How to Make Chai-Spiced Monkey Bread
Today: Invite some friends over for brunch. Make lots of coffee. Make this Monkey Bread. Make sure you eat it with your hands.
I like food that’s casual, a bit messy, and fun to eat with your hands — and monkey bread just happens to fit perfectly into all of these categories.
If you’ve never had the pleasure, monkey bread is a sweet bread made of little balls of yeasted dough rolled in butter and spiced sugar, then baked in a bundt pan. The result is a sticky, delicious pull-apart loaf that is perfect for enjoying over a loung-y weekend brunch with lots of good coffee and lots of friends.
Many monkey bread recipes use canned biscuits as a base, and while I appreciate a kitchen shortcut every once in a while, this is not the place to take one. For this version I made a simple, enriched yeast dough with a bit of whole grain goodness, then rolled the balls in a heady blend of chai spices (although plain old cinnamon would do the job just fine) and baked the whole thing until it was caramelized and gooey. Make sure to serve this bread warm and fresh the day it’s baked. For maximum enjoyment, eat it with your hands.
4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, divided
1 cup milk, warmed to 110º F
1/3 cup water, warmed to 110º F
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one envelope)
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or spelt flour
2 teaspoons salt
Use 2 tablespoons of the softened butter to generously grease a 10-inch bundt pan. Use your fingers to ensure that butter gets into every nook and cranny of the pan.
Combine the warm milk, water, sugar, and active dry yeast in a small bowl. Let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.