October 25, 2014

monkey bread

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As a teenager I absolutely dreaded the mornings, preferring to sleep my day away if given half the chance but since becoming a mum, I have grown accustomed to rising early and have actually come to relish that time between dawn and when the kids eyelids finally flutter open.  It’s often the only solitude I will get on any given day before donning my mothers hat.  My little ritual used to include making a pot of tea and taking it outside to listen to the birds chorus while the sun rose, these days I’m hitting the gym at 5 am in a bid to get fit and healthy and lose the last of this ‘five pregnancy’ weight. 

The other advantage of rising with the birds is that it gives me ample time to make bread.  Such as this monkey bread that I threw together before I skedaddled to the gym on Saturday morning.  I’d not heard of monkey bread before last year some time and when I did my attention was piqued.  I really have no idea where the name originated but on biting into my first ball of sweet, cinnamony, donutty bread, I was sold!  After that very first initiation I think I made a dozen batches in so many weeks…hello hips!!!  These days I don’t make this bread as often, which suits me fine seeing as I can’t eat it, but when I do the smell is absolutely intoxicating and I kick myself at being gluten intolerant.

Monkey bread – serves at least 6
(recipe adapted slightly from The Tart Tart)

30 butter
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups flour
80 g melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp cinnamon

Place the first measure of butter, milk, water and sugar into a small pot and heat gently over a low heat until the butter has melted and the liquids are luke warm.  Stir in the yeast and set aside 5 minutes till frothy.  Meanwhile, measure the flour into a large bowl and add the salt.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a knife/wooden spoon until it comes together like a dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and glossy.  Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with gladwrap and leave in a warm spot till it’s risen to double the size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, melt the second measure of butter and place in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon till well combined.  Grease a loaf tin well making sure to get into the corners.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and divide evenly into roughly 50 pieces.  Dip each dough ball into the melted butter then coat in the brown sugar mix and place into the loaf tin, layering as you go.

Cover the loaf tin with gladwrap and leave to rise for 30-40 minutes.  You want the bread to rise again slightly.  Preheat oven 170°.  Once the bread has risen bake for 40-50 minutes until golden.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

- we are spice freaks so add lots of cinnamon, you can reduce the amount to suit your tastes
- bread is best eaten on the day it is made and definitely while still warm
- the original recipe calls for a glaze, we found this much too rich for our liking but feel free to add it to yours
- I’ve added chopped walnuts, raisins and some mixed spice to my flour mix before adding the wet ingredients…it takes this bread to a whole new level!!

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