I’m on a baking kick.
No longer terrified of baking with yeast, I’m having fun experimenting with more and more bread recipes.
I also do not own a stand mixer or any other type of electric mixing devise (except a blender which I need to return to my father) and just use my hands to make the breads. This weekend, I stopped by the Occupy Fargo bridge protest and shared some bread at the following community potluck. The Fargo winds were freezing and I was grateful for the crock pot full of homemade chili and equally warm hospitality.
I recreated a recipe for Savory Monkey Bread
from the blog One Perfect Bite. The beautiful thing about this type of pull-apart bread is that you really can’t hurt it. The bread is supposed to look lumpy and bumpy so don’t worry if your dough pieces are perfectly equal or if the topping is sprinkled unevenly. I baked two loaves in two different types of pans; A bundt pan and a small, glass rectangle baking dish. Almost any pan will do.
At first taste, I worried that the topping tasted overly salty. Although I might use less topping than the recipe recommended or reduce the amount of garlic salt, the topping did not taste too salty when eating the finished product. In a future version, I would possible knead cheddar cheese and the nuts into the bread dough itself.
I used dried thyme and basil because that’s what I had in my cupboard, but use any spices you like.
3-4 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of raw sugar or honey
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 package of active dry yeast (or quick rise)
1 1/4 cups of skim milk
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 Tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (more finely grated cheese will coat the bread better)
1 Tablespoon of chopped walnuts or whatever you have on hand. The original recipe suggested sesame seeds.
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
To Make the Bread:
Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the yeast, sugar, and salt.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk, 2 Tablespoons of butter, and olive oil until the butter melts and the liquid is warm but not hot or boiling.
Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until moist but still lumpy.
Mix in one egg. Add enough flour so that the mixture begins to form a dough and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Then, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin to knead. Keep adding flour until it forms a dough that can be kneaded and becomes more elastic and less sticky. Knead for about 6 minutes.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and oil the exposed surfaces of the dough so it doesn’t dry out. Then, cover the bowl and place in a warm place such as on top of a preheating oven. Let the dough rise for about an hour or until doubled in size (as in the picture below).
While the dough rises, make the topping by mixing the Parmesan cheese, paprika, garlic salt, and dried herbs together.
Grease your pan with oil or butter, melting the rest to brush your dough.
When the dough is finished rising, punch down the dough.
Roll it onto a floured surface, shape into a rectangle, and cut in half. Keep cutting each piece in half until you get 32 pieces of dough. It’s OK if they aren’t even.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball.
Sprinkle the bottom of a greased pan with the cheese topping. Place half of the dough balls on top of the mixture. Then, brush/sprinkle/drizzle with melted butter and add more topping.
Repeat this process with the second half of your dough balls and topping.
Cover the pan, and let the dough balls rise for another 30-minutes. Then, bake for about a half hour or until golden brown or until finished.
Cool and let finish cooling on a wire rack (or not).