Monkey Dunkey Bread


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes About


    2 inch buns

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C

The name “monkey bread” is believed to have derived from the casual way in which the balls of dough are piled into the pan before baking. Because each ball of dough is dunked into a butter sugar mixture before placing it in the pan, I have always thought of it as monkey dunkey bread. And because I love the combination of the soft and buttery brioche dough with slightly melted dark chocolate, I came up with the idea of stuffing each ball with chocolate. This is the most marvelous combination of textures: The brown sugar butter caramelizes onto the bottom and sides of the buns and forms a crunchy sugar coating on top, complemented by the slightly chewy soft caramel and the downy soft interior surrounding the delicious surprise of bittersweet chocolate in the center. These are breathtakingly fabulous. If you believe in gilding the lily, the addition of ganache drizzle glaze will do the trick, plus it hints at the presence of more chocolate on the inside.

Plan Ahead Make the brioche dough 1 day ahead.



Classic Brioche Dough . 19 ounces 540 grams
chocolate pearls or bittersweet mini chips, 55% to 62% cacao about 1 cup 6.5 ounces 183 grams

Special Equipment

One 10 inch (16 cups) two-piece metal tube pan, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray (see Note) | A foil-lined baking sheet


Make the Dunking Sauce

See recipe.

Roll and Fill the Dough

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide it in half. Cover one half and refrigerate it. Roll the other half into a 4 by 4 inch square. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 by 1 inch squares (0.6 ounce/17 grams) to make 16 pieces. Roll the dough into balls, flouring your fingers lightly if necessary. Keep the dough covered as much as possible so that it doesn’t dry.

With a small rolling pin or wooden dowel, roll each ball into a 2 inch disc. Use your fingers to press the edges gently to make them thinner. Set about 1 teaspoon of the chocolate pearls or chips on the center. Bring up the dough to encase the chocolate and pinch the top firmly to seal the dough. Place the dough, pinched side down, on the counter, and with a cupped hand placed over it, roll it into a smooth ball. Place it on a baking sheet. Cover the balls as they are shaped with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, and roll the rest of the dough. Set the dough balls in the refrigerator. Repeat rolling, filling, and shaping with the second piece of dough. When rolling the dough balls, it is best to work quickly so that the dough does not start to rise.

Compose the Bread

Whisk the dunking sauce to a uniform consistency. Starting with the refrigerated balls, gently dunk them 1 at a time into the dunking sauce, coating all sides. Set the coated balls in the prepared pan, pinched side down and slightly apart, because they will expand during rising. (A flat whisk, fork, or small slotted spoon works well for dunking the balls and placing them in the pan, but you can also use your fingers.) Stir the dunking sauce often to keep it from separating. When completed, the dough balls will fill the pan about one-third full. Drizzle any remaining dunking sauce over the balls.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let the dough balls rise in a warm place (ideally at 75° to 85°F/24° to 29°C) for 50 minutes to 1½ hours until they expand and when pressed lightly with a fingertip, the depression fills in very slowly. The buns will expand sideways rather than in height. (See recommended rising environments.)

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and set the prepared baking sheet on it. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Bake the Bread

Set the pan on the hot baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the dough part of one of the balls, between the outside and the center tube of the pan, should read about 190°F/88°C.) The balls will have risen to fill the pan about half full.

Make the Glaze

While the buns are baking, make the caramel drizzle glaze (alternatively, the glaze can be made up to 3 days ahead).

Make the Caramel Drizzle Glaze

See recipe.

Unmold and Glaze the Monkey Bread

If the caramel drizzle glaze was made in advance, reheat it until warm to the touch. (To reheat, if the glaze is in a heatproof glass container at room temperature, microwave it for 1 minute, stirring twice. Alternatively, place the container in a pan of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until warm, about 7 minutes.)

Remove the pan from the oven and let the bread cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place the pan on top of a canister that is smaller than the opening at the bottom of the pan’s outer rim. Push the sides down firmly and evenly. Slip a metal spatula between the bread and the bottom of the pan and gently loosen the bread from the pan. Use two large pancake turners, slipped between the bottom of the bread and the pan, to lift the bread onto a serving plate.

The glaze can be decoratively laced onto the monkey bread from a glass measure with a spout, but for the greatest precision, pour the glaze into a pastry bag fitted with a inch round decorating tip (number 4) or into a quart-size reclosable freezer bag with a very small semicircle cut from one corner.

Pour or pipe the glaze to create a decorative lacing effect. Serve immediately or while still warm (it will stay warm for about an hour). Encourage people (by example) to use their fingers to break off the warm buns.

The monkey bread may be eaten at once or reheated in a preheated 350°F/175°C oven for 15 minutes, loosely wrapped in aluminum foil, or in the microwave for 30 seconds with a heatproof glass of boiling water alongside (10 seconds for a cluster of 3 buns).


Loosely covered to keep the caramel from softening: room temperature, 2 days; frozen, 2 months.

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