Friday, June 11, 2010

Will it grow a tail?

Yes, well. That's a good question. *WILL* it grow a tail? It may or may not. It's kind of unsure and not known. What is known is that it is sweet and delicious.


What is this all about? Well, this is about something called monkey bread. Monkey bread tends to be made with biscuit dough which is rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar and then baked. When it comes out, it is "gooey" and sweet. It's very simple to make. The more difficult one to make is one that is completely from scratch. That's how I do things. I searched for a recipe and found one through google which seemed like it will work very well. (The site can be found here.) With a bit of improv because I kind of didn't have some things I made my own edited version which came out to be completely perfect. 

I was first introduced to monkey bread from our end of the year ballroom social at the club at my school. People made food and one person made monkey bread. I immediately fell in love with it even though at first I was very uneasy about trying it.
People say that it is best eaten when it is warm and still gooey, but I think that it's delicious cold.

Let's talk about improvisations:

Improvs can be made when you use ingredients that are close enough substitutes. I had run out of regular flour so I chose to use our special half course flour. The half course flour isn't too different from regular flour (it has a similar texture to the flour called Wondra), so it wasn't that much of a problem. Also, for the most part I didn't measure anything, just eyed it. Also for the cinnamon sugar coating, I didn't follow the recipe on the site exactly. I had some left over cinnamon sugar from baking muffins and so I used that and made a mixture, you'll see it in the recipe.

Monkey bread is also usually baked in a bundt pan, but I chose to go with a heart shaped pan for a little change and a fun shape.

Let's get those ingredients together:
  • 1 packet (.25 oz.) of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups flour + more if necessary
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (in a small bowl)

How about those utensils:
  • microwaveable cup
  • wooden mixing spoon
  • large bowl
  • pan
  • knife
  • fork

What to do:
1. Yeast and warm water. Take your yeast and mix it in your warm water in one cup. Let it sit for 2 minutes until frothy. Transfer to the bowl.

2. Flour and everything else, almost. Add one cup of flour and the sugar, vanilla, salt, egg, butter and milk. Mix together. It will be pretty liquid-y still at this point. Try to make it at least kind of smooth.

3. Flour. Now begin to add the remaining 2 cups flour, one cup at a time. Mix it in slowly so it doesn't fly everywhere. When the dough becomes too tough to mix with the spoon, start mixing with your hands. If the dough is still super sticky add the last 1/4 of a cup. Add flour until the dough isn't sticking to the bowl when kneading. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let it proof (rest/rise) for a half hour.

4. Meanwhile... while the dough proofs, grease the pan you will be using. Use a spray, use butter, grease it however you like. Then prepare your butter bath and then in a small separate bowl mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.

5. After proof. After a half hour, the dough should be almost double in size. Remove from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Press the dough and kind of flatten it.

6. Balls of dough. Take a knife and start cutting the dough up. Roll the pieces of dough into 1/2 inch to 1 inch balls. Then dip the balls of dough into the butter bath and roll them around in there. Using a fork, lift the ball out of the butter and throw it into the cinnamon sugar. Roll it in there until covered. Then place the dough ball into your greased pan.

7. Make your life a little easier. It will be much faster if you cut up all of the dough and then roll it up into the balls. Then do all the dipping and putting into the pan.

8. Proof again. Cover the pan with the dough balls inside with plastic wrap and let it, again, proof (rise) for an hour. It will double in size. While it proofs, around the last 10 minutes, set your oven to 350ºF.

9. Bake. Place into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes.

10. Remove from pan. Place a plate over the top of the pan and flip them over simultaneously. Slowly lift the pan off the bread. You can enjoy it right away while it's warm or wait until it cools. It's delicious either way.

Whether at a ballroom social, or just at home, this monkey bread can be enjoyed whenever. It is pretty simple, even though the time it takes to make it is long because of all the proofing. It's a bit addicting, so be careful not to keep all of it to yourself and eat it all up.

Enjoy your monkey bread (furry friend bread as Joanne would call it)!

Keep eating sweetly! :)

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