Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Now we're baking with yeast!

You know how a few posts ago i was going on about how i don't BAKE bake, like, i have no patience for bread baking and all that? Well, turns out my curiosity has overpowered my laziness. And now I'm here to tell you that while curiosity didn't kill any cats, it definitely resulted in some meeeean monkeybread. "Monkeybread?!" i hear you fellow Australians say, what the heck is monkeybread??" Well I'm here to tell you that it is not as weird as it sounds, its more, heavenly than weird. Yes, heavenly, that is definitely the word i was looking for. I've seen lots of recipes for it on American blogs, its usually made in a big loaf, and yeah, it didn't really appeal to me, then i saw this recipe on cupcake project. How did she make me take the leap? She did two things: She changed the loaf into cupcakes (probably the same amount of work, but shh, this is not the time to point out such boring things) and she added chocolate and banana to the mix. Genius. Deliciously inspired. All resulted in something that tasted like a doughnut, but better. Well, id better stop rambling and get to the process, there were alot of different steps involved but it was fun and totally worth it, heeere we go!
First thing first: open up the yeast. Second up is being weirded out by the yeast. Isn't it weird? I don't know why i feel this way, i just do. I guess i just pictured it differently...
After much mixing and kneading (i wasn't even TOTALLY sure how to knead, so i was pretty happy it worked at all!) i got this pretty little ball of dough. My little dough baby.
Then after an hour of letting it hang out on the bench it doubled! Magic! My little baby, all grown up!
Next up I got the cinnamon sugar ready. I was pouring out the cinnamon and noticed something weird (yes, weirder than the yeast, which is really saying something). I couldn't get a clear picture but look at the bottom lip of the jar, see those strands of cinnamon? It was like they were magnetic or something. You remember that toy, it is a little box with a mans face in it, with metal shavings, and you give him a beard and stuff? It was just like that, but without the facial hair fun, if anyone 'gets' science and knows what went on here, fill me in yeah?
So here is the ball of dough before i put the banana and chocolate in, just to help you get an idea of how big to make it. It fully doesn't matter though, make them bigger, littler, doesn't matter, but yeah, doing them this size i got 12 cupcakes and had a good bit leftover, so don't hold back.
Some of the prepared doughballs next to the tasty coating production line. With mine i kind of just placed the doughballs on top of one another and you'll see later how they turned out, kinda uneven, but i was still happy with them, i just ripped them apart anyway. Though if you look at the cupcake project's cupcakes they were like, a perfect little dome, if you re aiming more for that kind of look then i reckon you should try and put them in the case right next to each other... Let me know if it works...
So here they are just placed in, you can see the ones at the bottom starting to puff up already, probably lame but it was all very exciting at them time! ... okay, I'll admit it, i still think it's exciting, so here are some before and afters, prepare to be amazed by the magic of yeast!

After! They're just about taking up the whole case now!

Close up before...

Close up after! Pfoosh! (if it didn't happen so slowly i would imagine this is the noise they would make.)

Awesome stuff. Ive always thought being a professional baker would be horrible, those early mornings, bleh, but now i get it, they get to watch this sort of thing happen every single day, lucky bastards.

Sigh, isn't she beautiful?

Okay, one last thing, before you go down and look at the recipe i just want to say that i know it looks like there alot of mad steps, too much to do, too fiddly, but really, its not, i swear! You'll need a bit of time spare but everything involved is super easy and you will be so happy with them once you finish, promise!

Monkey Bread Cupcakes with Banana and Chocolate

Recipe from the Cupcake Project

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1/2 C lukewarm water
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T instant yeast or rapid rise yeast
  • 2 C - 250g plain flour (i only just realised recently that US cups and Metric Cups are a little different so that's why I've gone grams, for those who don't have scales just take out about 1tsp per cup, it usually doesn't make a difference but i thought with dough it might...)
  • 1/2C - 115g granulated sugar (i also just really like using my scales, that's why you're getting even more grams!)
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana, cut into small slices
  • chocolate chips or baking chunks to taste (55g) (This is what was recommended but I ended up using sooo much more than this! I just got a block of chocolate, cut the squares in half and put one piece in each ball)
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted

1. Place water, vegetable oil, egg, salt, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl and mix well.

2. Add 1 cup of the flour, stirring to blend.

3. Add the second cup of flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. (I had no idea what a cohesive dough was, and google was no help, so i just mixed it till it looked good. I'm guessing cohesive is like the glue cohesive, so till the dough sticks together? smart?)

4. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes; this gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid, making it easier to knead.

5. Knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until it's soft and smooth.

6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and let the dough rise for 30 to 60 minutes or until it's doubled in size. (I left mine for an hour but only because i got a phone call, if i were one of those people who can balance a phone under their chin i so would have gotten to it earlier)

7. Gently deflate the dough.

8. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

9. Place cupcake liners into a cupcake tin and lightly grease them with butter or cooking spray. (make sure that if you spray them you do it as late as possible, i did mine a bit early and later realised it made the colour from the cases stain the tin! Weird...)

10. Pull off a small piece of dough. How small? You should get 24 pieces out of the batter so that you can have two pieces in each cupcake. However, unless you are having a dinner party for exactly 12 people, it doesn't really matter and you can make the pieces whatever size you would like.

11. Stretch the piece out, put a banana slice and several chocolate chips or baking chunks inside, and then roll it into a ball. (If this sounds a bit confusing make sure you check out the original recipe page, she has a picture of this)

12. Dip the ball in the melted butter.

13. Dip the ball in the cinnamon and sugar.

14. Put the ball into the cupcake liner. You should be able to fit two balls into each cupcake liner.

15. Cover the cupcake tin and let the bread rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until it's visibly puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 175C.

16. Uncover the cupcake tin and bake the monkey bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's golden brown and feels set.

17. While the monkey bread is baking, prepare the glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze

Also from the Cupcake Project

  • 1/2 C powdered sugar (i put in a little more cause it seemed a little runny and i didn't want it all to just pool at the bottom)
  • 1 T milk
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

1. Mix all of the ingredients together. 2. Drizzle over the hot cupcakes. 3. The cupcakes are best served warm. If you can't eat them immediately, reheat them in microwave for about 15 seconds before serving.


  1. God I love American baking. It is insanely unhealthy and 100% charming. Monkeybread for heavens sake! Who would have thunk it?

    I must confess I've never used yeast, it seems a little scary but I think It's about time I gave it a crack

  2. oh i know, they do unhealthy so so well! next on my list is snickerdoodles, part for the fact that you roll the dough in cinnamon sugar before baking, and part because the name is funny.

    let me know if you delve into the scary/magical world of yeast baking, im glad to know im not the only one a little scared of it!

  3. I found a recipe for Jagerdoodles somewhere as in, yes: jagermeister snickerdoodles. I thought that sounded pretty darn awesome.

    I chickened out on the yeast thing over the weekend & made cupcakes instead. Weak I know. I really wanna make some bread rolls though with sage & caremelized onions or something.