Monkey bread (aka sticky bread, pull-apart bread, bubble loaf) is undeniably fun to eat. It consists of lots of tiny balls of dough rolled in sugar that are piled into a bundt pan, drowned in butter and brown sugar, and baked until sticky and golden. You turn the whole thing out onto a platter and have at it, pulling off pieces of the dough as you go.
Makes: 8 servings
Time: 3 1/2 hours
1 1/2 sticks butter, plus more for greasing
1 recipe Rich Golden Bread dough (see below)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1. Grease a bundt pan with a little butter. Once the dough has completed its first rise, turn it out onto the counter and cut or tear it into small pieces roughly 1 inch in diameter. Put the granulated sugar in a large shallow bowl or baking dish. Roll the dough pieces into round balls and toss them to coat in the sugar. Put them in the prepared pan, stacking them on top of one another, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until the dough roughly doubles in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
2. Heat the oven to 350°F. When the dough balls have risen, put the butter and brown sugar in a small sauce- pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and combines with the butter, 3 or 4 minutes. Pour this mixture evenly over the dough.
3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough is deeply browned on top. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then invert it onto a platter and serve warm or cool completely.
RICH GOLDEN BREAD DOUGH
3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast 2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
About 1 cup milk, lukewarm
1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and cold butter in a food processor. Pulse the machine on and off until the butter is evenly distributed in the flour but not completely blended in. Add the eggs and pulse a few more times.
2. With the machine running, slowly add 3/4 cup of the milk through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more milk if necessary, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is too dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk and process for another 10 seconds. In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.
3. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it a bit by hand. Form a smooth, round dough ball, put it in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. (You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, for up to 6 or 8 hours, in the refrigerator. At this point, you may also wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month; thaw in a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature.)
SPICED MONKEY BREAD
Add any combination you like of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, or ginger to the granulated sugar in Step 1.
NUTTY MONKEY BREAD
Chop 1 cup pecans or walnuts and scatter them into the pan as you’re adding the dough balls. For an especially decadent version, you could do the same with some chopped chocolate.