Easy Yeast Rolls (Or Monkey Bread)

READY IN: 1hr 30mins
YIELD: 16 rolls




  • 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.