This has probably been the most … insane baking experience I’ve had to date.
I made this bread 3 times in 4 days. Seriously. It is amazing. Even before it bakes the smell of cinnamon sugar makes your mouth water … and then while it’s baking the smell that emanates from your oven just makes you want to drool. Oh yeah … and then you actually get to eat it. It’s best eaten warm. Right out of the oven. But I can attest to the fact that it is still FAN-TASTIC at room temperature.
Everyone … welcome to recipe 3 of baked sunday mornings. May I present to you Monkey Bread. The baking god’s gift to instant yeast and dough. I do not lie. Sigh.
So three times in almost as many days. You must be wondering right? Well … the recipe is pretty simple. Except. Yes … there is an exception. I killed the yeast.
Attempt number one. Thursday night. I heated my milk and whisked in the instant yeast. I was sure I had it … after all, I pulled out my thermometer and checked the temperature.
I should have just used my finger and tested the milk that way. Sigh. When I finished mixing and kneading everything together my dough was stiff and didn’t rise. At all. I even kept it in my oven overnight. Nothing.
Attempt number two. Friday night (yes. I make bread on a Friday night… please don’t judge me). This time I tested the milk with my finger. Yeast survived! YAY! The kneading of the dough went well … I ended up with a silky and sticky (not tacky) dough. I let it rise for just over an hour.
It was a thing of beauty.
Step two. Pull apart the dough into many balls. Many balls.
I didn’t get the 60 balls that the recipe book baked explorations dictated I would get – but I got 42. A decent amount. Especially after the first failed experience. I was pleased.
Step three. I dipped the balls in melted butter. Greasy fingers. Happy fingers.
I then rolled them in a brown sugar – cinnamon mixture. Happy nose. A very happy nose.
And Finally I started layering them in my bundt pan. A beautiful brick house of dough balls.
Step four. Cover the bundt pan with plastic wrap and allow to double in size again. Perfect. I decided to leave it for the night and bake it on Saturday morning. Done.
Saturday morning. I wake up at 6:20 am to preheat my oven to 350 F. I place my bundt pan in the middle rack and jump in the shower.
I smell the smoke.
I quickly checked my oven and (duh!), my bundt pan has a removable base and so the caramel (from the cinnamon sugar mixture and butter) is dripping and touching the element within the oven. No problem. Quick fix – place a cookie sheet on the rack below. It’ll catch the drippings.
I picked my flat cookie sheet. Not one with a lip. It didn’t catch anything. And so … more smoke. Only this time. FIRE!
Seriously. With 18 minutes to go – I have a fire in my oven. At 7 am on a Saturday morning. Oh goodness … please don’t let the fire alarm go off!
I turn off my oven, pull out the bundt pan (I have to save the monkey bread after all), and pour baking soda on the flame. Close the oven door and wait.
15 minutes later I turn my oven back on. Place the bundt pan on a cookie sheet (with a lip), and continue to bake the bread.
This bread was worth that drama. And it taught me that I have a real problem. My first thought when I saw the flame wasn’t for my safety … but rather how I was going to save my bread. This could be a problem.
After the success (I brought the monkey bread to a holiday party) – I decided to bake it again. 3rd time – 4 days. Obsessed much. Totally.
This time I went mini. As in mini balls in mini bundt pans.
Adorable. Heck yes. Just as delicious. AB- Solutely.
Worth trying and making today? Oh my. Need you really ask? I mean … I fought through fire to make this. So worth it.