaspoon table or sea salt - 6 gr
  • ¼ cup butter - (softened) 57 gr
  • 2 eggs - (large size)
  • 3 ¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour - 390 gr
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon bread machine or instant yeast - 7 gr

Coating mixture:

  • ¼ cup melted butter (for dipping dough pieces) - 57 gr
  • Lemon zest from 3 lemons and 1 orange
  • ½ cup granulated sugar - 100 gr

Frosting

  • 1 cup powdered sugar - 227 gr
  • 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream, milk, or coffee - 14-28 gr

Instructions
 

Making the dough:

  • Dump the first 7 ingredients into the bread machine pan in the order listed. Select the DOUGH cycle, then START.
  • Check the dough at least twice by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Look again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. For most recipes, The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When the DOUGH cycle is finished, if the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the pan to a floured surface. If the dough has not risen enough, leave it in the machine until it does before proceeding.

Shaping the dough:

  • Remove dough to a floured surface and roll into a rectangle roughly 8 x 10 inches in size.
  • Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into large diamonds.
  • Dip each diamond into melted butter, then into sugary lemon/orange zest mixture.
  • Place first piece on its side in bundt pan. Lay second piece upright against first piece and repeat until all pieces have been lined up around the pan. You may have to push them together to squeeze in the final pieces. Perfection is not required.
  • Cover with shower cap, plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rise in warm place until almost double.
  • Uncover and bake in an oven preheated to 350˚F for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190˚F. If necessary, lay a piece of foil loosely on top to prevent over-browning about halfway through baking time.
  • Allow the baked bread to cool for 5 minutes before turning it out of the pan. Flip upside down so crusty top is visible.

Glaze:

  • While bread is still warm, mix powdered sugar with liquid of choice and drizzle over the top.

Notes

To prepare a day ahead:
Follow instructions above through step 4 of shaping the dough. Cover dough that has already been arranged in a pan with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Chill overnight. About 2 hours before you want to serve bread, remove the bundt pan from the fridge and set it aside in a warm, cozy place until the dough has almost doubled in size. Bake as directed above. You can control the rising time somewhat by moving the pan to a warmer or cooler location, depending on when you want the bread to be ready to bake.
Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Pull-Apart Bread with a Bread Machine
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
227
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
7
g
11
%
Saturated Fat
 
4
g
25
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
36
mg
12
%
Sodium
 
210
mg
9
%
Carbohydrates
 
37
g
12
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
17
g
19
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipes, bread recipe, lemon, lemon monkey bread, yeast breads
Like this recipe? Thanks for leaving a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. Merry Christmas Paula, that coffee cake looks delicious!

  2. This delicious lemony bread sounds like a lovely addition to any morning. 🙂 I do love the ease of making dough inthe bread machine- Anytime I can make something ahead of time it’s a definite plus. I do hope you and yours have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

  3. wishing you and your family best peaceful joyous Christmas every as i’m typing this the lemon pull apart bread is in my machine my hubby just didn’t want to wait until Christmas day (i’ll make another) he loves anything with lemons
    thank you for sharing
    diane ontario canada

  4. Just showed kent your website. For the record, he doesn’t think this looks good. He’s crazy! He told me to make cinnamon rolls.

  5. Loved the taste of this, but mine turned out dry. Not sure what I did wrong.

    1. Hi Julie, Sorry about your bread. Is it possible you left out the butter or egg? Or maybe over baked it? Was the dough the right consistency when kneading–sticks to the side and then pulls away? Do you test your bread with a thermometer when baking? That really helps, especially with sweet breads that brown quickly.

  6. I think I may have cooked to long. I will try again. This had a really great taste.

  7. Genius simply genius to use a pizza cutter for making monkey bread. I never would have thought of that

  8. I just made this bread this weekend (first recipe from your site) and it was a HIT!
    I made it with all oranges because that’s what I had on hand and I will definitely be making the lemon version ASAP!
    I can’t wait for the week lemons go on sale!

    1. Hi Cathi,

      So glad you like the Lemon Bread. I can imagine it’s also good with all oranges. Thanks for coming back to say so!

  9. 5 stars
    My family LOVED this bread even though I made it with all orange zest. We can’t wait for lemons to be on sale to try the original lemon version!

  10. Yummy!
    BTW….your mom’s pan is called a Savarin pan, according to Paul Hollywood.
    I think it came before the bundt pan.

  11. Kelly Whitney says:

    5 stars
    Paula,

    I made the lemon bread yesterday and it was delicious. This is a keeper recipe for sure. We delivered a sample to two neighbors in our golf cart. I also only use the dough function of my bread machine.
    I will be checking out more of your bread recipes. So glad I happened onto your site.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      So glad you found me. Sounds like you will fit in around here. Many of my readers love to share their bread with others, so they are particular about how they look and taste. Glad to hear you like to use your DOUGH function. Every bread machine recipe on my website is designed to do just that. Can’t wait to hear more about your bread-baking adventures.