The Return of Mouthwatering Mondays: The Monkey Bread Strikes Back

Matt's Mouthwatering Morsels on Monday (returns!!) with...

On a cold, cold January day, with my feet numb and my teeth aching, I longed to fill the boat with a) heat! and b) the aroma of freshly made bread. Upon further self-reflection, I realized that it was specifically my SWEET TOOTH that ached so. I’d been pondering a monkey bread recipe for some time, so perhaps today is the day to master it!
Zoey is interested.

I specifically made this batch to fit my Omni stovetop oven. If you aren’t familiar with the Omnia, check out their website <LINK> and this article I wrote about it last year <LINK>. If you don’t have an Omnia, or you are unlucky enough to not live on a boat and not need one, you can, of course, bake this in a regular Bundt pan or loaf pan at 350 degrees. Since this is a small recipe, it may work very well in a toaster oven.

My other requirement for this recipe was that it must not include ready-made biscuit dough. If you search the Google-net you will learn that Monkey Bread was made popular by Nancy Reagan, cooking for her favorite guests Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, using Pillsbury Grands dough from your local market. I wanted a recipe I could make in the Bahamas...so that won't do. Sorry Mark and Abe.

I made this when it was cold, so I used my largest pot with a lid on the stove to heat the following and to mix the dough. This allowed me to turn the heat on and off occasionally to maintain a nice warm yeast nursery where they could belch and reproduce in warm privacy.

If I lost you in that last paragraph, I suggest you join me for a trip down memory lane to that time when Alton Brown made pretzels:

But enough of this, back to the monkey bread! For the dough:
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup powdered milk (Nido) (alternatively, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup milk)
2 tablespoons sugar

Warmed to 110 degrees in a large pot. Add 1 package yeast and let proof 10 minutes.

1/6 cup melted butter (I melt mine in the Omni, which also lubes it!)
1 egg
pinch salt 
1 1/2 cups flour

Stir or use a mixer with a dough hook for about 3 minutes, adding more flour bit by bit to make a firm dough. You need to continue kneading for the needed 5 minutes, but you don’t need to over knead. Try bending your knees while kneading (haha). Cover and let rise 1-2 hours in a warm place or put in fridge overnight.

Grease Omnia oven, if needed. Once you are ready to assemble, make the coating by melting 1/4 stick butter on the stove. In a tray or plate, mix together about 1/2 cup sugar and 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (measurements not necessary, just eyeball it!). Break dough into small balls, roll in melted butter and then roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture. Let balls rise a little while longer once in the Omnia, if desired, for a lighter, puffier result. 
Looking good inside the Omnia.
Melt another 1/4 stick of butter on the stove, and mix in about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Once they start to sizzle and fry, add in 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir quickly, remove from heat, then spread on top of the dough.

Now bake in the Omni on the lowest setting, checking it often. When the topping is getting GBD (golden, brown and delicious) you are likely close. You can do a toothpick test or a springiness test to check to make sure the bread is cooked through. Or you can check the internal temperature, which should be about 190 degrees F.
Crunchy pecans are always the way to go.

This was a first-time experiment, so I feel pretty bold to put it out there as a recipe already! But it came out so good! I think next time I will make smaller balls of dough with more sugar and gooiness between them.

Last note: most recipes top this with a simple sugar glaze. Too much for me, but you're welcome to try it!

What do you like to bake on a cold day?

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  1. Do you have a mixer with a dough hook on board? I'm seriously impressed if you do.

    It looks delicious. When you come down to install all all of the internet/connectivity gear we need, can you bring some of the monkey bread with you? Just kidding, or am I?

    1. We have a dough hook, but its the cheap nasty one and we should have brought a real one. It is languishing in a bilge. Matt did all the kneading by hand, because we like to pretend we are on Little House on the Prairie. We don't think it's weird to heat water in a kettle to "shower" with. And yes, we are hauling water in jugs since there's always a city sewage leak here and we don't want to run the watermaker. Rant over...... If you take Matt to see the new Star Wars while knowing that its the one with the robes and not the leotards, he'd be quite happy to install your gear!


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