Growing up, around the holidays my mom would bake something we called Monkey Bread. If you search the net for Monkey Bread recipes, what you'll find is a number of dessert-like breads, covered in a sticky brown sugar (or other sweet) coating. Those are not the Monkey Bread my mother made—hers was more of a "regular" bread (containing just 1/4 cup of sugar) that you can eat with your meal.
What makes the bread unique—and fun to eat—is that it's assembled from small pieces, which you then tear off and eat.
Although I bake Christmas cookies and occasional other stuff, I'd never tried her Monkey Bread recipe. But for this year's New Year's Eve party/potluck, I thought I'd give it a shot…and after a couple false starts, I managed to get one done…
As noted, that was not my first attempt. I left the egg out of my first batch (whoops), and missed a whole cup of flour (whoops again) on my second try. But in the end, it came out great, and was well liked at the party.
It's a simple recipe, but quite time consuming to make, due to the time required to wait for the dough to rise (a couple of times).
You'll need to preheat the oven to 350°, but don't do this up front, as you're a few hours away from needing it. Ideally, you should have a tube pan, as that's the best way to bake the bread.
The ingredients are very basic…
|Active dry yeast||1 package|
|Milk||1 1/4 cups|
|Butter or Margarine||3/4 cup|
And here's how to (hopefully) turn those ingredients into Monkey Bread.
- Combine 1 cup flour, plus the listed sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Stir well.
- Heat milk and 1/4 cup butter until very warm—120°F to 130°F.
- Gradually add the heated butter/milk mix to the dry ingredients, and beat at slow speed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat for 2 minutes.
- Add egg and 1/2 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes more.
- With a spoon, gradually stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour to make a soft
dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.
- Set dough onto lightly floured board; shape into a ball and knead for five to 10 minutes,
or until smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a greased bowl (I used butter), spread butter or margarine on top of the dough, then cover loosely with plastic wrap or lid and let rise 90 minutes to two hours—until the dough ball has doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and let it rest 10 minutes. This is a good time to turn on your oven, depending on how quickly it preheats.
- Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll each half out to roughly a 12" x 9" rectangle. Cut diagonally in both directions, spacing the cuts roughly two inches apart. When done, you'll have a lot of tiny little diamond-shaped pieces.
- Melt additional butter, then dip each piece in butter, coating thoroughly. Arrange in overlapping layers in ungreased 10" tube pan.
- Cover loosely and let rise about one hour or until double in size.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Check at five minute intervals after about 20 minutes, and cover the top with foil if necessary to prevent over browning.
- Remove from oven, and baste top with melted butter. Best served warm.
This bread freezes well and can be reheated for serving.
- Place a circle of aluminum foil in the bottom of the tube pan, before you put the two parts of the pan together. This helps control dripping butter in the oven
- As I hate messy ovens, I put the tube pan in a large casserole pan, and cooked it that way—this captured any leaking butter before it could escape to the oven's interior.
- The recipe is very sensitive to using the right amount of flour–add the final 2.5 cups slowly, stopping when the dough is pliable and not sticky to the touch.
- For serving, we put the bread in a glass pie pan, which worked well.