Friday, October 19, 2012

Monkey Bread

I’m a little bit homesick.  Homesick for Charleston.  Homesick for teaching. Homesick for working with dough on an almost daily basis. Homesick for the amazing monkey bread we made out of leftover croissant and danish dough in my Laminated Doughs class.

Although I’m headed to Charleston in a short time to work for the always amazing Helene Dujardin & Clare Barboza while they teach two fabulous workshops, I still needed some monkey bread now!  This has been a week filled with Murphy’s Law moments and sometimes the only remedy is baking.  Eating those baked items doesn’t hurt either.   

I seriously considered making & laminated a batch of croissant dough, just to make it into monkey bread, but my lack of butter & a perpetually hot apartment stopped me.  That, and remembering how much Murphy’s Law loves me lately....  Instead, I turned to one of my favorite baking textbooks for a sweet yeast dough recipe. I made enough dough to fill 1 regular bunt pan & 4 mini bundts with monkey bread.

Yeast dough (or biscuit dough, if you’re short on time), cinnamon sugar & butter are really all you need to make monkey bread, but like I said, I’ve been spoiled on monkey bread made with croissant dough....  I upped the wow factor on my version by pouring a brown sugar/butter syrup over the dough before it had it’s final proof and baking time.  And I didn’t feel like the mini monkey breads received quite enough of the syrup, so I added a brown sugar glaze as well.

Even though this baking adventure required me to wash all the dishes in the bathtub because my sink has unexpectedly started leaking water everywhere, the process and finished product have helped squelch that Charleston homesickness. For the time being :)

Sweet Dough
(adapted from Advanced Bread & Pastry)
7.5 oz Water
0.7g oz Dry Active Yeast
0.95 oz Powdered Milk
15 oz Bread Flour, plus additional for dusting
3 oz Cake Flour
3.75 oz Granulated Sugar
0.3 oz Fine Grain Sea Salt
2 ea Eggs
5.65 oz Unsalted butter, softened 

 Heat the water to 115 F.  Pour the yeast into the warm water.  Stir to combine and completely dissolve the yeast  Let sit for a few minutes while you scale your remaining ingredients.

Add the yeast/water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.  Lightly stir the powdered milk into the liquid.  Add the remaining ingredients, in the order they are listed, to the mixing bowl.

Turn the mixer on to low speed (speed 2, if you’re using a KitchenAid mixer) and mix for 3 minutes.  Scrape the sides well.  Turn the mixer up to medium speed (speed 4, if you’re using a KitchenAid mixer) and mix for 2 additional minutes.  Scrape again.  The dough will be quite sticky.

Liberally dust your work surface with bread flour.  Transfer the dough from the mixer bowl to the floured work surface.  Knead slightly & round into a tight, wrinkle-free, ball.

Place the rounded dough into a large bowl that has been greased with non-stick spray.  Cover the bowl with plastic and allow to sit in a warm place for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, re-flour your workspace.  Gently pat the dough out into a rectangular shape.  Give the dough a “stretch and fold,” meaning fold the dough in thirds horizontally, then rotate it & fold it in thirds again.  If you’ve never done a stretch and fold, this video is a great resources for the technique!
Place the dough back into the bowl, re-cover it & allow it to rise for 45 more minutes.
After the second 45 minute time, repeat the stretch and fold technique.  Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it & place it into the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.

7 oz Granulated Sugar
1 to 2 Tbl Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional) 
4 oz Butter
1/4 c Brown Sugar 

When the dough is nearly finished chilling, prepare the cinnamon sugar by whisking, in a medium sized bowl, the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and the optional pumpkin pie spice.

Lightly flour your workspace again, just enough to barely keep the dough from sticking. Pat out the dough into a rectangular shape.  Use a bench cutter/knife/pizza wheel/kitchen sheers to cut the dough into long strips. Cut the strips into small pieces, about the size of marbles.  Toss the small pieces of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Once the pieces are well coated, add them to a sprayed, non-stick pan(s).  Fill the pan only about 3/4 of the way.  Remember, things with yeast in them grow!  I used a regular bundt pan (filled with approximately 25 oz of dough), as well as 4 mini bundt pans (filled with 4.25 oz of dough in each cavity).

In a heavy duty sauce pan, heat the butter and brown sugar until the butter has melted & the sugar dissolves. spoon 2 tablespoons of the syrup over the mini budts & pour the remaining syrup over the larger bundt pan.

Cover the pans & allow to rise for 45 minutes, or until the monkey bread has nearly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the pans on a larger sheet pan (just in case there are any drips) and bake in the preheated oven until the bread is done.  The small ones took approximately 20 minutes and the larger one took 30 to 35 minutes.  To tell when the monkey bread is done, gently tap the top surface.  If it stays firm and the tapping sound is hollow, the bread is done.

Cool slightly and remove from the pans.  Glaze, if desired, while the monkey bread is still a little warm.

Optional Glaze 
Adapted from Food52

2 oz Butter
1/2 c  Packed Light Brown Sugar
1/3 c  Almond Milk (or substitute heavy cream.... I just was out at the time!)
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
3/4 c  Confectioners Sugar, sifted

In a heavy sauce pan, combine the butter, brown sugar, almond milk.  Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils.  Boil for 1 minute & remove from the heat.

Whisk in the sifted confectioners sugar.

Pour the warm glaze over the warm monkey bread.  Let the glaze set slightly before serving.

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