Monkey Bread

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Monkey Bread
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Prep Time 1 hour (plus about two hours total rising time) Cook Time 45 minutes

If we had to choose one yeast bread with the most kid appeal, it'd be monkey bread. Instead of plopping the kneaded dough into a regular loaf pan, you chop it into pieces and roll them into balls that are dipped in butter and sugar and piled into a Bundt pan. Then, when the bread's warm out of the oven, instead of slicing it, everyone just pulls off gooey hunks and eats them monkey style, as the name suggests.

What you'll need

  • Dough
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 4 3/4 to 5 cups (approximately) flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • Glaze
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • Nut and Sugar Coating
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

How to make it

  1. Monkey Bread - Step 1

    Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot but not scalded. Then pour it into a large bowl. Add the butter and sugar, stirring until the butter is nearly melted.

  2. Monkey Bread - Step 2

    Sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water, stir briefly, and then set it aside to dissolve for 5 to 10 minutes.

  3. Monkey Bread - Step 3

    When the milk mixture has cooled to slightly warmer than body temperature, stir in the yeast and the lightly beaten eggs. Add 3 cups of the flour and beat the ingredients well with a wooden spoon for 100 strokes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set it aside for 10 minutes.

  4. Stir the salt into the dough. Now stir in the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is firm enough to knead.

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it is elastic and supple. Use more flour, if needed, to keep the dough from sticking. Then put the dough in a large, oiled glass or ceramic mixing bowl and turn it to coat the entire surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  6. While the dough rises, generously butter the entire inside of a large Bundt pan (it should have a capacity of about 12 cups). Do not use a tube pan with a removable insert, such as an angel food cake pan, because the glaze will run out of the pan.

  7. Monkey Bread - Step 7

    Now make the glaze by heating the brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream in a small saucepan, stirring continuously. As soon as the glaze comes to a boil, pour it into the Bundt pan so that it puddles evenly in the bottom (a parent's job). Sprinkle half of the chopped pecans over the glaze.

  8. Monkey Bread - Step 8

    When the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 1 minute. Cut off golf ball-size pieces of dough and roll them into rough balls.

  9. Now prepare the coating. Pour the melted butter into one bowl and the sugar into another and place them in the work area. Dip the dough balls into the butter and then roll them in the sugar, placing them in the pan as you go. Once you've covered the bottom of the pan, start a new layer.

  10. When you've used half of the dough, scatter the remaining pecans over it. Then continue adding layers until the pan is two thirds full. Ideally, you will have used all the dough. If you happen to have excess dough balls, layer them in a small, well-buttered loaf pan or casserole.

  11. Monkey Bread - Step 11

    Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 35 to 45 minutes. Start heating the oven to 375° about 10 minutes before the dough is fully risen.

  12. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the bread on the center rack for 45 minutes. Don't worry too much if the top gets quite brown, but if it starts to look scorched, lay a piece of tinfoil over the bread to deflect the heat. (If you're baking a small loaf alongside, it will take only about 30 minutes.)

  13. Monkey Bread - Step 13

    Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and gently run a butter knife down the side here and there to loosen the loaf. Carefully flip the bread over onto the rack and remove the pan (another job for parents); it should lift right off. If there is excess glaze left in the pan, immediately spoon it onto the bread.

  14. Cool the bread for at least 20 minutes. Then pour glasses of cold milk, put out some plates, and help yourselves by pulling off pieces of the bread. Any leftovers can be wrapped in tinfoil and reheated later in a warm oven. Makes up to 9 servings.

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