I’ve been doing The Kitchn Baking School online for the past few weeks and there was a lesson all about rich yeast bread & sweet bread so I decided to take a chance making monkey bread. I’m now incredibly envious of any child who grew up eating monkey bread. It is so fluffy, sugary and perfect for a group breakfast. I now know what my family will now be having at every future holiday. Now if you aren’t patient, this recipe might test you but it will be SO worth it once your bubbly and ooey gooey masterpiece pops out of the oven ready to be devoured.
I was so excited about making this monkey bread, that I didn’t take too many pictures of the process so bear with me with the few I have. This recipe does involve a few steps, especially because it involves the temperamental ingredient, yeast. When you add the sugar to your yeast and water, don’t swirl it together just let it sit there and do its thing. I’ve thrown away many a yeast/sugar mixture because I felt the need to whisk it all together.
Once you mix everything together, you’ll get a nice, shiny and smooth dough. Then, you are going to want to grab yourself a glass or two of wine, set the timer and catch up on your DVR. Give your monkey bread dough plenty of time to rise in a warm environment.
If you have kids (or a patient fiance), have them help you after you do all the kneading/rising/timer watching. This step of the monkey bread reminded me of when my mom and I used to make snickerdoodles as a child. She always let me roll them in the butter and then cinnamon/sugar mix even though I got incredibly messy. Just like snickerdoodles, you’re going to dip your little soft dough balls in melted butter and then generously roll them in your brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Then, you will layer them on top of each other in your bundt pan. In the off chance you don’t have a bundt pan like me, you can fashion one out of a dutch oven, a tall shot glass and some aluminum foil.
Now this is why I think monkey bread is the perfect breakfast dessert. You can cover your cinnamon sugar dough balls with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge over night until about an hour before you want to pop them in the oven. This just calms the rising process so they don’t get too puffy and out of control. When you start the coffee maker, pull your container out of the fridge and toss on the counter to let it finish rising for about 45 minutes to an hour.
It will be tempting to pull these babies out of the oven because the smell will be intoxicating. It’s going to smell like Bath & Body Works when they bust out their new fall scents. But, don’t do it! Check on them through the glass door and oven light and if you are nervous about the top of them burning, pull them out and cover the top with aluminum foil. After about 35 minutes, pull them out, let them cool and enjoy with coffee, family and try not to eat them all.
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1/2 cup
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast and about a teaspoon of white sugar over warm water. Let it hang out until it starts to get foamy, about 10-12 minutes.
- While your yeast and sugar mixture is getting ready, heat the milk and butter over medium-low heat until butter is just melted. Do not let it boil. Let cool for a minute or two and then stir in the egg, sugar and salt. (Make sure you continuously stir so the egg doesn't scramble). When ready, add the yeast mixture.
- Pour mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add two cups of flour and beat with dough hook until flour is absorbed and dough is still a bit sticky. Then, add the other two cups of flour and continue to mix until dough is shiny and smooth, about 7-9 minutes.
- If your dough is too sticky, add more flour, about a tablespoon at a time until the dough removes easily from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a large, butter laden mixing bowl and then cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm area of your kitchen (the top of the stove is always a good place) for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- Once doubled, roll out the dough onto a slightly floured surface and lightly pat into an evenly shaped square. Cut the dough into small, uniform pieces and then roll into tight, smooth balls. Set balls aside on counter.
- Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Melt butter in another medium bowl. Dunk each ball into the melted butter with one hand and using your other hand, roll the ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture coating heavily and then layer in your bundt pan.
- Cover your bundt pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. About an hour before you are ready to cook your monkey bread, remove it from the refrigerator and set on the counter to rise a bit more.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for about 30-35 minutes. If you think the top buns are going to burn, pull the pan out and cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
- When you pull it out of the oven, let it cool for about 5-7 minutes (not too long or it will stick to your pan) and then flip over to serving plate.
- These are best served and eaten immediately but if you don't finish them all, store in an airtight container and pop in the microwave for just about 10 seconds to warm them. No longer than that because they will get hard and gross.