For our Halloween costume party, I made pumpkin soup (which was a big hit) and I wanted some bread to go along with it. I have been wanting to make Momma's pull-apart bread for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it--no crumbs from slicing, people can just take a slice as they need it.
I used the quick-mix method that my Kitchen-aid mixer suggests. It seems to work pretty well for me, so I'll use those instructions here.
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 c flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 T yeast
1 1/2 c hot water (about 110 degrees)
1/2 c (scalded) milk
3 T butter or olive oil
Mix 4 1/2 cups of the flour and the remaining dry ingredients (include the yeast) in the mixing bowl.
Combine (room temperature) butter or olive oil, hot water, and milk and add to dry ingredients (with mixer running) until a soft dough forms. Be sure to add the liquid ingredients slowly--otherwise the liquid will pool around the bottom of the dough hook and won't be mixed with the flour.
With the mixer still running, add the remaining flour as needed to form the right consistency dough. As Momma always said, mix until it is as smooth as a baby's bottom (for those of you who don't know what that feels like :) you can also use your ear lobe as a reference).
Knead 10 minutes (the Kitchen Aid mixer kneads bread really well--so you may need to reduce the kneading time).
Roll out the dough on a floured surface into 12" x 8" rectangle. Drizzle with olive oil (or melted butter). Cut the dough in half, placing one half on top of the other. Make sure there is always butter/olive oil between the layers.
Repeat cutting in half and layering until you have "slices" of bread roughly 4"x3". Layer these slices in the bread pan and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for one hour.
Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
When done, brush the top crust with olive oil (or butter) to keep it soft. Best served at room temperature (it can be difficult to pull whole slices off when the bread is really hot).
Enjoy with your favorite soup!