I don’t know why I can’t just do one thing at a time. Perhaps it’s directly resultant from my hectic last few years and my need to be efficient, maybe it’s because I have so many new ideas that I want to try out in the kitchen and, thus, compilation facilitates this experimentation, or it could just be because I’m a maniac. All three premises are plausible…

I have been wanting to make monkey bread for a while. I keep happening upon new recipes for this interesting bread, and I couldn’t seem to make up my mind as to whether I wanted to go the savory or the sweet route. Not one to be paralyzed by indecisiveness, I forged ahead and decided that I would do both in one culinary adventure. Fabulous. But the insanity didn’t stop there…

I couldn’t decide what flavour-profile I wanted to test out. Another roadblock? No. I urged the foxes along, and tallyhoed my way to four different flavour combinations: two savoury and two sweet. Excellent.

Now, for the dough…I needed something that was going to work for all four breads…many people use premade, find-it-in-the-refrigerator-section-at-your-supermarket, dough, but that’s just not my style. After a quick search, I found a recipe which I adapted to suit my needs. In my mind, with a few changes, it would work, and it did.

For those of you who aren’t well-versed in the world of monkey bread, it’s essentially a bread which is built up from several little rounds of dough which are, individually, rolled around in a bit of butter, often tossed in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, and then thrown into the loaf pan/bundt pan/muffin tin, and then baked. It’s a fun thing to eat because you can pull it apart as you go and enjoy the little balls of delicious, flavoured, bread.

I went with the muffin tin to facilitate the creation of several different flavours all at once. Oh, and to take things up another notch, I stuffed each individual ball of dough with something delicious before tossing it in the pan. Time-consuming? Absolutely. Fun? Yes. Delicious? Ohh, my. Yes.

You can use this dough to create your own monkey-bread masterpieces. Think of something yummy to put inside, perhaps something to roll it in that will compliment its innards, and have fun with it.

My only suggestion (based on today’s experience), is that you shouldn’t try to stuff the cavity/ies of your pan(s) too full. Mine got a little bit rambunctious and unruly.

Monkey Bread

Adapted from Sprinkled with Flour

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter + 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, combined, in which to roll the balls of dough
Directions

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook (or simply in a large bowl), combine the water, sugar, and yeast and let it stand for about 10 minutes, until frothy. Turn on your mixer and stir in the oil, sour cream, and egg.

2. With the mixer working (or using your elbow grease), add the all purpose flour, 1/2 cup of the whole wheat flour, the salt, and the baking soda until combined.

3. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and continue kneading until a smooth, soft dough forms (7-8 minutes).

4. Place the dough in a large, lightly greased, mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan, then flour the cups and tap out the excess. I made only 8, but they got a bit out of control…divide your dough among the 12.

6. In a small bowl, pour the melted butter and the extra virgin olive oil.

7. Gently punch down the dough to deflate it. Form it into a long cylinder and divide it into 12 equal portions. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, divide each of the 12 portions into 4-5 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball.

8. If you are going to stuff your dough balls, flatten each into a thin disk, put a modest amount of filling on each round and carefully pinch it closed into a ball.

9. Dip each of your balls into the melted butter-olive oil mixture, roll it in your seasoning of choice, and then place 4-5 balls into each of the muffin tin cavities.

10. Loosely cover the buns with plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm place until they’re puffy and double in size, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F.

11. Bake the buns on the center rack until golden, about 20-22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for a few minutes before trying to wrestle them out of the pan. If needed, you can use a knife to release them from the pan. Place the buns on the wire rack.

My flavours:

1. Chocolate & sweetened, vanilla-scented, cream cheese; rolled in cocoa powder

2. Peanut butter & cherry jam; rolled in cinnamon sugar

3. Herb cream cheese (thinned out slightly with sour cream) & chopped parsley, dill, and scallions; rolled in additional chopped fresh herbs

4. Chopped (cooked) broccoli, corn, & sharp cheddar cheese; rolled in extra cheddar

These both make for a delicious snack, the savoury ones would be lovely alongside a soup, and the sweet ones would make a tasty post-dinner dessert.

What are your flavour brain-children?

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