Before I left home for the first time, I sat down with my mother’s recipe box and wrote down my favorite dishes. Her monkey bread is one of those recipes. While it was good, and has a fond place in my memory, I still had to change it.
With five kids, my mother was always on a tight budget. Real butter was a rare thing in our household. I am making chicken avgolemono and I decided that I wanted a savory bread to go with it.
The original recipe called for a 10 inch ring mold, this is a Angel Food Cake pan. When you have laid out all of the buttered bits of dough it will be about half full. After an hour of rising time it will be completely full.
After Dinner Note: This recipe makes what is essentially two loaves of bread. We had four guests, three of us and a one year old. The one year old and I got maybe 6 pieces between us. The others managed to polish off the remaining ~54 pieces in less than two hours.
Karl’s Savory Monkey Bread
1½ tsp. active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup milk
½ lb. butter, separate uses
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 Tbs. fresh oregano, minced
1 Tbs. fresh chives, snipped
1. Dissolve yeast in the water and stir in the sugar.
2. Scald the milk in a medium pot.
3. Add a ¼ cup of butter and let it melt in the cooling milk.
4. When the milk is lukewarm, whisk in the eggs, salt and yeast mixture.
5. Sift about 3½ cups of flour into a large bowl.
6. Make a well in the flour and stir in the milk mixture.
Note: There should be enough flour and milk to make a soft dough.
7. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a well floured board.
Note: You will need at least another ½ cup of flour.
8. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a smooth damp cloth.
9. Set the dough in a warm spot and let it rise for one hour.
10. Melt the remaining butter in a shallow pan and stir in the garlic.
11. Cook the garlic for one minute and remove the pan from the heat.
12. Butter a 10 inch ring mold.
13. When the butter has cooled slightly stir in the herbs.
14. punch doen the dough and divide it into two balls.
15. One ball at a time, roll dough out to about a ⅓ of an inch thick.
16. Cut the dough sheet with a floured 3 inch diamond-shaped cookie cutter.
Note: I have dozens of cookie cutters—Christmas trees and snow flakes, moon and stars, dinosaurs—but no diamonds. I finally chose an oval cutter and it worked fine.
17. Dip each piece of dough in the herb butter and lay them in the ring mold.
Tip: My mother had an overlapping pattern. I alternated laying the pieces out like spokes for one layer and around the circle for the next layer.
18. Continue rolling out and cutting until all of the dough is in the ring mold.
Tip: Gather the scraps of dough together, knead them together, and continue rolling and cutting until you do not have enough for another piece.
Note: My mother would get about three layers. my pieces were smaller and I had five layers. The mold should not be more than ¾ full.
19. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
20. Bake at 400° for about 35 minutes.
21. Turn bread out of the mold while still warm.
Tip: When I turned the bread out the surfaces that were in contact with the pan were pale. I set the bread pale side up on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and baked the loaf for five more minutes to get a deep brown crust all over.
Note: My mother would separate the bread into pieces with two forks. I prefer to present the unbroken loaf for the dinners to tear apart.