Monkey bread looks simple enough – like a rustic Bundt cake. It hides a secret: It is made of balls of cinnamon roll dough that you can rip off with your hands – allowing your family and friends to literally break bread together.
This monkey bread has a second surprise in its pillowy cinnamon/sugar bread pieces.
Each bread ball is filled with oozy baked brie, jam, and nuts. My monkey bread puts a whole new spin on cheese balls! The bread could double as an appetizer or as a dessert or you could just leave it on the table during the whole meal for your guests to pick at and pick at, until someone finally breaks down and takes the last piece.
My baked brie monkey bread is made using the dough from the Fleischmann’s® Yeast recipe for frosted cinnamon rolls (one of many great yeast recipes on the Fleischmann’s Yeast site). Growing up, my mom and my grandmother never baked with yeast and when I first started using it, I, too, was a little bit intimidated. But, there is no need to be frightened of yeast. I’ll walk you through the steps and you’ll be fine. Plus, there is simply no other way to get the same taste and puffy rise out of a bread. And… working with bread dough is so satisfying.
Kneading dough is one of my favorite stress-relieving activities. In this recipe, you knead the dough for about six minutes (a good little workout)! The Fleischmann’s Yeast website has a great education section where they explain that Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Yeast dough only needs to rest for 10 minutes. If the recipe called for Fleischmann’s® Active Dry Yeast, it would need a rise period of about an hour or two to double in size. RapidRise Yeast is a major time saver!
After the rest, it’s time to make all of the dough balls. I just ripped off some balls of dough, flattened them, and filled them with brie, jam, and nuts. I used very small pieces of cheese because I was afraid of the balls opening up and cheese and jam spilling out. How did I forget that the yeast would cause these balls to become giant? The cheese was nowhere near the edge of the balls by the time it was done. I encourage you to use twice as much cheese as you see in this photo – stack it high and let it come to the edge of the dough.
This dough is very elastic and you can stretch it over the fillings to form little balls. Pull the dough a little past the opening and squeeze it together to seal it.
I dunked each ball in a bath of melted butter and then in cinnamon sugar before putting it in the Bundt pan.
Here’s my favorite part! In the photo above, you can see all of the balls in the Bundt pan ready to rise. I covered this pan with a dish towel and set it in a warm place (I like to turn on my oven for one minute and then turn it off so it’s warm but not hot).
Look at the size of these balls one hour later!
Then comes the baking. Once baked, you can hardly tell the balls were even there until you rip into the bread!
Whether you make the Fleischmann’s Yeast recipe for frosted cinnamon rolls as cinnamon rolls, turn it into monkey bread, or take it the extra step to make the monkey bread with baked brie inside, don’t forget to invite me over. I could eat this bread every day!
Baked Brie Monkey Bread
Monkey Bread Ingredients
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 packet Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- 1 large egg
- 8 ounces brie cheese
- 1/4 cup jam I used plum jam, but any flavor would be great.
- about 1 cup shelled pecans
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Spice Islands® Ground Saigon Cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Monkey Bread Instructions
- Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixer bowl and stir until blended.
- Place water and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH in 15 second increments until very warm but not hot to the touch (120 to 130 F). Butter won’t melt completely.
- Add to flour mixture.
- Add egg.
- Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Add 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Stir in just enough remaining flour so that the dough forms into a ball.
- Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.
Filling, Assembly, and Baking Instructions
- Break off approximately one inch diameter balls of dough. There is some flexibility here. You can experiment with making larger or smaller balls. With one inch balls, you'll have enough dough to make about forty.
- Flatten balls and place a piece of brie on each one about 1/4" tall and 1" long.
- Top brie pieces with a small dollop of jam.
- Top jam with a couple of pecans.
- Stretch the dough over the fillings and slightly past the opposite edge of the dough. Press to seal together and gently reform into balls.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Dip each ball in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar.
- Place balls in a well-greased Bundt pan.
- Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - about one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until monkey bread is golden brown.
- Let cool for five minutes and then invert onto a serving dish.
- Serve warm.
There’s a sense of pride in sharing something you’ve baked from scratch. With Fleischmann’s Yeast, you won’t be afraid to find your creativity in the kitchen or even get your apron a little dirty. Baking with yeast this holiday season can be as easy as pre-heating the oven. To find out more, visit foodnetwork.com/holidaybaking.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ACH. The opinions and text are all mine.