Bread Machine Monkey Bread, inspired by Helen Corbitt, is a made-from-scratch pull-apart yeast bread without the usual cinnamon and sugar coating.
No bread machine? No worries! Instructions for mixing by hand or with a stand mixer are included in the notes at the end of the recipe.
How can you resist so much buttery goodness?
As you can see, this is not the usual biscuits-out-of-a-can-rolled-in-a-ball-then-coated-with-cinnamon-and-sugar kind of monkey bread. Oh no!
You don’t have to roll any little balls. This version is not cinnamon-sugary sweet, although you could easily modify the recipe if desired.
This recipe is probably the favorite bread recipe (along with Cheesy-Crusted Yeast Rolls) in my family–especially with the grandkids.
Before children, I worked at The Greenhouse, a luxury health spa back then with connections to Neiman Marcus. Ms. Helen Corbitt, a celebrated chef at the time, had planned all of our menus using her recipes. That’s where I learned about this beautiful and buttery, brioche-like bread.
The original recipe was published in Helen Corbitt Cooks for Company back in 1957. Of course, Ms. Corbitt did not have access to a bread machine, but I’m pretty sure she would be thrilled to see how much easier it is mixed and kneaded with a bread machine.
Why should I check the dough after the bread machine starts?
A bread machine doesn’t have a brain. Sometimes you need to help it out. But don’t worry. It’s not hard to open the lid and have a look.
Suppose you forget to add all the flour. Or maybe you were in a hurry and didn’t measure the flour correctly. Perhaps you are experiencing high humidity or you are substituting a different flour than called for in the recipe.
Your bread machine will keep on mixing without regard to any of these issues. Keep reading…
Open the bread machine lid
After the machine has been on about 10-15 minutes, open the lid and check the progress. Several things might be going on you will want to remedy immediately.
When the dough is too wet
You may have forgotten part of the flour. Maybe you counted the cups wrong. I’ve done that.
Perhaps you substituted a different flour, i.e. whole wheat, bleached, or bread flour for the unbleached flour. It makes a difference! Add flour one tablespoon at a time until it looks like the bottom picture.
When the dough is too dry
Does it beat against the side of the pan rather loudly? You may have added too much flour or not enough liquid.
Maybe you used a smaller egg than specified or perhaps you miss-measured the flour. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks like the bottom picture.
What will the dough look like when it’s perfect?
The perfect dough will gather up into a ball that sticks slightly to the sides, then pulls away. That being said, there may be slight variations among recipes, for example, my Bread Machine Ciabatta. But the recipe will usually tell you what to expect.
Another reason to open the lid
One more good reason to check your bread is to ensure you have pushed the pan down tightly so the kneading blade is engaged. Otherwise, absolutely nothing will be happening in your pan even though you hear the bread machine running. Likewise, the same thing happens if you forgot to put the blade in the pan.
How to roll out dough for Bread Machine Monkey Bread:
Please ignore the condition of this pan. It’s seen a lot of monkey bread in its time.
Serving Bread Machine Monkey Bread:
If you serve this on a buffet to people who don’t know about it, they often won’t touch it, thinking it is a dessert or some kind of cake. But once somebody pulls off the first piece, it’s “Katie, bar the door!” because it will be disappearing in a flash.
More posts about making bread in a bread machine:
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If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.
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- 1 c. warm milk
- 1 1/4 t. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup butter (half of an 8 oz. stick), softened + additional 1/4 cup butter for dipping dough before adding to pan
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 cups (360 grams) unbleached flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
- Dump all ingredients into bread machine in order listed. Select dough cycle and start.
- Check dough about 15 minutes into the mixing process. It should stick to the side and pull away cleanly. If it is too sticky, add extra flour one tablespoon at a time. If it is too dry, add water or milk one tablespoon at a time until it sticks to side, then pulls away.
- At the end of the dough cycle, remove bread to floured surface. Roll or press till about 3/4 inch thick. No need to get the ruler. Preciseness is unimportant at this point.
- Slice dough into approximately 1-inch diamonds or squares. I do not roll in balls. It's part of the tradition. In fact, I use a pizza cutter.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter. Dip each piece in butter and layer rather haphazardly but evenly into a nonstick bundt pan. Cover and let rise until double.
- Bake at 375˚F for 30 minutes or until golden brown and/or temperature registers 190˚F. Cover with foil after 10 minutes to keep top from over browning. If not as brown as you would like, remove the foil for last few minutes. This burns easily on top, so watch carefully.
- Turn out onto a serving plate. Serve uncut and let people pull off what they want.
Alternate Mixing Instructions:
Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
- To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
- If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
- Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it'll get there.
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Spring Chef Cooling Rack - Baking Rack - Heavy Duty, 100% Stainless Steel, Oven Safe, 12 x 17 Inches Fits Half Sheet Cookie Pan
OXO 11214800 Good Grips 11 Pound Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display,Black,1.2
Polder Safe-Serve Instant Read Kitchen Thermometer with Torch, Red
AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Bowl Scraper/Chopper
OXO Measuring Cup Set 4 pcs of Stainless Steel, 9.39 x 9.91 x 21.59 cm, Silver
Prepworks by Progressive Magnetic Measuring Spoons, Set of 5
Fleischmann's Yeast for Bread Machines, 4-ounce Jars (Pack of 1)
Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker, 2 lb. loaf of Bread, Stainless Steel/Black
Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Anniversary Bundt Pan
King Arthur Flour All-Purpose Flour, 10 Pound
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g