Preview: This bread machine Monkey Bread is a scratch recipe you can mix and knead in a bread machine. Make it sweet or savory. So buttery and soft–kids go crazy for it! 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.
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 pull-apart monkey bread. Oh, no!
No little balls to roll. Cut dough pieces quickly with a pizza cutter. Drag the dough through a bowl of butter on its way to the pan. (I don’t normally coat the pieces with cinnamon and sugar, but you can. See the variation below.) You’re going to love it!
It’s hard to resist so much buttery goodness.
This recipe is one of the favorite bread recipes (along with Cheesy-Crusted Yeast Rolls) in my family–especially with the grandkids. Don’t miss the traditional sweet monkey bread version below.
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. 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.
How I converted this old traditional recipe for a bread machine:
This recipe was published in the 70’s and was probably written even earlier. I converted it to mix in a bread machine and match my preferences. Here’s a list of the changes I made:
- First, I looked at the flour. I knew it would fit into my bread machine so I wouldn’t have to scale it down drastically.
- Flour for bread recipes does not need to be sifted. Cross that out. I also wanted to go with 3 cups of flour (360 grams) because it’s easier to remember.
- Eggs add tenderness and flavor. Added one. Reduced milk by 2 tablespoons because of the added egg.
- Sugar is not crucial like flour, liquid, and salt. These are savory rolls. I go back and forth between 3 and 4 tablespoons depending on my mood.
- The general rule for salt is 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour, so I increased it to 1-½ teaspoons. You could reduce it to a teaspoon without much harm but don’t leave it out entirely.
- The directions for the butter were not clear in the recipe. I divided the butter in half–1/4 cup for the dough and the other half to dip the rolls in before baking. Instead of melted butter, I add room-temperature butter whenever adding it to bread.
- Instant yeast is my go-to with all bread doughs. I don’t keep active-dry yeast in the house. 2 teaspoons is a good place to start with 3 cups of flour.
Why 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. Peeking at the dough after the machine has been kneading for a few minutes will give you a chance to make adjustments.
1. 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.
1. 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.
2. If the dough is too wet:
Your dough is too wet if it looks like pancake batter. It’s also too wet if the dough sticks to the side but won’t pull away.
Add flour one tablespoon at a time until it looks like the bottom picture.
3. When the dough is too dry:
Your dough is too dry if it doesn’t stick to the side at all. If it stays in a ball and spins around on top of the paddle, it’s too dry.
Add 1 tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks like the bottom picture.
4. Another reason to open the lid
Another reason to check your bread is to ensure you have pushed the pan down tightly so the kneading blade is engaged. Otherwise, nothing will be happening in your pan even though you hear the bread machine running. The same thing happens if you forgot to put the blade in the pan.
How to mix, knead, and bake in a bread maker:
Baking bread in your machine doesn’t mean you are limited to ugly and weirdly-shaped loaves. Yes, the final product will still be in the general shape of the bread machine pan, but the top will be different depending on how you shape it.
If you are willing and able, pull the dough out of the bread machine before the last rise. Remove the paddles and shape the dough by hand. Place the dough back into the machine.
This is a good way to make this recipe if you don’t have an oven. However, the crust will be darker, thicker, and less tender than if you bake your bread in a conventional oven using the method shown below.
How to roll out the dough for savory bread machine Monkey Bread:
I use this method when I use the bread machine on the DOUGH cycle. Baking this bread in a conventional oven makes the best crust and a beautiful golden loaf in a bundt pan.
Serving bread maker 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.
Cinnamon-sugar Monkey Bread variation:
After dipping the dough pieces in butter, coat them with mixture of 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon mixed together. Arrange pieces randomly in a bundt pan. Let rise until almost double. Bake as directed.
More posts for Monkey Bread Lovers:
Did you enjoy this recipe? You can help others (and me) by leaving a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. No comment required. Thank you.
Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. Questions? Email me: paula at saladinajar.com.
- 3/4 c. + 1 tablespoon warm milk (195 gr)
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons sugar (39)
- 1/4 cup butter (57 gr) (half of an 8 oz. stick), softened + additional 1/4 cup (57 gr) butter for dipping dough before adding to the baking pan
- 3 cups (360 grams) unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
- Dump all ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed. Select the 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 the side, then pulls away.
- At the end of the dough cycle, remove bread to a floured surface. Roll or press until 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 the dough into 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 the top from over-browning. If not as brown as you would like, remove the foil for the 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.
See directions in the post if you want to bake this bread in your bread machine.
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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OXO Measuring Cup Set 4 pcs of Stainless Steel, 9.39 x 9.91 x 21.59 cm, Silver
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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
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g