Homemade bread is something I look forward to making and eating each holiday. For Christmas I decided to make Herbed Monkey Bread since my first run at pumpkin flavored bread earlier in the year was so successful.
I had a devil of a time getting the bread to brown (meaning it didn’t brown at all – this may have been because I was baking it along with scalloped potatoes). Luckily it still tasted amazing. I used a bundt pan and found that I had too much bread to fit in the pan. I had to use a second loaf pan instead of risking balls of dough jumping out of the pan while baking (this has happened to me before). This recipe makes a ton of bread!
- 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) instant yeast
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ c. warm water
- 6 c. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. solid vegetable shortening
- 2 c. milk
- 1 tsp. coarse salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- fresh herbs (I used minced rosemary, sliced chives and chopped oregano)
- ½ c. (1 stick) butter, melted
- In saucepan, heat milk until bubbles just start to form around edges of pan. Meanwhile, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water (100 to 110 degrees).
- In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of the flour with the 1 teaspoon salt and the shortening. Add flour mixture to yeast-milk mixture and beat well. Add remaining 2 cups flour.
- Turn out onto floured surface. Knead 6 to 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, use a dough hook and your electric mixer to knead about 3 to 4 minutes on medium speed.)
- Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour. In a small bowl combine the 1 teaspoon coarse salt with pepper to taste and your choice of herbs.
- Punch down dough and divide into 32 pieces. Grease a standard-size bundt pan with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle half the herb mixture on the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Roll each of the pieces of dough into a ball and place them in the pan. After you have one layer of balls, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with herbs. Repeat steps creating 2 to 3 layers. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven and cool slightly. Set a serving plate over the top of the pan and invert. Invert again onto a second plate so the top of the bread is right side up.
There’s something about bread when it first comes out of the oven (and it’s slathered with butter). Even bad bread can taste good when it first comes out of the oven. We found that of all the dishes on the table this Christmas, we kept going back to the bread. My neighbor stopped over to get leftovers and took home three pieces.
I don’t remember adding any salt of pepper to this dish but didn’t think it necessarily needed it. Part of me wishes the herbs would have been in the dough. That would have made it a less cumbersome bread to make, anyway.
One thing I would definitely change would be rolling the dough into balls. Instead I would roll out the dough, cut it into strips and then cut the strips into small rectangles.