The only past experience that I’ve ever had with Monkey Bread was wayyyy back in kindergarten when it was served at one of those little classroom parties. Yes, one of my only memories of kindergarten is of food, are you surprised? Since then I’ve always known of its deliciousness but never took the opportunity to make some. Now that I have this un-yielding obsession with yeast breads I knew that I would have to take on the challenge in the near future. Since being back on my home turf surrounded by family, I have had quite the audience for food testing, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bake up some Monkey Bread.
Now, the reason I probably put it off for so long was exactly that. You really need an audience to make this bread for. It’s best served right out of the oven fresh, which is the same for other sweet yeasted breads like cinnamon rolls. Yes, you can pop them in the microwave for 30 secs and it will help enliven them but it’s just not the same. So for me to have made this bread for my usual audience (just ME), I would have been asking for trouble… left to my own self-control, I don’t think I would have been as conservative in my serving size. You kind of lose yourself in this bread- “once you start, you just can’t stop” as they say.
ALSO- this bread is yeasted, so it does require some time and effort. There is the time required to make the dough, the first hour rise, the dividing and shaping into balls, the dipping and rolling into melted butter and cinnamon-sugar, filling the bundt pan with each ball, waiting another hour for a final rise, and then the bake time. See? It does require some dedication in the kitchen. And I’ll tell ya, shaping the dough balls then coating them takes forever. Or at least it seems to when you’re in a rush. You should really only make this bread if you have the patience, otherwise you might be better off buying refrigerated bread dough and starting from that point. Although! It will not be nearly as good- don’t fool yourself.
Guess what I did with mine? I misread the instructions and let the dough balls rise an hour before coating them. Totally not a necessary step. BAH. Just a waste of time on my part. Also because of that rise they didn’t quite rise to fill the pan well once in the bundt for the last rise. So they all started to fall apart when the bread was inverted from the pan. Oh well. It was still delicious!
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 1 package yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:
- 1 ¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, warm the milk slightly until an instant-read thermometer reads between 105 – 110-degrees. Remove from heat and whisk in the yeast. Do not warm it beyond 110-degrees or you will kill the yeast.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar and salt until combined.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until combined.
- Keeping the mixer on low, slowly stream in the milk mixture until combined. Add the melted butter and mix until the dough comes together. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment. Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough becomes silky and tacky, but not sticky, about 8 – 10 minutes. The dough should mound together and easily come off the bottom of the mixing bowl. If it is too wet, add some flour; if too dry, add a small amount of water.
- Spray the inside of a large bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, 1 – 2 hours.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Push dough down with your hands to deflate. Remove from the bowl and pat into a rough circle approximately 8-inches in diameter. Use a serrated knife to cut dough into 1- to 1 ½-inch pieces. (You should end up with about 60 pieces). Roll them into balls, place on the parchment-lined pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set aside while you prepare the coating ingredients.
- Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Place the melted butter in a separate bowl.
- To assemble: Remove the plastic wrap from the dough balls and dip one ball in the melted butter. Let the excess butter drip back into the bowl, then roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place it in the prepared Bundt pan. Continue this process with each dough ball, adding them to the pan in layers, as if you are building a brick wall.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and set it in a warm area of the house for about 1 hour or until the dough balls have almost doubled in size and appear puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Remove the plastic wrap from the Bundt pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the top layer is deep brown and the caramel coating begins to bubble around the edges, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn bread out onto a platter. Serve warm.