Sweet, bite-size yeast dough morsels coated with sugar, cinnamon and butter, and baked until golden brown and the coating turns into a beautiful ooey gooey caramel - that's what monkey bread is. A funny name for a funny-looking bread:) It is also called sticky bread, pinch-me cake, bubble loaf and even monkey brains.
A few tips before I get to the recipe:
- Do not make monkey bread if you're alone! It is unbelievably addictive and hard to resist, so make sure you have your family or friends around to share it, otherwise before you know it you've dug half way in:) Joke aside, this caramel-coated bread is best eaten warm when the pieces pull apart easily and the flavours are the most intense, and we all know that warm dough can be pretty heavy on the stomach. Now, before you think that I'm a sugar addict, especially after posting so many sweet dishes lately, let me tell you that I've only made this bread twice, the first time was a year ago because I was very curious what it was all about, and the second time was a few days ago at my family's request.
- Stick with just a few pieces of bread. If however you lose count of those bites, do not just settle comfortably on the couch. Go out for a walk or a jog, just do something active to burn those calories.
- Stay smoke-free, use a large Pyrex or stoneware casserole dish (bigger than 2.5L) to allow enough space for the dough to rise and also to prevent the bubbling butter from leaking over the edge and dripping inside your oven and burn (I know what I'm talking about!).
To cut things short, monkey bread falls into the "try anything at least once" category. These mouthwatering, melt-in-the-mouth, very soft and fluffy bread bites covered with warm cinnamon caramel are absolutely delicious and a must-try.
Of all the yummy-looking pictures on the net, Bake & Shake's photo was the most appetizing. The recipe was already eggless and so easy to veganize, I just made a few adjustments and here you have it.
- 3 1/4 cups organic plain white flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp quick yeast (the first time I made it I used fast action dried yeast, both can be added directly to the flour)
- 1 cup warm soy milk (I've made bread dough before using different types of milk and for the soft, fluffy kind soy milk gave the best result. Feel free to experiment with your favourite non-dairy milk)
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 Tb melted butter
- 1/4 cup unrefined caster sugar
Note: The measuring cups I use are 250 ml (1 cup), 125 ml (1/2 cup), 80 ml (1/3 cup) and 60 ml (1/4 cup). I used here a regular tablespoon and teaspoon.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand until a sticky dough has formed. Transfer to a floured surface and gradually add more flour until the dough stops sticking (about 3/4 cup). Depending on the quality of the flour, you may or may not need this extra amount. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes elastic. Form a ball, lightly coat it with oil and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (I kept it near the heater).
Transfer the ball to your working surface and cut it into quarters. Divide the quarters into 4 equal parts.
Cut again each piece into 4, so you get 64 in total (some turned out bigger so I cut them in half and ended up with more than 64). Gently knead the pieces with your fingers just a little bit to shape them into balls.
- 125 g butter
- 3/4 cup muscovado sugar (muscovado is the dark, moist, strong-flavoured sugar; the first time I made this recipe I used light brown sugar and the caramel was also great, just not as deep)
- 3/4 cup unrefined caster sugar
- 1 Tb cinnamon powder (preferably Ceylon)
- 1 cup pecan halves
Melt the butter in a small pot and pour it in a bowl.
In another bowl mix the sugars and cinnamon with your fingers or a fork until well combined.
Butter your casserole dish and sprinkle some of the sugar mixture around.
Dip each dough ball in melted butter and toss it in the sugar mixture. Place the balls in the casserole, alternating with pecan halves.
If you're using a wider dish than mine (22cm), you should get 2 layers. I made 3. If you have any sugar and butter left, add them on top. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place to rise for 40-50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden-brown and the caramel looks thick. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes until the caramel stops bubbling, then turn onto a serving plate. Leave for 10 minutes to cool down a bit and serve. Since it's called monkey bread make sure you eat with your hands:)
Bake & Shake mentions that it can be prepared in advance and baked the following day, please click the link above for instructions.
The pecans turned out so crunchy and delicious with all that caramel around them.
Enjoy and spread the magic:)
A lot of time, effort and passion goes into each recipe I post. My greatest satisfaction comes from your feedback. If you made this recipe, then please take a minute of your time to leave me a comment. And if you like it, please share it so that others have access to it as well. Thank you all in advance!