Prep1 hr 15 mins
This is a wonderful recipe to do with children. I have done with kids as young as 3 and as old as 9. This is also a good recipe for anyone who is intimidated by yeast breads. The recipe originated with Jane Zukin's Dairy-Free Cookbook, which helped me not panic when we figured out that my daughter is severely allergic to milk protein. Monkey Bread is somewhat traditional in the South. It is called Monkey Bread because you eat it like monkeys - tearing off chunks to eat.
- Heat the water to between 105 and 115 degrees F.
- If working with kids, explain that this temperature will wake up the yeast but not kill it.
- Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl.
- Stir in the sugar, oil, salt and egg.
- Stir in 1 cup of flour until smooth.
- This is officially known as a"sponge" since it does not have all the flour of the final dough.
- Cover with a dishcloth and set in a warm place (over a bowl of warm water, in a slightly warm oven, in the microwave beside a cup of warm water, etc.).
- Let rise for 15 minutes. NOTE: If the sponge is not bubbly and increased in volume, either the yeast was bad, the water was too hot, or the water was too cold). THROW IT AWAY - it will not make palatable bread! If you are sure that the water was the correct temperature (and you did not set the bowl to rise in a hot oven (smile)) get some new yeast.
- This is useful time for cleanup and setting up for kneading.
- Grease a square 9 inch pan.
- If you want to make monkey bread, use a ring pan or a bundt pan and do not grease it.
- Stir down the sponge (ooh and aah over how much it has grown first!) and add 1 1/2 cups flour.
- Blend until well mixed.
- Turn out onto a floured surface.
- Knead 3 minutes adding flour if the dough is sticky.
- If using the square pan, divide the dough into 16 pieces (good math exercise!), and shape quickly into balls.
- If making monkey bread, divide the dough into 32 pieces (more math) and shape quickly into balls.
- For the square pan, arrange the balls in the pan and smear tops with softened margarine.
- For the monkey bread, roll each ball in melted margarine before arranging the balls in the ring or bundt pan.
- Cover the pan with the dishcloth and set back in the warm place (described above).
- Let rise for 25 minutes (depending on the timing with kids, I have been successful with as little as 20 minutes and as long as 30.) Preheat oven to 425°F (move the pan first if that is where the dough is rising, of course).
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown.
- Remove from pan to a rack or plate to cool.
- To make them even better (and more fattening), brush the tops with melted butter.
- If you made monkey bread, eat the bread like a monkey by pulling off chunks.
- The monkey bread is also excellent if you roll each dough ball in cinnamon sugar after rolling in margarine and before placing in the pan.
- This makes a good breakfast bread.