Monkey bread, to me, is an incredible mix of a pastry and a bread. Yes, it is a yeast brioche dough, but then there is that cinnamon-sugar glaze, which makes this already decadent brioche dough even more rich.
This is the same brioche recipe that I use in my sticky buns. What’s so mind-blowing to me is that while brioche is a type of bread, because of it’s high egg and butter content it is also a pastry. Brioche is a leavened product due to the yeast, which can be baked into burger buns and dinner rolls. The high fat and egg content is why it can also be baked into sticky buns and monkey bread because the taste of the dough is so rich. Brioche can be molded into so many different products; its versatility is what makes it fascinating, as the final product with brioche can be just a loaf to be made into French toast, or some delicious donuts, the choice is yours!
There are multiple reasons as to why I was inspired to make this baked good this week. First off, my fiancé absolutely loves monkey bread.
Secondly, we have begun rock climbing classes this past week, and the two totally relate!! Climbing. Monkeys. Monkey bread. It clearly makes sense.
And thirdly, my body has been in a whole lot of pain seeing as rock climbing requires you to use all of your strength to maneuver your body around the rock wall, and fortunately, carbohydrates are a great recovery food. Monkey bread may be stretching it in terms of "healthy carbs," but if I'm going to refuel my body with those, then it'll be with the best sort of starch--the sugary, buttery, fabulous kind!
So, whatever your reasons may be (excuses in my case!) to make monkey bread, it's well worth the 10 hours that it takes to create this masterpiece. If you want this for Sunday morning brunch, start it on Saturday night! When you wake up in the morning Sunday, you'll have minimal work to prepare the finishing touches and you'll make everyone's tummies happy, and you'll be able to impress them with a beautiful pull-apart bread!
Milk (100 degrees F)--2.3 oz, or 1/3 cup
Active Dry Yeast--0.25 oz, or 1 packet
Egg--1.75 oz, or 1 large
Flour--12 oz, or 2 cups
Put the warm milk, yeast, egg, and half (6 oz/1 cup) of the flour in the bowl of your mixer. Mix together.
Sprinkle the remaining 6 oz/1 cup of flour over the dough.
Let this sponge sit for 30-40 minutes until the top flour coating has a crack in it, meaning that the yeast is working!
Sugar--2.75 oz, or 1/3 cup
Salt--0.25 oz, or 1 tsp
Eggs--7.35 oz, or 4 large
Flour--8.65 oz, or 1 1/2 cup
Butter (room temperature)--6 oz, or 1 1/2 sticks
Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge.
Using a dough hook, mix for about 2 minutes, until everything is incorporated well.
Add the remaining half cup of flour to your dough, and then turn the mixer to medium speed for 15 minutes.
You do not want to cut this time short! This is very important in making sure that your brioche dough has the proper texture.
If your dough is not coming together after about 10 minutes, add up to 3 TBL of flour in Tablespoon increments. You want the dough to be formed into a ball, wrapped around the hook and slapping the sides of the bowl.
Now it is time to incorporate the butter, which is probably the part that almost gives me a heart attack each time!
You will want your butter to be room temperature, so it can be added more easily.
With your mixer on medium-low, add 2 tablespoons at a time. Once those are incorporated, add 2 more. Once you have added all of the butter, turn up your mixer to medium and beat for 5 minutes.
This is where the heart attack shall begin.
Do you remember about 10 minutes ago, when you had a beautifully made ball of dough, wrapped around the dough hook so perfectly? Well, now you most likely won't. The dough will be gooey, butter will be all over the place, and you'll think that something has gone terribly wrong. Luckily, that's not the case! The dough will slowly come back together. Adding flour a tablespoon at a time will do the trick, as well as scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure that the butter is actually being integrated with the rest of the dough.
Once the dough is back to its fabulous wrapped-around-the-dough-hook self, transfer it to a large, greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place a towel over it.
The first rising period will be about 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
Once it has doubled in size, deflate the dough by lifting from the bottom of the dough and pushing in.
For the second rise, re-cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for 6 hours, or overnight is okay as well. The dough will continue to rise as well as double in size again.
Now it will be ready to make into monkey bread!
Butter--6 oz, or 1 1/2 sticks
Sugar--9.5 oz, or 1 1/4 cups
Cinnamon--0.3 oz, or 1 TBL
Brown Sugar--5.65 oz, or 2/3 cup
Melt the butter.
Put the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix.
Take your dough out of the refrigerator after it has risen for 6 hours.
Put on a floured work surface and knead so that it comes to room temperature.
I like to use a scale for this step, as well as a bench scraper. Cut the dough into 1 oz pieces, or about 1" in diameter balls.
After you have finished with all of the dough, make sure each piece has been rolled into a ball before you begin coating them in the butter and cinnamon-sugar.
Prepare your bundt pan by spraying it with non-stick spray.
Roll each ball in butter, and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place in the bundt pan.
Do this until you have used all of the dough balls. The pan should be about half full.
Let the dough rise one final time, for about 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Take your remaining butter and mix it with the brown sugar. If you have used up all of the butter, melt 1/2 cup.
Pour this over the top of the dough.
When your dough is ready, put it in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. You will be able to tell that it is done when the dough has a light brown color.
You also want to make sure that there is plenty of space for the dough in the oven as it will rise a bit. Therefore, place a rack at the bottom of the oven for your monkey bread and the other at the top.
When your monkey bread is out of the oven, invert it onto a plate while it is still warm so that it will not stick to your bundt pan.
And, finally, grab a plate, pull off a few pieces, and eat!