It has been a great Sunday so far. We laid in bed until almost 8 o'clock, just enjoying the chance to sleep in. Chris made us French toast with the Yeasted Pumpkin Bread I made the other day and it was even better than I expected. Plus, we still have one loaf of the bread left which I will use later this week for bread pudding. I got my taxes done and will even get a return. And we have done our normal Sunday routine of laundry and catching up on some basic chores, which may sound boring to some, but it's a routine I like quite a lot.
Oh... and I made Monkey Bread! I was very excited about the Monkey Bread and I am very glad I made it. I was watching Food Network yesterday and Alton Brown made an overnight Monkey Bread which looked great. I didn't bother to prep anything last night though, so I looked for a recipe this morning and found one on Baking Bites. It seems that a lot of people use pre-packaged buttermilk biscuit dough to make a quick Monkey Bread, that's pretty ridiculous considering how easy it is to make from scratch (and I'm sure it's much better too.)
So, what is Monkey Bread you might ask? It doesn't actually involve bananas at all. In fact, the only reason people seem to call it Monkey Bread is because you roll the dough into balls which means in the finished product you pull chunks of it off and eat it with your fingers. So you make a very basic yeast bread base (mine involved buttermilk and a little sugar) and let it rise. Then you divide it into pieces (16 in this case), roll the pieces into balls, dip each ball into melted butter, then into a sugar mix, and plop them into a baking pan (9x5 inch pan for this recipe.) Simple.
I actually added cinnamon to my sugar mix which I think added a lot to it. It is amazingly good. The sugar/butter combo makes a caramel glaze on the bottom of the bread which is chewy, sweet, sticky. The sugar on top of the bread is slightly chewy and slightly crispy. All of it is yummy. Soft bread surrounded by a cinnamon, sugar, caramel crust.
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 package)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warm (110F)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup melted butter (or warm milk)
1 cup brown sugar and white sugar, mixed
In a large bowl, combine yeast and buttermilk. Let stand for about five minutes, then add 1/4 cup sugar, salt and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Mix well and add remaining flour a tablespoonful at a time until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lighlty greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Place melted butter into a small bowl and put the sugar mixture into a fairly shallow bowl.
Turn risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate. Divide into about 16 pieces (a few more or less is ok) about the size of golf balls. Roll each one gently into a ball. Dip each ball into melted butter (or warm milk) and generously coat in sugar. Add more sugar to the mix if you run low at any point. Put dough into pan and repeat with each ball, stacking them up as necessary. Sprinkle a tablespoon ot two of extra sugar on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes, or until the dough just barely reaches the top of the pan.
Preheat oven to 375F.