Monkey Bread. I have no idea how or why this glorious sweet bread is called monkey bread. Maybe because it looks like monkey brains? But then all animal brains look the same (right…?) so shouldn’t it be then called animal bread? Or did the monkeys that were playing in Jane and Tarzan’s yard throw some cinnamon and brown sugar on their bread and created such a concoction? That’ll work too….Whatever the name is, I am glad for it’s existence.
The first time I heard of monkey bread was three years ago in my college dorm room, freshmen year. I lived in an all girl dorm and a girl down the hall made some and was passing it out to people down the hall! I had my first taste and it was gooey, perfectly pull-y apart-y, and so so soft! Three years later, I am reminded of this sweet bread and decided to make it, not from the typical can of biscuits, but from homemade dough.
The dough could not be easier to make! It’s simply a process of adding the wet ingredients into the dry. As I’m all about that “minimizing dishes that I have to wash,” I measure it all directly in a pyrex liquid measuring cup. After, I added the sugar and yeast directly in as well. The only thing you want to be careful is for your mixture to not be too hot, or it can kill the yeast and prevent it from rising (has most definitely happened to me on multiple occasions).
With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the milk mixture. Once it is all in, turn the speed to high and let the mixer begin to dance as it kneads the dough.
After about 5 minutes, your dough should look like this. If it is too sticky, add some more flour, 2 Tbsp at a time and knead until completely incorporated. You want it to be sticky, not not so much where it is impossible to handle.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased bowl and shape it into a ball. Turn it around in the bowl so all the sides of the dough are also lightly greased. Place it in a warm area for it to rise, and since the AC has been blasting in our house and it is warmer outdoors, I set the dough outside to rise for about an hour and thirty minutes. To track how well it doubles, I always draw a circle on top of the saran wrap showing the size at the start.
An hour thirty minutes later, you can see how much it has grown! I love seeing how alive a dough is!
Punch the dough down and spread it out. At this point, you can use a knife to cut large it into smaller squares, but I like to use scissors. I think they make cleaner cuts, funkier shapes, and you get a range of sizes.
You want to cut them about the size of silver dollars, but it really doesn’t have to be exact.
Have I mentioned how much I love this super soft and supple dough?
Take each piece and dunk them in butter. Allow the excess to drip off, and roll each one in brown sugar. I am using homemade brown sugar made from mixing molasses and white sugar.
Begin to pile on the layers in a well buttered bundt cake pan! No need to press it down, just get it into as even of a layer as possible, then allow it to rise again for another hour.
And yet, it continues to grow! After the one hour, bake it for 30-35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
As it is cooling, you can make the simple glaze from powdered sugar and milk. Allow it to cool slightly for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, then turn it out onto the awaiting platter, then liberally drizzle on the glaze and enjoy! The best part about this bread is that you don’t need to serve it, you don’t need any knife or small plates, people can just grab any piece they want and eat!!
recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for greasing the bundt cake pan
1 c warm milk, about 110 degrees
1/3 c warm water, about 110 degrees
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one package)
3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more if needed if dough is too sticky
2 tsp salt
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c butter, melted (1 stick)
1 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Liberally butter a bundt pan with softened butter, making sure to get every crease. Set aside.
In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together. Dough should still be sticky, but dry enough to handle.
Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl and turn it around to grease the dough. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
While the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place the melted butter in a second bowl or shallow pie plate. Set aside.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it out and turn it onto a cutting board. Using scissors or a knife, cut the dough into large bite size pieces.
For each piece, roll each into a rough ball then dip into the melted butter, followed by a coating in brown sugar. Place each piece into the bundt pan, trying to make an even layer. Once all has been finished, cover again in saran wrap and allow to rise for another 1-2 hours.
Once ready, bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until the top is a caramel color, about 30-35 minutes. Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (any longer and the bread will be too sticky and hard to remove), then turn out on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
While the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk together in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the warm monkey bread, letting it run over the top and sides of the bread. Serve warm.