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.
This recipe makes what is essentially two loaves of bread. The last time I made this I got only a few pieces before Jan’s students devoured it. Jan’s friends are coming for the quilt show, so I thought I would make it again to go with my chicken Madeira. I also decided to boost the savory this time.
Karl’s Savory Monkey Bread II
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
3-4 cups flour
2 clove garlic, mashed
2 Tbs. fresh oregano, minced
3 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 the 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 five minutes on a well floured board.
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. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
15. One ball at a time, roll dough out to about 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, moon and stars, dinosaurs—but no diamonds. I finally chose an oval cutter.
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: My mother would get about three layers. my pieces were smaller and I had five layers.
Note: The mold should not be more than ¾ full.
19. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
20. Bake at 400° for about 25 minutes.
21. Turn bread out of the mold while still warm and place on a wire rack.
22. Set the wire rack on a cookie sheet and baked the inverted bread for 5-10 more minutes to get a deep brown crust all over.
Tip: Handle the bread carefully. Sometimes some of the bread bits, especially near the large end, will come loose.
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.