Baker’s Recipe: Monkey Bread

The best part of the cinnamon bun is the middle part when all the icing, cinnamon and sugar combine with the dough into a delicious gooey mess. Monkey Bread (often known as Monkey Bubble Bread) takes balls of dough and covers them in sugar then bakes it all together into easily one of the most delightful breakfast concoctions I’ve tasted in a long time.

This recipe is based off the one found in Baked Explorations, which is a fascinating read and has stunning photography – unlike mine which is terrifying on a good day. But once you make this, you won’t want to stop to take a photo either!

The trick to Monkey Bread is a simple one: it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. From start to finish, this can easily take four hours with over an hour of it being active participation.

Monkey Bread
Makes 12 servings

For the dough…
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of yeast
4 cups of all purpose flour
5 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
5 tablespoons of butter

For the coating…
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
2 sticks of butter

Bundt ring pan (12 cup)
Stand mixer with dough hook (or you can do it by hand)
Candy thermometer
Several bowls
Measuring tools

Over a low heat, warm the milk in a sauce pan until it reaches 110 degrees F. Do not let it over heat or it will be too hot and kill the bacteria. Whisk in the instant yeast into the warm milk until it dissolves and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt with the electric mixer. Melt the 5 tablespoons of butter and add to the dry ingredients, and then beat in the egg. On a medium setting, begin adding the milk into the mixture until the dough begins pulling away from the sides. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. If it is too dry, add a tiny bit of milk. Allow the dough to mix until it becomes even between five and ten minutes. Spray a bowl with cooking spray and put the dough into it. Cover it with a towel and let it rest for an hour in a warm, dark place.

Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray. After resting the dough, get two more bowls. In one of them melt a stick of butter and in the other combine the cinnamon and brown sugar. Divide the dough into as many one-inch balls as you can form. The nicer these balls look, the better it will turn out but if you don’t care about appearances feel free to have some rounding errors.

Dip each ball of dough into the butter and then evenly coat it in the brown sugar and cinnamon before placing it in the pan. Now repeat this for every ball like you’re building a LEGO set. Yeah, it takes a while. Once all the balls are done and in the pan covered in sugar (feel free to drizzle any left over butter and sugar over the dough), recover the dough and let it rest for another hour in a warm, dark place.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Bake the monkey bread for 30 minutes and serve warm. Leftover monkey bread should be heated up as well.

Note: when making Monkey Bread, you can chill the dough in the fridge and return it to room temperature allowing the dough to rise after an hour before baking.