Monkey Bread

Serves 1



total time


1 cup milk warmed to about 110 degrees

1/3 cup orange juice warmed to about 110 degrees

1/4 cup Sugar

1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons) , 9 tablespoons melted and 3 tablespoons softened to grease the pan

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package dry active yeast

31/3 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for work surface


Canola oil to grease bowl

1 cup light brown sugar packed

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


In large measuring cup, mix the milk, orange juice, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, vanilla, and yeast, and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, by hand in a large bowl or using a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly add the yeast-milk mixture, stopping as necessary to scrape sides of bowl. Once the dough forms, mix until smooth and cohesive, about 5 minutes. Lightly flour a work surface, turn out the dough, knead briefly, and form a ball. Grease a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and roll to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until dough roughly doubles in size, about 1¼ hours.

Meanwhile, generously grease a nonstick Bundt pan with the softened butter, and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Place the remaining 7 tablespoons melted butter in a large bowl. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently pat it into a 10-by-10-inch square. With a knife, cut the square into quarters. Cover three of the sections loosely with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Cut the remaining section into 16 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, pinch it in half, roll each half into a ball, and place the balls in the melted butter. Using a fork, lift the pieces out of the butter, then place them in the brown sugar mixture, and shake to coat. With another fork, transfer the coated dough balls to the prepared pan. Repeat the process with the remaining dough quarters. Once all the dough balls have been added, sprinkle on any remaining brown sugar mixture and melted butter. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until dough roughly doubles in size, about 1¼ hours.

Set oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the pan and bake the bread until the top is browned and the sides pull away from the pan, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for just 3 or 4 minutes. Carefully loosen the bread with a thin, flexible spatula. Using oven mitts, hold a plate over the pan and invert the bread onto the plate. Remove the pan and transfer any stuck bread pieces to the loaf. Cool for about 10 minutes longer, and serve warm.


Follow the recipe for Monkey Bread, making the following changes:

1) After assembling the dough balls in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2) About 1 hour before baking the bread, heat the oven to 180 degrees, turn it off, and leave door open for about 1 minute to allow some heat to escape. Set the covered pan in the warm oven, door closed, until dough balls puff, about 1 hour. Remove from oven.

3) Bake as directed.


If you don’t know about Monkey Bread, you’re in for a treat. Think of it as cinnamon rolls crossed with doughnut holes baked in a loaf. You eat the bread “monkey style,” pulling separate bits off with your fingers and popping them into your mouth. While certainly not a speedy undertaking, this is a case when many hands will make light (and convivial) work – rolling the dough into little balls and dipping them in melted butter and spiced brown sugar is a fun project to share with kids and with friends and family gathered for the holidays.

Many recipes are based on store-bought tube biscuits, which is certainly faster than waiting for the dough to rise. My quicker variation uses a simple homemade biscuit dough instead. I’ve also included a variation in which the second rise takes place overnight in the fridge, making it easier to serve fresh-from-the-oven monkey bread for breakfast.

Serves 1



total time
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