Archive for the ‘Yeast Breads’ Category

Orange Pecan Monkey Bread

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Ok, so I admit that I probably should have stuck to a tried and true recipe for the first one I made for the site. But, I like to live dangerously, so we’re going to try this together.

I’ve been wanting to make orange rolls since someone mentioned them to me a month or so ago. Then yesterday, another friend made Monkey Bread and so then I wanted that. My ample posterior can ill afford to consume both of them, so I thought maybe I could combine the 2 into one. Here goes nothing!

Although many many monkey bread recipes are made with refrigerated dough/biscuits, and you could certainly use them here as well, I wanted to make this without leaving my house. Since my house doesn’t contain any frozen or refrigerated dough, I made my own. I’m sure it’s better this way. 😉

This is just one of many basic bread dough recipes, if you have a favorite, feel free to use it. Otherwise, here we go!

What to gather: Yeast, Warm Milk, All-purpose flour, sugar, salt, butter, more butter, brown sugar, an orange, orange juice (conveniently located inside of the orange), pecans.

The first thing we want to do is proof the yeast. In a nutshell: wake it up. It’s still sleeping off it’s new year’s hangover. We want to know that our yeast is active before we get through the entire process only to find a lump of dough that didn’t rise. Then you’ll yell at me and tell me my recipe sucks, and then I’ll cry. It won’t be a good scene.

You want your milk to be around 100-115 degrees. I usually compare it to about the temperature I’d use for a baby’s bath water, or maybe even a TAD warmer than that. Too hot and you’ll kill the baby. I mean yeast. Too cold and it won’t wake up. Either way, you lose. So, make sure your milk is warm.

Pour your milk into a bowl (I just used the bowl of my mixer, since that’s where it’s all going eventually anyway) and add 1 tsp of the 1/4 cup of sugar (put the rest aside, it’s coming soon).

Stir to dissolve, then sprinkle the yeast over the top.

After about 2-3 minutes it should look bubbly/frothy and smell like… well… yeast. If it just looks like dead water, you might have bad yeast. Check the expiration date, it was probably 2 years ago if you’re anything like me. But this time, we have success. See how it poofed up on top and is all bubbly around the edges? Good stuff, man.

Now that we have all that proofing business out of the way, we can get on with our lives.

Turn the mixer on low, and add the softened butter to the yeast.

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, remaining sugar, salt). Mine are sifted, you’ll just have to trust me. I can’t show my sifter on the internet, I’d be kicked off and ridiculed. Work with me here, I sifted. See how sifted it looks?

And slowly add them to the yeast mixture.

When the dough comes together it should look like, well, bread dough. Smooth like a baby’s bum! Not sticky, not dry. If it’s either of those things, you can gradually add more flour or a bit of water until you get the right consistency. This is where that “3 to 3 1/2 cups of flour” thing comes in.

This is what mine looked like after 3 cups of flour. It was obviously too sticky, so I added a bit more.

When it has all come together, it’s time to let it rise! Form one big disc with it, and put it in a lightly greased bowl. (I sprayed mine with Pam. I’m lazy like that.)

Cover loosely with a towel and set in a warm place until it about doubles in size. I’d say roughly an hour.

Now for the good stuff.

Grate the rind off one orange. Make sure you only get the orange stuff, and not the white. The white is crap, and you’ll yell at me again.

In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of butter. Stir in the brown sugar, orange peel and orange juice (I used the juice from the orange I took the rind off of. I’m so economical and stuff.). As soon as it’s smooth, you can remove it from the heat.

Take your big beautiful bowl of dough and punch it down a bit so you can work with it.

Now, tear off little clumps of it, maybe 1″ clumps, to be more precise. You can make them nicer and rounder than this, but I wanted to go watch Biggest Loser and feel bad about myself, so I just ripped off hunks and wadded them up. Rar.

Dip them in the orange mixture. Get them good and orangey and gooey and oh so good. The more drippy the better.

Dip them into the pecans. They don’t need to be completely covered with pecans, just a few on each one is good. I basically just put pecans on one side and ran with it. You can leave the pecans off if you want, but then you can’t call it Orange Pecan Monkey Bread. Just sayin’.

Layer the gooey delicious nutty clumps in a bundt pan, loosely. You don’t want to be cramming them in there like some kind of 60s phone booth contest gone wrong. They need to be able to breathe and grow and prosper.

10 very sticky fingers later….

Let this rise one last time while you preheat the oven, or rotate your laundry, or help a kid with homework, or whatever else it is you need to do while it’s rising. It should only take about 20 or 30 or 40 minutes this time, just until it gets to the top of the pan.

I could have let this get a little higher, but again… I’m not known for my patience.

Bake this sweet thing at 350° for about 30-35 minutes, until it’s golden brown and irresistible.

Place a plate on top of the pan and then turn the whole thing upside down, to invert the bread onto the plate. (I wanted to show a picture of me inverting it, but as I’m the only one here, that proved an impossible feat. You’ll have to trust me again. I know we’ve just met.) Try not to burn your tonsils off when you can’t wait any longer and you pull a piece out.

Ahhh it was a success. My heart is all aflutter.

Orange Pecan Monkey Bread

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (100-115°F)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar; divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 cup finely chopped pecans

In mixer bowl, combine milk with 1 teaspoon sugar, sprinkle with yeast. Allow to proof for 2-3 minutes. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup softened butter. Sift together flour, remaining sugar and salt, and slowly add to yeast mixture. Mix until dough forms, adding more flour or water if needed to make soft dough.

Place dough into a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise in a warm location until doubled in size (about an hour).

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan, and add brown sugar, orange peel and orange juice. Stir until smooth and remove from heat.

Punch dough down and tear off 1″ clumps. Roll into a ball and dip in butter mixture, covering completely. Dip lightly into pecans and stack loosely in a bundt pan.

Allow to rise until just above pan.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Invert onto platter.

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