Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monkey Bread

More pictures here!

Bread for Monkeys! (I wouldn't give mine away, too tasty) Monkey bread is, in short, blobs of of yeasted bread dough dipped into butter and then sugar and cinnamon. The balls are piled into a pan and baked to result in a soft, sweet, yeasty, and most of all, addictive dessert or breakfast. The strange name comes from the way it is eaten: by individually pulling off the blobs with your fingers, just like a monkey eating lice of its neighbor's head. Some recipes substitute store-bought biscuit dough instead of the homemade yeast bread for the sake of time, but my family and I love the addictive flavor of yeast. The dough is easy to make, so I think the extra flavor and texture is worth the time.

So, the recipe is adapted from Cook's Country, but really any soft bread recipe will do. For example, I had a leftover egg yolk in the refrigerator from the soufflé, so I added it at the same time as the yeast mixture. If you add a whole egg though, you might need to compensate with extra flour.
The recipe said to use one cup of brown sugar and one stick of butter for the coating, but that seemed a lot to me. I prepared only a half cup of cinnamon sugar, but I melted the entire stick of butter. After having dipped all the little blobs, I had used exactly all the sugar, but I had a lot of butter left over. If you prefer desserts on the sweeter side, use more sugar, but the entire stick of butter is not necessary. The ratio of sugar to cinnamon I used was strong enough to taste the cinnamon, but not so strong that my mother did not like it. My mother does not enjoy overpowering cinnamon flavor.
Concerning the frosting: At first my mom and I were dubious, but in the end my dad convinced me to make some. I made half the amount from the recipe, a half cup instead of a whole, and added a splash of cinnamon. It truly is a simple glaze; just whisk confectioners sugar with a bit of milk or water; and it begged me for some flavoring.

The recipe used a bundt pan, but I do not have one of those. Instead I used another kind of deep pan, but I'm not sure what it's called. The dough overflowed after the second rise, so I was forced to put part of it in a loaf pan.

By the way, I'm getting more organized! I started a little notebook I'm going to write all my recipes into, and I just received the tripod I ordered! (the pictures here were taken before the tripod arrived though)

Anyways, Ingredients:

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 pkg rapid rise yeast
  • 3 1/3 c. flour
  • 2 tsp salt
Sugar Coating (I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, but a larger amount with the same ratio works too)
  • 1/2 c –more brown sugar
  • 1 tsp –more cinnamon (find a ratio you like)
  • 3/4 c melted butter
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk or water
  • a pinch of cinnamon (if you need numbers, how about a 1/4 tsp)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200F. When the temperature is reached, turn off the oven. (later you will let the dough rise inside the warm oven)
  2. In a 2 cup measuring cup mix together the first four dough ingredients together in and microwave all of it on medium until the liquid feels warm to the touch (not hot). This may take 1-2 minutes. The butter will float on top and look gross.
  3. Add the yeast and stir.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture on the salt and flour in a large bowl. This is when you can add any leftover egg or yolk you have.
  5. Combine everything together and knead the dough for about ten minutes. The dough will be very sticky.
  6. Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour in the warm oven (the oven is turned off!)
  7. Butter the Bundt pan.
  8. Prepare the cinnamon-sugar mixture by combining the brown sugar and cinnamon. (Amazing!)
  9. When the dough has finished rising cut it into 64 pieces in the manner described below*.
  10. Melt the butter.
  11. Dip each piece of dough into the butter and then into the sugar-cinnamon. Layer the blobs in the bundt pan.
  12. When all the dough has been dipped and placed into the buttered pan, cover the pan and let the bread rise for another hour.
  13. Uncover and bake for around 30 minutes at 350F.
  14. Let the bread rest 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan.
  15. Make the glaze by whisking together all the ingredients
  16. Eat warm pulling apart the blobs with your fingers and dipping them in the glaze. :)
* To divide the dough evenly, first cut it into fourth, then each quarter in fourth, then each 16th into fourth again.