I remember the first time I experienced Monkey Bread–I was eight years old and at a very wealthy girl’s tenth birthday party. I expected an extravagant cake, so when this lumpy pile of balls approached the table with 1 measly little candle on it, I was taken aback. I asked, “What the hell is that?” “We don’t say hell in this house Miss Dia,” my friend’s mother whispered, “It’s Monkey Bread!” “WHAT?!?!” I screamed, “There are monkeys in this bread?” “Ha ha ha ha, no dear, it’s just called Monkey Bread,” the mother explained. “Why????” “Time to blow out the candles!!!” Needless to say I was ignored. My point is, I don’t know why it is called Monkey Bread–even Wikipedia doesn’t know:
The origin of the term monkey bread is uncertain. Possible etymologies include that the bread resembles the monkey puzzle tree,  or the act of several people pulling at the bread is reminiscent of monkey behavior.
Regardless of where this cakey treat got its name, the sloppy sticky bread balls are fantastic! I have been meaning to bake this for a while now, and finally got around to it early this morning. Making Monkey Bread from scratch is not exactly quick, but if you have the patience and the energy, you will love the outcome.
I decided to do a Gluten Free/Vegan version–I’m vegan and am on a gluten free diet.
For the Dough
2 tablespoons vegan spread , softened, plus 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup warm rice milk
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup caster sugar
3 tsp instant yeast
3 1/4 cups Gluten Free flour
2 teaspoons table salt
For the Brown Sugar Coating
2 cups soft dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons vegan spread, melted
Preheat oven to 95° Celsius(check out the new converter on the right)
Once the oven is heated, turn off again.
Grease a bundt pan with the 2 tablespoons of softened vegan spread
For the Dough:
In a bowl, mix together the yeast, water, milk, caster sugar and melted vegan spread. Set aside.
In a large bowl pour in the gluten free flour and salt.
Mix together and then form a well.
Slowly pour in the milk/yeast/sugar mixture into the well, while stirring with a wooden spoon.
Stir until dough becomes firm and difficult to move.
Take dough and place on a lightly gluten free floured surface.
Kneed with hands for approximately 15 minutes. The more air you get into the dough, the better.
Shape into a nice big dough ball.
Take the big dough ball and place it in an oven friendly dish, and cover with tin foil.
Place this dish in the preheated, but turned off oven, and let it sit inside for 1 hour.
This will help the dough to rise more quickly.
While the dough is rising start making the brown sugar mix.
For the Sugar Coating:
Take out two bowls. In one put the soft dark brown sugar and cinnamon.
In the other put the melted butter.
Set both aside.
To Form the Bread:
After the hour is up, remove the giant dough ball from the oven ready dish.
Replace this dough back onto the lightly gluten free floured surface.
Roll out the dough to an 8 inch square.
Slice the square into four sections.
Take each of the four sections and slice them into tiny squares.
For my Monkey Bread, I made around 45 tiny squares.
Roll each tiny square into a little dough ball.
When all the balls are rolled, dip them into the melted vegan spread, and then into the brown sugar bowl.
Ball by ball, layer inside bundt pan. Stagger seams in new rows.
Cover the bundt pan with tin foil.
Preheat oven to 175° Celsius
Place bundt pan inside oven for 35 minutes.
When finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Please do not forget to let bundt pan cool, we don’t want your Monkey Bread to fall apart.
After the pan has cooled, turn over the Monkey Bread onto a plate.
You can either drizzle fondate icing over the top, or dust the Monkey Bread with icing sugar.
I decided to do both. I know, sugar overload!!
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