Monkey bread first appeared in the United States in the 1950’s but the origins of the name are unclear. I particularly like one interpretation: the act of several people pulling apart the bread resembles monkey behavior.
One thing is certain, however. This gooey cinnamon pull-apart bread is yummy! My family describes it as a whole pan of the insides of cinnamon rolls (our favorite part!). It is sure to be a favorite of kids and adults alike.
You can make it with frozen white bread dough, as the original Cooking Light recipe calls for, or make the basic white bread dough recipe that I have included. I make the bread dough the night before so that all I have to do in the morning is assemble and bake the cinnamon bread.
- 1 batch of Basic White Bread Dough (recipe below) or 2 loaves frozen white bread dough
- 1¼ cups sugar, divided
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1¾ tsp cinnamon, divided
- 4 - 4½ cups flour
- 4½ tsp dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Mix 2 cups flour and the yeast.
- Add the water, oil, sugar and salt.
- Beat on low for ½ minute and then on high for three minutes.
- Stir in the remaining flour until a moderately stiff dough forms.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl, greased side up.
- Cover the bowl and let it rise for 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and divide it into half, letting it rest for 10 minutes.
- To make the monkey bread, combine 1 cup sugar, brown sugar, milk, butter and 1¼ tsp cinnamon in a small saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it for 1 minute.
- Remove it from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Combine ¼ cup sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
- Cut each loaf of bread dough into 24 equal portions.
- Roll each portion into the cinnamon sugar mixture and layer the balls of dough in a greased 12-cup Bundt or Angel Food Cake pan.
- Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the layers.
- Then pour the cooled sugar syrup over the dough.
- Cover the pan and let it rise for 35 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
- Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Immediately loosen the edges of bread from the pan using a knife.
- Place a plate over the top of the pan and carefully invert the bread onto the plate.
- TIP: If you are making the bread dough a day in advance, place the covered dough in the refrigerator after the first rising of 1½ hours.
- The following day, let the dough come to room temperature prior to forming it into the balls.
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, April 1997.
Purchase the 1997 compilation of Cooking Light’s recipes: Cooking Light : Annual Recipes 1997 (Serial)
Subscribe to Cooking Light: Cooking Light (1-year auto-renewal)