There are lots of monkey bread recipes out there, most used with frozen bread dough or biscuits, and they are fine. But with just a little extra effort you can have monkey bread sublime! Use your bread maker set for dough only or mix by hand and just store the dough in the fridge until you need it. Up to 5 days! The finished taste is wonderful and the texture soft and cinnamon-rolly. See the variations at the end of the recipe. Cream cheese? Nuts? Chocolate chips? This recipe is great for guests or holidays or any coffeecake time.
If you want to use the bread machine using the dough only cycle go ahead, but keep this in mind: Recipes like monkey bread and rolls, really do not need much kneading. They do not need to support a tall structure like a bread recipe does. So, while some kneading in needed, and it wont hurt it to be kneaded to the full extent of the dough only cycle, it does come out a little tougher. For more tender rolls and monkey buns, take the dough out after it looks like a nice smooth ball, about half the kneading cycle. If you are making dough ahead, keep in mind the gluten continues to develop in the fridge, as well as develop flavor, so another reason you need little kneading!
If mixing by hand, in one bowl mix your wet ingredients and in another, your dry. (sugar is considered a wet ingredient, oddly enough, so it can really go in either bowl.) Now mix them all together either with a wooden spoon or your standing mixer.
Using a dough hook you can knead for just a couple of minutes after the dough comes together. If it needs it, add a bit more flour until the dough is tacky, not too sticky. If it looks dry, sprinkle water in while mixing.
Pull dough out of mixing bowl and give it a few kneads by hand to form a nice ball of dough. Let this either rise at room temperature for 1 hour, until almost double, or put in an oiled plastic bag, such as a sandwich bag that gives room for growth, and seal it at the top with a twisty and put in the fridge until you want to make the bread. (no more than 5 days).
Now, your dough has risen or rested in the fridge and now you are ready to make your monkey buns! First get a pan ready. You can use a monkey bread pan, which is a smaller version of a coffeecake pan, or a coffeecake pan or a loaf pan. Grease the pan, whichever you use, well. I use crisco for greasing. Its just about the only thing I use it for .
Pat your dough out onto a floured counter or cutting board. I use a pizza cutter or bench scraper to slice it into strips and then across into little squares that become the monkey buns. They do not need to be tiny. I guess about 1/2" across? I dont measure, just slice. You can use a knife or just pull off balls of dough as you go.
Mix the sugars/cinnamon in one bowl and have handy. Have the melted butter in another bowl handy. Have the pan close by. Take a piece of dough, dunk in butter, roll in sugar, drop into the pan. Fill the bottom of the pan with these little balls of dough and then keep layering on top until the dough is gone. If you need more sugar, just mix some up. At the end, I pour any leftover butter over the top of the dough and sprinkle a bit more sugar over it all for good measure. Now set in warm space and let rise about 1/2 an hour or more.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350.
You will see the sugar cracking as the dough expands. When it looks puffy, put it into the oven. Depending on your pan, you might want to set it on a baking sheet to catch any monkey buns that try to jump ship! Bake until golden brown. Take out and let cool about 1 minute, then invert onto a plate or platter. Let sit 1-2 minutes before removing the pan.
Sometimes I like to put a little corn syrup into the bottom of the monkey bread pan as well as a sprinkle of the sugar mixture. It makes a bit of caramely sauce when you invert it.
-You can put chopped nuts in between the layers of dough.
-you can put a bit of cream cheese or chocolate chips in the middle of each dough. Just flatten it a little with your fingers, put in the chips and fold dough around it.
-I'm sure you can use your imagination and think of other things to go around or in the dough. Have fun!