Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

So, the current wife gave me another fantastic baking book: Irvin Lin's Marbled, Swirled and Layered. I know the author from his blog and from reading some of his great recipes. The book is filled with all sorts of baked goods that are calling me by the second. I just want to bake one, have the wife eat it and then bake the next. 

My book collection keeps growing and growing and I love it. Many people tells me that cooking books are outdated thanks to the internet, but they are wrong -they are wrong because I disagree, just to start with-. There is nothing like a good book in your hands when you are looking for a recipe and more so when you are cooking or baking. The internet is a great source no doubt but...the books are warm, human...eventually they are stained, dirty and used...they have proven their worth. So... books yes, internet ...yes if you know the website (like this one). Oh...I can tell you stories of recipes that look great on the web and when you do them they just fail. A book at least can be good fuel for my fireplace if is no good.

In any event, this recipe was on my radar thanks to Thekitchn from Apartment Therapy Co. which has amazing recipes and is quite accurate. The combo between Thekitchn and Irvin's book is what gives birth to this recipe. Honestly I barely did any adjustments as it works as a charm.
I have made white bread many many times (who doesn't love white bread?) and the name of the bread was known to me by the current wife as it happens that is one of her favorites in the whole planet.

So...the Monkey Bread was baked (three and a half hours) and consumed (two days...wow). Now with a happier wife and being close to Christmas...well...this might be my lucky Christmas and might get some love. Who knows.... 

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

Baking Time: 45 Minutes    Prep . Time 3 hours   Makes 10 servings


2 Lb White bread dough (recipe in this recipe!)

1 large Granny Smith apple (at least 8 ounces)

3/4 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Cup packed light or dark brown sugar

2 Tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 Tsp kosher salt

1 1/4 sticks Unsalted butter, melted but still warm

All-purpose flour, as needed

Baking Instructions

Basic White Bread Recipe (make this first)

Makes 2 loaves or use 2/3 for this recipe


2 Tsp active-dry yeast (1 packet)

1 Cup (8 oz) warm (not hot!) water

1 Tsp sugar

2 Tbsp (1 oz) unsalted butter

1 Cup (8 oz) milk

2 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp salt

5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups (24 3/4 ounces - 29 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

Baking Instructions
1. Make sure the water is warm to the touch, it should be warm not hot, otherwise you will ruin the yeast.

2. Pour the water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top (I mix it) and add one teaspoon of sugar. Let this stand for 10 minutes in a warm place -I use the inside of the oven with the light on-. The mix will be ready when it has increased in size and looks bubbly.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the milk, sugar, and salt.

4. Pour 1 cup of flour and the milk mixture over the yeast. Stir until this comes together into a loose, lumpy batter.

5. Add another 4 1/2 cups of flour, reserving the remaining cup if the dough is sticky during kneading. Stir until a floury, shaggy dough is formed.

6. Using the dough hook attachment on a standing mixer, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes.

7. If the dough is bubble-gum sticky against the sides of the bowl or the counter, add extra flour a tablespoon at a time until it is no longer sticky. The dough is kneaded when it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked.

8. Clean out the mixing bowl and film it with a little oil. Form the dough into a ball and turn it in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm spot (inside the oven with the light on) until doubled in bulk, about one hour and a half.

9. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and turn the dough out on top. Divide the dough in three. We will use only two of the three parts, the other you can freeze for white bread buns for another day.

10. Let the remaining ball rest for 10 minutes (the other one cover in plastic and freeze)

Baking Instructions for the Monkey Bread

1. Peel, halve, and core the apple. Cut it into 1/2-inch dice. You will need 60 apple pieces. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl. 

3. Take 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture, sprinkle it on the apples, and toss to coat; set the spiced apples and remaining sugar mixture aside. 

4. Place the melted butter in a wide, shallow bowl. Brush the sides and tube of a 12-cup Bundt pan with a thin layer of the butter; set the pan and remaining butter aside. 

5. Divide the bread dough into 6 equal pieces. Rolling it between on a work surface, roll each piece into a 10-inch-long rope. Using a knife or metal bench scraper, cut each rope into 10 pieces. You should now have 60 small pieces of dough; cover loosely with plastic wrap.

6. Press 1 piece of apple into a piece of dough, wrap it completely in the dough, and roll it into a ball. Clean your fingers each time so the dough stays sticky and each ball closes otherwise it won’t close the balls! 

7. Return the dough ball to the work surface and repeat  until all the dough pieces are filled with apple.

8. Working with 6 dough balls at a time (softly put together 6 small balls into a larger one), roll them into the butter to coat, then roll them in the sugar mixture to coat. Rewarm the butter as needed if it cools down and starts to congeal; warm butter makes a thinner coating.

9. Place the sugared dough balls into the prepared pan, layering them over any spaces as you go. (Don't worry about being too precise.) Repeat with the remaining dough. The pan should be about half full.

10. Drizzle the remaining butter over the monkey bread and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture. This will turn into a caramel over the monkey bread.

11. Cover the pan loosely with the plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place (again…the oven with light on) until puffed and risen to about 1 inch from the top of the pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

12. About 20 minutes before the bread is fully risen, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.

13. Uncover the monkey bread and bake until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Place  the pan on a wire cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. (Do not cool any longer or the caramel will harden and stick to the pan.)

14. Invert a cake stand or serving platter over the Bundt pan. Holding onto the platter and the pan at the same time (use oven mitts or a towel — it's hot!), flip it over. 

15. Remove the Bundt pan (you may need to use a fork or knife to pry the pan up to lift it off). Let cool at least 15 minutes more before serving warm. Warm is just fantastic!

16. Enjoy!   

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