Friday, April 5, 2013

Lemon Monkey Bread

Lemon Monkey Bread - made March 29, 2013, recipe adapted from Bakerlady and Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
I took last Friday afternoon off for Good Friday and I had intended to make hot cross buns since I'd never made them before and they seemed holiday appropriate.  But I didn't have currants and I got sidetracked (squirrel!) by one of the recipes I'd pinned on pinterest for Lemon Monkey Bread.  The original recipe called for using ready-made frozen dough but since I had the afternoon off, I decided to take the time and make the dough from scratch.  I used the recipe from Baked Explorations for their Monkey Bubble Bread but instead of dipping in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, I went with lemon to mark spring and Easter.  I'm really glad I did because this worked beautifully.  The lemon gives it lots of flavor and the sugar crunch was the perfect texture atop the bread.  If you're short on time, you can use ready-made bread dough but the Baked recipe is pretty easy to make and came out well so use that if you can.

Monkey Bubble Bread recipe from Baked Explorations:
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Line a 9 x 9" square baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm milk to slightly above room temperature then remove it from the heat, add the yeast and whisk to dissolve.  Do not warm milk to more than 110 degrees or it'll kill the yeast.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar and salt until combined.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and add it to the dry ingredients.  Mix on low speed until combined.
  5. Keeping the mixer on low, slowly stream in the milk until combined.  Add the melted butter and mix until the dough comes together.  Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment.  Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough becomes silky and tacky but not sticky, 8 to 10 minutes.  The dough should mound together and easily come off the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  6. Spray the bottom and sides of a large bowl with cooking spray.  Place the dough in the bowl and roll it around to make sure it is completely covered in oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. If you don't have a "proof" function on your oven, turn your oven on to its lowest setting, let it heat up to just past 100 degrees and turn oven off.  As long as your oven isn't too warm, you can let your dough rise in it - just make sure it's not warmer than 110 degrees or you'll kill the yeast instead of letting the dough rise.
  7. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Use your clean hands to push down and deflate the dough.  Remove it from the bowl and pat it into a mound.  Cut off equal pieces of dough and roll into balls.  If the dough is too soft to roll smoothly, shape with your hands and gather the edges of the dough, tucking it underneath to form balls.  Place the balls in even rows in the prepared pan 9 x 9" pan.  Don't crowd the dough balls as they also need room to rise.  If you have too many, use a slightly larger pan.
  8. Mix lemon zest and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle HALF of the lemon sugar mixture over the dough balls. Cover and let rise till doubled.
  9. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on top. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from pan.
  10. Combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over bread while still warm.

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