This Christmas I made my first ever Monkey Bread from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s recipe… And it was awesome! Monkey bread is a fantastic special-day breakfast, as you can make it up the night before, and leave it in the fridge overnight for a slow rise, only to pop it in the oven the next morning for a fantastic breakfast. I decided to make a little twist on Mel’s recipe and share it with you, because if you didn’t think Monkey Bread could get any better… it can…
My twist? Inside each little ball of dough, there is a blueberry or two ready to burst with juice and flavor in the oven.
While I am a huge fan of making monkey bread (or any bread) from scratch, if you would like to take the shortcut and use canned biscuits, here is Pillsbury’s recipe… you can intersperse the blueberries between the biscuit pieces for something similar to my Blueberry Monkey Bread, but you won’t have the delicious surprise of blueberries baked inside of each piece… or the amazing revelation of freshly baked bread (trust me, this bread is hard to mess up, so it’s a great place to start making your own bread!).
While a stand mixer can make everything easier for you, you can also make it by hand in a bowl (just check out the bottom of Mel’s recipe for directions).
The best part of monkey bread? Eating with your hands. I like to serve mine in a big pie plate to minimize the mess… Just bring the plate over to the table for a tasty communal breakfast or dessert!
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (one packet's worth)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pint of fresh blueberries (frozen can be substituted)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, milk, water, sugar and yeast. Set aside to let the yeast proof (bubble up) while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour and salt.
Once the yeast has bubbled up for a few minutes, slowly pour it into the bowl of the stand mixer with the dough hook rotating on low.
After it looks like the liquid is all incorporated, turn off the mixer and with a sturdy spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom, to incorporate any stray clumps of dry flour.
Next, knead the dough in the mixer on medium for 3-5 minutes, so that the dough becomes supple and springy. It may be rather wet (and sticky)... The dough will be pretty loose and sticky, but if it seems far too wet to deal with, you can add flour slowly, a tablespoon at a time, until it holds together better.
Next I find it easiest to coat a very large bowl (VERY large... large enough for your dough to double) with Pam for baking (alternately you could butter and dust the bowl with flour), and turn the dough out into the bowl, covering it with a damp kitchen towel and allowing it to rise either on the counter for 2 hours or in a warm oven for half the time (see my method in my Cottage Cheese & Dill Bread Recipe ).
Once the dough has doubled, lightly flour your countertop, and coat a bundt pan with Pam for baking (or with butter and flour). Also melt the butter in a small bowl and mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a second bowl for your topping.
Turn the dough out onto your floured countertop, gently stretching it into a large square, about 8 inches on all sides. Quick note here: if you left your dough very wet, this next step will be a little difficult, in which case, just do the best you can & don't worry so much.. it'll still be delicious.
Use a dough scraper to cut into the dough at 1 inch intervals so that you end up with a grid of 8x8 (leaving you with 64 cute little squares of dough).
Take the dough one square at a time, and wrap a blueberry or two up in the dough, sealing with your fingertips it so they don't fall out.
Dip the dough ball into the melted butter, and then roll it around in the sugar and cinnamon mixture, then drop the ball into the prepared bundt pan. Continue coating each ball of blueberry-filled dough, haphazardly adding them to the bunt pan (you don't want them to be lined up too neatly on top of each other, they'll be bake better if they're covering up each row's seams).
Once you've used up all the dough, you have a choice: you can finish it today (in which case you'll can cover the pan with a damp towel to let the dough rise on the counter until it is a few inches from the top of the pan) OR you can cover tightly with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to rise overnight (just pull it out of the fridge an hour or two before moving on to the next step so that your dough comes to room temperature on the counter).
Bake the pan in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the top of the pan is brown and bubbling.
Allow the monkey bread to cool slightly in the warm pan on the counter - only about 3 to 5 minutes... If you wait longer, you'll have an awful time trying to get the sticky bread out of the pan.
Turn the bread out of the pan, onto a cooling rack, and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and milk with a fork until completely blended with no lumps.
Once the bread has cooled, I put mine in a large pie plate and then pour the glaze over the bread. You can serve it warm then, or once it has cooled completely, cover it tightly with aluminum foil to leave on the kitchen counter to eat at your leisure over the next couple days. I find it tastes even better on Day 2.
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