Homemade Monkey Bread – What’s better than sweet, pull apart bread, flavored with butter and coated with cinnamon sugar? A delicious breakfast treat. This recipe can be prepared ahead or the same day. Perfect!
Every year on Christmas morning I make Homemade Monkey Bread for my family. I use the same dough I use for Perfectly Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls, separate it into little balls, dip it in butter, roll it in cinnamon sugar, then place it in a pan to create a delicious, doughy, sweet treat that can be enjoyed all morning.
I’ve made a few recipes for homemade monkey bread, but I found the results turned out dry, hard, and overly sweet; like break your teeth sweet. I tried tweaking the basic recipe but was never quite satisfied. After years of perfecting the recipe for my rolls, I figured, why not use the same dough for Homemade Monkey Bread? The dough for the rolls is made mostly with oil and a touch of butter for flavor. The oil, along with some simple dough enhancers of lemon juice and ginger, produce soft flavorful rolls that retain freshness. This makes it perfect for this recipe.
You have the option of preparing the dough the night before. This gives you a break especially on Christmas morning. Placing the dough in the refrigerator the night before slows down the rise. All you have to do the next morning is pull off a piece, dip it in butter, roll in cinnamon sugar, and place it into the bundt pan. Let the dough rise for an hour and bake.
I highly recommend using a standing mixer for making this as it makes life easier.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add the milk, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it turns foamy.
- Measure 5 cups of flour. I always weigh when I bake bread ensuring consistency. Do yourself a favor and invest in a kitchen scale to eliminate any doubt when baking. The flour should weigh 1 1/2 pounds. Mix in a teaspoon of table salt or fine salt. Usually, you are not supposed to add salt to the yeast right away because it slows down the activity of the yeast. But, for this recipe you are absolutely fine. This is optional, but I found that adding a touch of ginger allows the bread to stay fresher longer. It’s not necessary as I am sure it won’t last anyways.
- In a measuring cup, measure the oil and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This gives it a nice rise as it acts like a dough enhancer creating fluffiness. No need to buy dough enhancers when you have the knowledge to make it yourself.
- Have ready 2 eggs that are room temperature. You can warm the eggs simply by placing them in a bowl of warm water.
- Add about half of the flour mixture into the bowl with yeast. Run the mixer on medium high speed since this will have the consistency of a batter. I keep the dough hook on to mix but you can certainly use your whisk attachment. You can also mix by hand at this point with a dough whisk or spoon. Mix until it is smooth like a batter.
- Add the eggs, oil and vinegar, and butter. Beat until smooth.
- With dough hook in place, add remaining flour and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should be tacky and come away from the bowl. Do not add anymore flour. Remove dough – you may need to scrape out but don’t worry – and do a few kneads on the counter and form into a ball. Transfer dough into a bowl greased with a teaspoon of oil and coat dough ball. I use these wonderful tall lidded containers which is perfect for proofing.
At this point you can place this in the refrigerator overnight to slow rise. When I made the last batch, I made it at 3pm and let it sit in fridge overnight until 11am the next morning. It turned out fine. The beauty is you have the option of preparing this ahead of time. Now all you have to do in the morning is form, dip, coat, and bake. If you prefer not to do an overnight, then let dough rise 1 hour on the counter in a draft free area.
After the first rise…or the next morning…make the coating.
- Punch down dough to remove excess air bubbles. Pull apart pieces about the size of golfballs. Sometimes to go along quicker, I use my scraper to cut the dough into strips, then cut the strips into pieces. You should get around 48 balls.
- Dip into the butter, coat with the cinnamon sugar, then place in a greased bundt pan.
- Combine the leftover butter and sugar and drizzle over dough. Get it in between the balls and it will melt beautifully coating them when baking. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. I place the pan in the oven along with a pan of boiling water and close the oven door. The hot water creates a warm moist environment which gives the dough a little boost. There’s no need to change out the water once it is cooled. It did its job.
- After 30 minutes of rising, remove everything from the oven and set on counter to continue to rise another 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Just check after 40 minutes. You may need to go up to 45 if you see doughy spots. If only ovens were consistent! Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. I don’t make a glaze for my Homemade Monkey Bread. I feel it makes it overly sweet. I feel it’s perfect just the way it is and my family also prefers it this way.
Warning: I have made this many many times and I have never had sugar overflow while baking…UNTIL this last time I made before posting. It could have been because I let it rise too much (more than an hour) because I was taking pictures, etc. But, because it happened I want to warn you to place the bundt pan onto a baking sheet just in case. For easy clean up you can place parchment paper on the baking sheet and make sure you are using a large capacity bundt pan that holds 10 – 15 cups. If nothing happens then save for another use. Because it happened ONE TIME to me, I want to save you the trouble. Since that one time, it hasn’t happened again.
Turn out onto serving platter then eat. And eat. And eat.
Make it fun! This is a great way for the kids to help you in the kitchen. They love helping by dipping and rolling and it gets them into cooking.
Having Homemade Monkey Bread is a Christmas tradition in our house and I hope it will be passed down to the next generation. Make it your tradition. Of course, you can make it anytime and I recommend you do!
Be happy, eat well…
Bake in a 10 -15 cup capacity bundt pan.
- 1 1/4 cups of warm milk about 110 degrees
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 5 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 pounds
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger** optional
- 6 tablespoons oil vegetable or safflower
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs room temperature***
- 12 tablespoons 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
In a bowl of your standing mixer, add milk and sugar and sprinkle in the yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes while you are getting everything else ready.
Place flour in a bowl and mix with salt and ginger. Set aside.
Add about half of the flour into the bowl with the yeast mixture. Start the machine and mix on medium high speed until it's smooth like a batter. About 1 - 2 minutes.
Crack the eggs into the measuring cup with the oil and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and beat until just mixed. Add to the mixing bowl along with the softened butter and knead for about 1 - 2 minutes until smooth.
Add the remaining flour into the bowl and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but come away clean from the bowl.
Grease a bowl with about a teaspoon of oil. I use tall plastic lidded containers that are perfect for dough.
Place the dough into a greased bowl or container and cover with plastic wrap or the container lid. Let rise for 1 hour. OR...If you are making these ahead, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. It will rise slowly. Remove from refrigerator and continue with recipe.
Make the coating:
Melt the butter in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugars and set aside.
Flatten dough gently to remove excess air bubbles.
Pull apart or cut pieces of dough and roll into balls about an inch or so. I usually get 48 pieces of dough.
Dip each ball of dough into the melted butter to coat.
Roll each piece into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Make sure it's all coated.
Place in bundt pan and repeat with remaining dough. I use a nonstick bundt pan. If you don't have nonstick, grease pan with some butter first with butter or use a baking spray.
Combine remaining melted butter and sugar and pour over the top of the dough evenly. Get it in between the balls and it will melt beautifully coating them when baking.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes in a draft free place.
Towards the end of rising time (30 minutes), preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes but check after 40. It should look golden brown on top with no doughy spots.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto serving plate. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, if you can, before eating.
*This can be done a day ahead. I made this at 3pm and didn't take out of fridge until 11am next day for second rise and it was just as delicious.
**I use ginger when making my rolls to keep them fresher longer. For this recipe it's optional as they won't last long anyways!
***You can warm eggs by placing them in warm water for a few minutes.