Thursday, June 08, 2006

Monkey Bread

I've been meaning to make this for a while - it had my attention with it's photo. It's certainly unique looking and the methodology a bit different. From what I can gather this is a North American bread and even the cookbook (Family Circle "Essential Breads and Buns") didn't know the origin of the name. So, it was onto google.

According to "The Food Timeline" it's a recipe from the 1950's and was also known as Bubble Bread. Some say the name relates to it's appearance and the resemblance to a monkey tree, others relate it back to monkeys and their pulling ability and that you need to pull at the bread.

Technically, a sweet yeast dough is made then small balls of dough are pinched off and dipped in a mix of melted butter, sugar and currants. They are then placed in layers in a tall Angel Food tin which when cooked results in this bread.

monkey bread

Monkey Bread

14g dried yeast
½ cup warm water
60g butter
1 cup milk
½ cup caster sugar
4-5 cups sifted plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

Dipping Glaze:
125g butter
90g brown sugar
½ cup currants

Mix the yeast with the warm water, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for around 5 minutes until it begins to become frothy.

In a small saucepan, add the 60g butter, milk and sugar and heat until the butter melts, the sugar dissolves and the milk is just warm. If this is too hot, you may need to set it aside to cool. Last thing you want to do is put in a liquid that's too hot and will kill the yeast.

In the bowl of your mixer add 4 cups of flour, make a well and add the yeast and beaten egg. Using a dough hook mix on low speed, while pouring in the milk/butter/sugar mixture. When this has amalgamated, begin adding the remaining flour. Stop adding flour once it forms a soft dough. You may need to use all the flour, you may even need to add extra flour, it really just depends on the flour you use.

In the mixer it's not going to form a hard dough like you would see when making a savoury bread, it's going to look soft. Take it out and place it on a floured board and knead it until it's no longer sticky. Place this dough into a lightly oil bowl and cover with plastic wrap before placing it in a warm spot to rise. You want it to double in size, this should take an hour or so.

When it's almost fully risen, make the dipping glaze.

In a small saucepan, slowly melt the butter then add the brown sugar and currants. Cook briefly before pouring this into a bowl.

You need to use a deep tin - I've used a large Angel Food Tin - brush the base and sides and central column it with melted butter.

Once the dough has risen, place it on the board and just knead it very gently. Cut the dough in half (since this bread requires two layers) and then start cutting off golf-ball sized pieces of dough. This doesn't have to be a precise thing - having variance in the sizes helps to fill those gaps in the tin.

Roll each piece into a ball shape then dip into the glaze using a metal spoon. Place this ball into the base of the pan and the repeat with the remaining dough.

Once all the dough has been used and the two layers are complete, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough has risen to the top of the pan.

This is after 15 minutes...


and this is fully risen.


Preheat the oven to 190°C/370°F then bake for 10 minutes before turning the temperature to 180°C/350°F and cook for another 30-35 minutes. If you think the top is colouring too much then cover with foil.

It's important that you place this tin on a baking tray as the butter/sugar mix can seep out.

Test with a skewer to make sure the lower levels are cooked through - when cooked, let it sit in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Remove the tin and if there's any caramel in the tin using a spatula, just smear it over the top of the bread. Then replace the tin over the bread to make sure it stays in shape while it cools down some more.


To serve, either slice or just pull apart...



  1. Thanks Cin - the trouble is in trying to stop pulling it apart, it is quite moreish!

  2. I am from Victoria too. My take on it is that it is made from scone dough which is called biscuit dough, and put in a bundt pan, which of course an angel food cake pan is.

  3. Hi Anon - that scone and biscuit dough gets confusing, even more confusing when people offer you biscuits and they give you a scone !

  4. Yay! Been looking for this recipie for ages! Can't wait to make it and try with a scone mixture as well.

  5. Hi CJ - don't know how it will turn out using a scone mix, I certainly would encourage you to make the recipe as written for the best result.

  6. Hi! Love that you have this recipe on here! I have made a more savoury "monkey bread" which was just glazed in butter. I saw it on a cooking show. It was delicious! The show said that it was called monkey bread because you pick pieces off the loaf like a monkey... don't know if that is the true meaning of the name or not?


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