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Monkey Bread

In Bread, Breakfast / Brunch, Dessert, Equipment and Tools, Recipe, Snacks
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This is one of those dishes that should come with a warning label.  

You know, something written in neon ink, and including words like....."not to be made or consumed without proper adult supervision"...and...."the manufacturer shall not be held liable for any physical or emotional damages incurred as a result of the chaos typically associated with the consumption of this product".

I am not kidding.

The sharks will start circling about half-way through baking, when the aroma of this lovely will have finally found its way to each corner of your home.  The real fun starts though with the onset of the feeding frenzy which is guaranteed to commence as soon as the bugger is cool enough to touch.  You've undoubtably seen it before, the gruesome footage they show over and over again during "Shark Week", of sharks in such a tizzy over a bucketful of chum, that they actually start eating EACH OTHER in their frothy confusion.  

You've been warned.

That said, it is best to take precautions when making and serving Monkey Bread. Here are a few tips from a guy who's been there.  

Remove any and all sharp objects that are within easy reach of where the Monkey Bread is served, why tempt fate by placing anything that can be weaponized within the grasp of a crazed individual (yes, I'm talking about you, Boris).  You may also want to serve the little lovely in the center of a small round table, as opposed to a long rectangular one, as doing so will allow people to reach directly for the bread without having to foolishly reach in-front of another, sugar crazed lunatic.  Finally, do make sure to keep the thing cordoned off until it has cooled for a while, it will look so inviting in its gooey-deliciousness when you invert it and remove the pan, but the molten sugar glaze will give a nasty burn if not allowed to properly cool.

Arthas and I fired up one of these beasts the other night, and though it does take some time (due to the multiple risings of the dough), it really is simple and quite fun to do what will all the rolling of dough, dipping in melted butter, and rolling in sugar required.  Given the 2 hours of rising time, and the 30-45 minutes of active working time, this is a recipe best attempted on a weekend.  I recommend timing the baking of this sin so that it coincides with your time spent at the dinner table.  Pulling this baby from the oven before dinner is served will put in jeopardy whatever it is you've prepared for your main meal, because almost certainly the hordes will devour this as soon as they are able without a thought to ruining their appetites for dinner.

Enjoy! - Steve



Monkey Bread

adapted from: Williams-Sonoma

(Print Friendly Recipe)



For the dough:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted)
  • 1 cup milk, warm (around 110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup water, warm (around 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, or instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the brown sugar syrup:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water



  1. Warm your oven to proof the bread by adjusting the oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200°F. When oven reaches 200℉, turn it off.  
  2. Butter a Bundt pan or Monkey Bread Mold with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside. 

To make the dough:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast.  If using a stand mixer, mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. (The dough should be sticky but smooth at this point, and gathered up onto the dough hook.  If it is too wet to cling to the hook, add an additional 1-3 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. 
  2. If making the dough by hand, mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in flour, then add milk mixture to the center of the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating any scraps back into the dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and proceed as directed below. 
  3. Coat a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray or a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place dough in bowl and roll it to coat the surface of the dough with the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the pre-warmed oven until dough doubles in size, about 50 to 60 minutes.

To make the brown sugar coating and form the bread: 

  1. Place melted butter in one bowl. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a second one, and set aside.
  2. Form the bread by flipping the dough out onto floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces, an 8 by 8 grid. 
  3. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll each in brown sugar-cinnamon mixture, then layer the balls in the Bundt (or Monkey Bread) pan.  Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and place back in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 60 minutes.

 To make the brown sugar syrup: 

  1. Place the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and water in a small sauce pan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat slightly, but continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat cover and keep warm.

To bake the bread: 

  1. Remove the pan from oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Unwrap the pan and pour the warm, brown sugar syrup over the top, and give it a minute or two to soak in, then place it in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.  Place some foil over the top to keep it from browning too much, then continue to bake for another 15-30 minutes (it will cook faster in a metal bundt pan that it will in a ceramic monkey bread mold).  It will feel firm in the center, next to the “tube” of the pan when it is done.  
  2. Cool in pan for 5 minutes (no longer, or you’ll have trouble getting it out) then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the bread and allow to cool a few minutes more before eating.

Serve warm.



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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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