I have heard a lot about monkey bread over the years, and never entirely understood what it was. Monkey bread… does that mean it has bananas in it??? That was my only guess. Research never brought me to the true meaning behind how Monkey Bread was named, but it however did convince me that this is a baked good I could not put off trying any longer. Many recipes I read up on swore that this is a dish that will disappear before your eyes, because it is that good and those enjoying it won’t be able to resist.
After making it for myself, I would better explain monkey bread as being basically bite size balls of cinnamon roll dough baked in one bundt pan. It is a yeasted dough so it rises and is very light and fluffy. Since the dough balls are doused in butter and sugar before baking all together in that bundt pan, they pull apart amazingly and are so moist and tasty. It’s like all the best parts of a cinnamon roll without any of the boring edges.
It is an easy dish to make, but does require some time as the dough needs to rise, and takes a little while to bake. I made this for a Christmas party with friends, and it was the perfect informal/social dessert. Everyone could gather round and chat while pulling off and enjoying little bites. I was torn on whether I would ice it or not and decided not… next time around I think I will make a little side of icing that people can dip their bread into if they choose. It however is super sweet, cinnamon-y, and savory all on its own!
INGREDIENTS (for the bread)
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter melted then cooled
- 1 egg
INGREDIENTS (for the sugar coating)
- 2 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Generously butter the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan (or use non-stick baking spray).
In a saucepan warm your milk to slightly above room temperature. Remove it from heat, add the yeast, and whisk to dissolve. (When baking with yeast I always suggest using a thermometer… if heated above 110 degrees Fahrenheit the yeast will die).
Equip your electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
Keep your mixer on low speed, and slowly stream in your milk until combined. Add the melted butter and egg and mix until the dough comes together. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment. Continue to mix, now on medium speed, until the dough becomes silky and tacky, but not sticky (approx 8-10 minutes). The dough should mound together and come off the bottom of the mixing bowl easily.
Spray the bottom of sides of a large bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and roll it around to make sure it is completely buttered. Cover with a dish towel and let rest in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size; about 1 hour.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Use your hands to deflate the dough. Remove it from the bowl and pat it into a circle approx 8 inches in diameter. Use a knife to cut the dough into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces (or simply use your hands to pinch apart the dough). Roll the pieces into balls and place on the sheet pan. Once all your dough has been divided like this, cover the balls lightly with plastic wrap.
Next, make the sugar coating by stirring together the sugar and cinnamon. Place the melted butter in a seperate bowl.
Last, it is time to assemble the dough. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough balls, and one at a time, coat the ball in butter (dip and shake off the excess), roll in the sugar coating, then place in your greased Bundt pan. Continue the process with each ball until all are coated and in your pan (think of arranging them as if you are building a brick wall).
Once again, wrap the cover of your bundt pan in plastic wrap and let the dough sit in a warm area of the house (about another hour).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the Bundt until the top layer is deep brown and the caramel coating begins to bubble around the edges (approx. 30 minutes).
Cool the bread for 5 minutes, then turn it directly onto a platter and serve warm.
The bundt pan I used… Nordic ware makes *THE BEST* rated bundt pans on Amazon, not to mention reasonably priced ones too!
Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Anniversary Bundt Pan
Can’t forget my #1 baking tool, my Kitchen Aid Mixer! This is the exact one I use and it came bundled with all the attachments.
KitchenAid K45SSOB 4.5-Quart Classic Series Stand Mixer, Onyx Black
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