Monday, March 14, 2011

Baking with Kids: Monkey Bread

Last week I posted a recipe for white sandwich bread. It was very good, but not very exciting.
So Annie and I were "monkeying around" and made that dough into something sweet and delicious - monkey bread. The dough was just finishing the first rise when she came home from school. We broke the dough into little balls, and dipped them in melted butter, and then cinnamon sugar...

...then dropped the buttery, sugary, cinnamony balls in a loaf pan and let them rise for a while.

The whole house smelled wonderful as they were baking. I couldn't even get a picture before we all started digging into the pan. They were gone in record time.

Wanna bite?

Monkey Bread
from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet

For the dough:
¼ cup warm water (110 to 115F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast, or 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm whole milk (110 to 115F)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt

For the cinnamon-sugar coating:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

Place the water, sugar, and yeast in the small bowl and whisk to blend. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, or until the yeast is activated and foamy. In the medium bowl, whisk together the warm milk and melted butter.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix briefly to blend. Add the yeast mixture and milk mixture and mix on medium speed just until the dough comes together, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cotton towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes to allow it to fully hydrate before further kneading. Turn the speed to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is firm, elastic, and smooth, 3 to 6 minutes. Finish by kneading by hand for another minute or two.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or tub and coat the surface of the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cotton towel and let the dough rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes (longer if the room is cold).

After 45 minutes, leave the dough covered, and start working on the cinnamon- sugar coating. Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave. Allow to cool until still liquid, but not too hot for little fingers to dip in. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Lightly butter a loaf pan.

After the dough has doubled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press down the dough firmly to expel some of the air bubbles, but don’t knead the dough again or it will be too springy and difficult to shape (if this happens, simply cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cotton towel and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to give the gluten some time to relax.) Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle and using a bench scraper, cut the dough into small pieces about the size of cherries.

Dip the dough pieces in the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Place the pieces side by side in the loaf pan. Fill the whole bottom layer evenly, and then move onto the next layer, arranging the pieces the same way, until all of the dough has been used up. Press down lightly on the top, and then cover the pan with the damp towel. Let the dough proof (or rise) for another 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. When the dough is ready, uncover the dough, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and instant-read thermometer registers 200 degrees.

Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. When cool enough to handle, turn monkey bread out onto a dish or serving platter. (We just ate the pieces right out of the pan.)


  1. Wow again! Looks very delicious. I like yeast dough with cinnamon and sugar a lot. I've just tried something similar and it was also gone in no time.

  2. WHAT???? I think you just "kidi-fied" the cinnamon rolls I've been yearning to make.....

  3. treatgirl - You could probably use the same method with store bought frozen bread dough if you weren't into making the dough from scratch. I bet Cubby would love to help!

  4. Anything with cinnamon and sugar....! Yum

  5. I love monkey bread. What a fun idea to do with the kids. Have you ever made these simple Overnight Caramel Pecan Rolls? Your kids would have fun making these the night before and then popping them in the oven the next morning. Plus they're delicious!

  6. My kids love monkey bread! Mine is always raw in the center when I try to make it though :(

  7. ok - I have noted the name of the spa - was not planning on returning to Barbados anytime soon...
    kids baking



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