Difficulty: A wee bit harder
Time: 1 hour + 2 hours proving + 35 minutes baking
I’d never heard of monkey bread until recently but Hannah loves to watch J House Vlogs (a channel on You Tube) and they’ve made it a few times. It looked delicious even though I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, so when I found a recipe in an old BBC Good Food magazine I knew we were going to make it.
If, like us you’ve never heard of it, it’s like a tear and share cinnamon bun loaf. It’s truly delicious and a great centre piece for a special occasion so thank you J House Vlogs for introducing us to this tasty treat!
On paper it looks like it takes a long time to make, especially if you’re doing it with little ones. You can break it down in to a few different steps – the first one is making the dough, and the second forming the balls that make up the bread. You can also make it the day before and let the dough prove in the fridge overnight. Just bring it out the fridge 45-60 minutes before you bake it.
If you can find ready made dough (from the fridge section) you can get a head start using that.
For the dough
85g (3/8 cup) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
550g (4 1/3 cups) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2.5 tsp fast action dried yeast
50g (1/4 cup) golden caster sugar
Oil, for greasing
125g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g (1 cup) light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
For the glaze
100g (1 cup)icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
Pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Start with the dough
Melt the butter and milk in a pan
Get your child to measure the butter (85g) out and put it in a pan.
Pour the milk (200ml) out into a jug (use the ml setting of your digital scales if you have them). Add that to the butter then heat over a low/medium heat until the butter has melted and the milk is at a simmer. Take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, get your toddler to crack the eggs into a small dish and give them a quick whisk.
Add the eggs to the milk/butter mixture and give it a whisk.
Mix the dry ingredients together
Measure the flour (550g) and sugar (50g) out then add to a large bowl. If they are able to, get your little one to help measure the yeast (2.5 tsp), and add a pinch of salt into the bowl.
Make the dough
Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir until it is a sticky dough.
Leave for 5 minutes then tip out on to a lightly floured work surface. Get your children to help you knead it for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and stringy. This is a good step to get everyone involved in, even really little chefs!
We cheated a little and used our freestanding mixer, with the dough hook at to give the dough a head start for a few minutes before doing it by hand. 10 minutes of kneading feels like a long time when you are a toddler so I like to cut it short if I can.
Let the dough prove
Oil a large bowl then add your dough and leave to prove somewhere warm for around an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Assemble the monkey bread
Grease a 25cm bundt tin with butter.
Get your toddler to scatter the pecans out on a baking tray and then pop them in the oven for 5-8 minutes at 180C/160C Fan. Once they are toasted, chop them up.
While the pecans are toasting, get your child to measure out the butter and put it in a pan to melt.
Measure the sugar (225g) into a medium bowl. Add the spices (1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp nutmeg). Give it a mix.
Get your child to spoon 2 tbsp of the melted butter, 3 tbsp of the spiced sugar, and 4 tsbp of pecans into the bottom of the tin.
Pull the dough into approx 65 small pieces (we didn’t count this, we just did it roughly). Get your child to help you roll them into balls.
Take a few balls at a time, dip them into the melted butter, let the excess drain off, and then tip them into the spiced sugar. Roll them around to coat, then put them in the tin. Keep going until you have a full layer of balls in the tin.
Scatter over the remaining pecans, then carry on filling the tin with the remaining balls.
Tip any leftover sugar and butter over the dough.
Leave the monkey bread to prove
Cover the tin with oiled cling film then leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or so or until it has risen and the dough doesn’t spring back if you poke it.
At this point you can also pop the dough in the freezer for up to a month or in the fridge overnight, just let it come up to room temperature before you bake it.
Bake the monkey bread
Heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.
Bake the monkey bread for 35 minutes. It’s ready when it has risen and turned golden.
Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then give it a sharp knock on the counter to loosen it from the tin. Leave to cool in the tin until it is just warm.
Make the glaze
Mix all the glaze ingredients together (100g icing sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp milk, pinch of cinnamon, 2 tbsp melted butter). It will thicken a bit as it cools.
Turn the monkey bread out onto a plate and get your child to drizzle over the glaze and allow to set.