Monday, November 26, 2012

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread 4 Monkey Bread 3

It is Bread Week on Natural Cooking Club! Time to put your favorite bread recipe into action, knead and rise, bake and celebrate this humble food ever exists!

I love bread for its everything. Versatility, variety, history, and ultimately the fun of making it. Just like diving, you'll find what you specifically look for. If you seek adventure, you'll find one. Whether in yeasty dough, rustic starter sourdough, or the light soda bread and baking powder biscuit, you'll get a personal different experience you hardly forget. If you seek comfort, making it was like a meditation, and nothing can beat the comfort of home-baked bread coming right out of your own kitchen. If you need to get your creative juice running, endless of possibility was laid out in front of you, creating your own version of bread that adds to the already gigantic global variety. If you seek romantic past time reminiscing, the aroma will take you there, to the time where life was simple and problems were either to make loaves now or later after the strawberries were picked.

I love Monkey Bread. I love how it looks, how fun it is to make and eat, and how the unbeatable sweet cinnamon bursts in your mouth, covers your fingers to lick clean. I even love the name! For this Monkey Bread, I used my favorite Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread. Seriously, you can use any bread recipe you like, even biscuits, which I actually plan to make one with. The "monkey" is the shaping process. You ball the dough, dip it into melted butter, throw it in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat, arrange in a pan. You can add nuts or raisins to the cinnamon, add honey to the melted butter, anything you fancy. You can even fill the ball first before dipping and coating, i'm thinking.. cheese cream?

That's it. When you turn it out of the pan onto a plate, you get a beautiful mounded pull-out breads. 
Shiny, gooey, rustic. There, you get your monkey :)

Monkey Bread 2

Whole Wheat Monkey Bread
Original recipe by King Arthur Flour
Modified by Riana, tweaked to fit Indonesian climate and all

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup powdered milk --> didn't have any, so I used cornmeal
1/4 cup honey
1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (use the greater amount in a dry climate; the lesser amount in a humid climate)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt


1 ½ cups palm sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg --> didn't have any, I used cloves
A handful of toasted sunflower seeds and rye flakes, or any nuts and or raisins (optional)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Monkey Bread in the Making


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, milk, honey and water. Stir until the dough form a ball. Add oil and salt, stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. 
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. I did everything using electric mixer, from stirring to kneading. This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a plastic wrap or dampened kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise till puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
  4. Grease a bundt pan with vegetable oil.
  5. Turn the dough onto a well-floured cutting board and knead 10-15 times. Roll out the dough to a ¾ inch thickness. Using a scrapper or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1-inch by 1-inch squares or smaller. Roll each square into a ball and set aside. 
  6. In a small bowl, combine the palm sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nuts or raisins if using. Set aside. Take each dough ball and dip it first into the butter and then into the sugar mixture until well-coated. Arrange the balls in the bundt cake pan, keeping them as evenly layered as possible. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, let is rise a little bit more, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven at 180 degree celsius.

    Monkey Bread in the pan
  8. Slide the bundt cake pan into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the dough has fully risen and browned all over. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.
  9. Carefully flip the pan onto a serving plate and serve immediately.
Monkey Bread 1

Now, to the grand question: why is it called "monkey"?

I've googled around and the answers came up were either hilarious or made me scratch my head. There's one answer though, or maybe a guess, that makes enough sense:
Monkey Bread is also known as Hungarian coffee cake, pinch-me-cake, bubble loaf, and golden crown. There is a certain origin for the name monkey bread. Some believe that when you eat you pick at it in pieces which resemble the behavior of the monkey.
(Samantha Ohler on
As for me, monkey means fun, alive and kicking! Rock and roll! Now, eat!


Unknown said...

looks like hungarian bread..and it's apparently the same with monkey bread..

TRIVA said...

Riana,salam kenal aku penggemar makanan enak.Riana aku ga bisa bahasa inggris jadi amat kesulitan menterjemahkan resepnya,kalau pakai google translate ga bener jadinya,tolong dong yang terjemahan Indonesianya.Terimakasih .

SpringRolls said...

Mbak Riaaaannnaaaa...aku juga sukaa monkey bread ini! Dulu di Aust sering bikin dari biscuit dough..sampe Jakarta sering bikin from a scratch. Best eaten hot pake kopi.

Riana Ambarsari said...

Trivaaa, oh betapa..
Ini sama kayak bikin roti biasa, hanya nyetaknya aja yang beda. Bulet-buletin,gulingkan di mentega cair, terus di gula palem, masukkan ke dalam loyang. Google translate memang gak sempurna, tapi mudah ditebak kok terjemahan resepnya. Ya, ya, ya?