There are times when I wish our senses could transcend the written word. Like right now. If you could smell the warm, sweet, maple syrupy smell coming from my kitchen at this moment, you'd be in love. Just like me. And it doesn't just smell good - the taste is even better!
This Maple Syrup Monkey Bread is gorgeously squidgy. It has its first blanket of maple syrup when it's just out of the oven and then another one a few minutes later when it's turned out on the plate. I think mine looks like it's swimming in it :)
The recipe comes from James Martin's Sweet which I highly recommend if you're looking for lots of sweet delights to bake. I love James Martin and his recipes (whether from this book or his other savoury ones) always turn out brilliantly. They're easy to follow and always work. Win win. And there are lots of beautiful photos to inspire you!
This is simple to make but, as with all bread, you do need a little patience for the proving. The dough itself is straightforward - the milk is warmed in a saucepan, the yeast is added and then it's mixed with breadcrumbs made from flour, sugar, salt and butter. I mixed the breadcrumbs by hand but then I used my standalone mixer and dough hook to combine all the ingredients. You can work the dough by hand if you don't have this equipment - it will just take you 15 minutes rather than the 5 minutes with the dough hook. But you get bonus points for giving your arm muscles a workout!
When the dough is tacky to the touch, it's put into a bowl, covered and left for around 2 hours in a warm place until doubled in size. When it's ready, butter a 23cm savarin mold. I didn't have one of these so I used an 8 inch cake tin. You're going to make 30-35 dough balls with your dough so weigh the dough and then work out how much each dough ball should weigh. I kept my scales to hand and weighed out each amount of dough and then formed it into little balls. Then each ball is dipped into melted butter and rolled in a mixture of demerara sugar and cinnamon. By the time I formed my last ball the sugar was a complete gunky mess, clumped together with the butter, but keep going. Then place the balls into your cake tin. My bottom row was 2 balls wide (leaving a hole in the middle as it would have with a savarin mold) and then 1 circle of balls on the top layer.
The dough is left to prove again, lightly covered with some oiled clingfilm, for around 45 minutes. I generally leave my dough to prove for the second time overnight which I did with this bake but you need to ensure that you don't leave it in too warm a place as the butter will melt. I found that happened a little with mine (it didn't affect the final outcome as far as I can tell) but I suggest you place it on a baking tray when proving otherwise you might get a sticky trail when you come to pick it up!
When you're ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake it on the baking tray for around 25 minutes until it's golden brown. I did find that the the middle hole disappeared as it baked and because I wasn't using a savarin mold, the middle dough balls underneath aren't cooked quite as well as the outer ones, so a savarin mold is preferable if you have one to hand, but not absolutely necessary.
When it's out of the oven, it's coated with 100 ml of maple syrup, left for 2 minutes and then turned out on a plate. Mine was pretty sticky and did try to come apart when being lifted from the tin to plate but I managed to get it there in one piece. It's crucial that you remove it from its tin this quickly. Then it's bathed in another 100ml maple syrup.
It is a thing of beauty. Simply delicious and especially good straight from the oven.
I'm looking forward to trying other variations of Monkey Bread but wanted to try this one first. We are firm maple syrup lovers in this house so I know it will be a big hit when the boys come home.
If there's any left by the time the boys come home ;-)
Maple Syrup Monkey Bread
from James Martin's Sweet
- 300ML MILK
- 500G STRONG BREAD FLOUR (plus extra for dusting)
- 75G CASTER SUGAR
- 5G FINE SEA SALT
- 50G SOFTENED BUTTER (plus extra for greasing your tin)
- 2 TSP FAST-ACTION DRIED YEAST
- 200ML MAPLE SYRUP
- 250G DEMERARA SUGAR
- 1 TBSP CINNAMON
- 200G MELTED BUTTER
- Gently warm the milk in a saucepan until it's warm but not boiling
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in a standalone mixer with a dough hook and mix to combine
- Add the butter and mix together until you have the consistency of fine breadcrumbs - I did this by rubbing it between my fingertips
- Then sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and add to the breadcrumb mixture
- Mix together with a dough hook on your standalone mixer on a medium speed for around 5 minutes
- The dough should be soft, sticky and shiny and tacky to the touch but definitely not dry
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave it to prove for 1-2 hours until it's risen, spongy and doubled in size
- Then butter your savarin mold (23cm) or cake tin (20cm)
- Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute
- Weigh the dough and divide it by 35 and then make 35 dough balls of equal size
- Mix the demerara sugar and cinnamon in a bowl
- Dip each dough ball into the melted butter and then coat in the sugar mixture
- Place it in the mold/baking tin - I had enough for 2 circles (one inside the other) on the bottom of the tin, leaving a hole in the middle, and then another circle on top
- Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place (not too warm though otherwise the butter will melt) for 45 minutes until the dough is well risen - I left mine overnight
- When you're ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the balls are golden brown
- Remove from the oven and immediately coat the balls with 100ml maple syrup
- After 2 minutes, remove the monkey bread from the tin and place onto a plate - it's important to do this now otherwise the bread will stick to the tin and be very difficult to remove without breaking
- Once on a plate, bathe the monkey bread in another 100ml maple syrup
- And enjoy (but not so much that you eat the entire thing in one sitting!!)