When I’m watching my weight, this is where I have no will power, especially when it comes to doughnuts and pastries! I’m the same way when it comes to cinnamon and sugar, especially when there is yeast involved! Then there’s the smell in the kitchen, warm cinnamon and brown sugar coming from the oven and moving throughout the house, you can’t escape it! Unless you want to.
I usually use Rhodes yeast bread from the freezer instead of making my own yeast dough for Monkey Bread…you can’t tell the difference. Well, maybe some people can tell. I occasionally make my own bread when I have the time, but when I don’t have time, Rhodes bread is to the rescue. It’s sold in the freezer section of Wal-Mart and most grocery freezer sections.
Happy Monkey Bread Baking
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees F)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 package instant yeast
3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
****Or you can use Rhodes frozen yeast roll dough. I thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator, then take out and put in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set in a dry warm place free from drafts. Let rise for a few hours and punch down and roll out into an 8 x 8 inch square. Cut in strips and then turn and cut in strips again. You should get approximately 62-64 little squares. Roll each section in your hand to the size of a walnut. Dip in the melted butter and let excess butter drip back into the bowl, then roll in the sugar mixture. Place each ball in a well buttered bundt pan and cover with plastic wrap until dough has risen again and then place in an oven at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for approximately 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate. Let sit until just warm and then drizzle glaze across the top of the monkey bread.
Brown Sugar Coating:
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.
2. In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
3. For the sugar-coating: While the dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.
4. To form the bread: Gently remove the dough from the bowl, and pat into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.
5. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll in the brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in the Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.
6. Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in draft-free area until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
8. For the glaze: While the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until the lumps are gone. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the monkey bread, letting it run over top and down the sides of the bread. Serve warm.
*Note: To make without a stand mixer: In step 2, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, then add the milk mixture to the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating the shaggy scraps back into the dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into a taut ball and proceed as directed.
Recipe from “The Brown-Eyed Baker: