A popular American treat, monkey bread's origins lie in Hungarian cuisine – it's called monkey bread because you eat it by pulling it apart with your hands. Small balls of dough are placed together and baked in a bundt pan. It's typically a sweet treat with each dough ball tossed in cinnamon sugar before baking. This would be a great recipe for kids to get involved in. If you're pressed for time, use a good store-bought pizza dough instead of making the dough yourself.
400g "00" flour
½ tsp honey
2g instant yeast
7g salt dissolved in 1 tbsp water
20g diced mozzarella or other melting cheese
50g melted butter or olive oil
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tbsp picked and chopped thyme leaves
salt and pepper
1. Place the flour, 240ml of water, honey and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix on low speed until the mixture comes together into a ball. Turn machine off and cover bowl with a damp towel and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes add the salt water and mix for four minutes. Let the dough rest with the machine off for four minutes and then knead again on low speed for another four minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, shape in a rough ball and place in a bowl wrapped in cling film or a lidded plastic container. Allow to ferment in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
3. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutesbefore dumping it onto a lightly floured bench top.
4. Divide the dough into 24 small pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place one cube of diced mozzarella inside half of the dough balls, pressing the cheese in and wrapping the dough around it so it looks just like the other pieces and is a bit of a surprise when you get one with melted cheese in it.
5. Spread half of the melted butter on the base of the bundt pan and sprinkle half the parmesan, half the thyme and a good sprinkle of salt on the buttered base. Begin placing the dough balls around the base. They should be loosely touching and not squashed in so they have room to expand while proving.
6. Add a second layer by brushing a bit more oil or butter over the dough balls, sprinkle with more parmesan and salt and pepper then add the remaining dough balls on top. Finish by brushing on the last of the butter or oil, parmesan, thyme and a add bit more salt and pepper. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place in your kitchen for 30 minutes or one hour depending on the temperature of the room.
7. While the dough is proving, preheat oven to 220C. Place the bundt pan in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the bread looks golden and puffed. Remove from the oven.
8. Invert the bundt to remove the bread and place on a serving platter. Serve immediately.
Serve with my cauliflower cheese soup.
Find more of Danielle Alvarez's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.