Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 13: Valentine’s Day Anatomical Heart Pull Apart Bread

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Kitchen Overlord - Human Heart Pull Apart Bread

Nothing says romance like ritual cannibalism. Use this anatomical heart pull apart loaf to pretend you’re vampires feasting on the heart of that asshole in HR who gave a promotion to Brad. Alternately, you could engage in a little Indiana Jones cosplay where the sexy archaeologist in your life can rescue you from having your heart ripped out by any other man. Gentlemen bakers, you could show up at your vegetarian girlfriend’s house triumphantly holding this and declaring you were successful in the hunt, so tonight you feast. There are so many ways to express your doughy love.

BREAD:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup water
½ cup maraschino cherry juice
1 ½ tsp yeast
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp red food coloring
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp blue food coloring
1 egg

GLAZE:
½ stick melted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp red food coloring
2 tbsp water

Start by warming up the water and maraschino cherry juice so that much like Dr. Frankenstein, you can reanimate the yeast. Mix in the lifeless yeast powder. Walk away for 15 minutes. This is a good time to surf the web in search of additional romantic ideas for your special night. (If you’re going down the shared ritual cannibalism route, start mixing up the jello for your human brain dessert now.)

When you come back, the yeast should be a living, frothy mess. Mix in the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, egg, and red food coloring. Yes, that’s a teaspoon of red dye. Don’t skimp. If you do, you risk having a pale pink, fleshy looking heart.

Roughly mix all that together then attach the dough hook to your stand mixer and let it rip and knead away for about 6 minutes, occasionally scraping the sides. If you’re making this by hand, knead it for about 6-10 minutes.

Cover your dough and let it sit for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. Punch it into submission.

Now comes the fun part – sculpting your heart. A real human heart has four chambers, but most relationships only have two people, so I made mine to be ripped into two shareable parts. Feel free to adjust based on your personal reality.

human heart diagram

Start by staring good and hard at an anatomical drawing of a heart. From the outside, you have two main halves, one kind of kidney shaped, the other kind of shaped like a fist. Imagine it’s symbolic of love hitting you when you’re down. Use a little more dough than you think you need to carefully shape both halves of your heart. The extra dough at the top will become arteries.

The most important part of realism here is pulling the left pulmonary artery through the arch of the aorta. Basically, make a hole about an inch from the top of the right side. Use your finger to work it into an arch. Now tug a stray, thick bit of dough from the left piece of dough into a tube and pull it through the arch. This not only completes the look of your heart, but also adds a lot of structural stability to the pull apart bread. Gently press the two halves of the heart together.

At this point, feel free to go crazy adding whatever extra anatomical details amuse you. Honestly, if you have a thick top, tapered bottom, two visible halves, and an artery sticking out of an arch, anyone who sees it will get the point. Anything more is just for funsies.

Once you’re finished, let the dough rest for about half an hour. You don’t want to let it fully rise a second time or it’ll lose its shape. Instead, bake your loaf at 350F for 20 minutes. If it starts browning, add some foil to the top. You want to preserve that red color.

Once it cools, get a paintbrush and paint on the blue food coloring. (If you do this before baking the blue turns a dark blue-black.) Start by outlining the seam between the two halves of the pull apart bread. Then paint the entire left artery. After that, just have fun adding veins.

This is best served on a plate of blood red glaze. Melt the butter. Whisk in the water, sugar, vanilla, and food coloring until you have a thick, red sauce free of lumps. If it doesn’t look bloody enough, add a drop or two of blue dye to darken the color.

This recipe should make you about 3 hearts. A cynical person could congratulate you on planning for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates. A realistic baker says pick out the one that looks the best for gifting purposes then guiltily feast upon the other two to hide the evidence.

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