Me and my monkey bread.

Saturday mornings are for baking. 

Yes, I am the person who can’t wait to get up on Saturday or Sunday morning and make some breakfast. Especially if we are talking about baked breakfast. My plans were a little bit different for baking. I had on my mind to bake some cinnamon rolls but I decided to try monkey bread instead. 

It is said that the name comes from its appearance while some suggest that the name originated when someone combined a 1940s Southern slang for snack food, “monkey food,” with a traditional jumble bread. However, it may have been silent and sound movie actress ZaSu Pitts who provided this name. The term and recipe initially appeared in the Thursday February 8, 1945 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) in the column Culinary Clinic under the title “ZaSu Pitts Just Loves to Cook,” an interview with the actress promoting her traveling play Ramshackle Inn. Besides acting, Pitts’ other primary passion was cooking and she was famous for hosting celebrities in her Brentwood home with its round kitchen and brick oven. She even posthumously published a 93-page cookbook, Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts. After discussing Ms Pitts love for cooking and sharing recipes, the article concluded: 

The next is a recipe for attractive little rolls that are baked snuggled together in a pan. These are just the things for a buffet for they’re attractive on a chop plate, and as they are buttered before baking, no further buttering is necessary.”

My research on the internet about monkey bread didn’t last too much since when it comes to baked goods most of the times I visit sallysbakingaddiction.com. So, it happened this time to. I visited Sally’s site and read her recipe about homemade traditional Monkey Bread. It seemed very easy, while her photos made me wanna bake monkey bread asap.  

If you wanna try the recipe have in mind that this recipe is designed to be made ahead, since the dough needs to rise for at least 8 hours or overnight. 

Sally uses in her recipe 2% or higher milk fat, I used 1,5% milk fat and my monkey bread was amazing. Also, I had some issues as it concerns the dough. Sally says that the dough should be smooth and elastic, mine dough was a little bit chewy, maybe because I over-knead it. But, still my monkey bread was amazing.

I really loved monkey bread since you can add in your monkey bread salted caramel, apples, pumpkin, pecans, walnuts or anything you want. You can also make a non-sweet version and add in the coating some ham, cheese and pepperoncinis.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 
  • 1/4 cup warm water 
  • 1 and 1/4 cups warm milk 
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (I used 3 small eggs and the dough was ok)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour 

Coating

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze

  • 120g confectioners’ sugar
  • 45ml heavy cream (or milk for a less creamy texture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

STEP 1: Making the dough 

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir it around a bit and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small pan warm the milk together with the butter. Then add the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. By hand add enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. About 5 cups total.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Do not over-knead, which will yield a tough, chewy bread. The dough is ready when it is smooth and when you can poke it with a finger and it springs back. Form dough into a smooth ball and place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. I greased the bowl with cooking spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

STEP 2: Prepare the coating

Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a small bowl. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon together in another small bowl. Set aside. You will use the rest of the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla later.

Spray a 10-12 cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Punch the cold dough down very gently to allow the air bubbles to release. Pull apart pieces and roll into 40-45 balls. Dip each ball, one by one, in the melted butter and then generously roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat them. Arrange them in the bundt pan as you go. Cover the pan and allow dough balls to rise again for about 45 minutes at room temperature.

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STEP 3: Bake the monkey bread

Preheat oven to 170 * C. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Pour the buttery mixture over the dough balls in the bundt pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly. Cool for 5-10 minutes and invert onto a large serving plate.

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STEP 4: Make the glaze

Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together and pour over the bread. You may either cut the bread into generous slices or let everyone pick off the gooey pieces themselves.

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Monkey bread tastes best served on the same day, but will stay fresh for 3 days if stored covered at room temperature.

Does your kitchen smell like heaven or what?

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