This is a cinnamony, sweet pull-apart bread that we make to use up extra challah dough. Prepare to be swarmed by children and neighbours.

Serves
8

Preparation

40min

Cooking

25min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 5 (6 votes)
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Ingredients

  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 220 g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • traditional challah dough (below),
  • all-purpose flour
  • cooking spray

 

Challah

  • 315 g bread flour, plus more for shaping
  • 3¼ tbsp sugar
  • 3¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 300 g (risen and deflated) pâte fermentée (below), cut into walnut-size pieces
  • 3 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 2¼ tbsp water, or more if needed
  • 2¼ tbsp canola oil, plus more for coating the bowl
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

 

Pâte fermentée

  • 120 g lukewarm water 
  • ⅔ tsp active ddry yeast
  • 180 g bread flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Chilling time 8 hours 

Resting time 2 hour 30 minutes

Cooling time 20 minutes

To make pâte fermentée, put the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add the flour and salt, Mix on a low speed for 2 minutes until combined into a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24. (There is no need to return it to room temperature before using.)

To make the challah, put the bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the pâte fermentée, egg yolks, honey, water, and oil and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated (i.e. you can’t see any flour) and the yeast has disappeared into the dough. Add a little extra water if this hasn’t happened in 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth, pulls away from the sides of the bowl (and leaves the sides clean), has a bit of shine, and makes a slapping noise against the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Do the windowpane test (see Note) to check to see if the gluten is fully developed. The dough will look smooth and feel slightly tacky.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil and transfer the dough to it. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or put the whole bowl in a large plastic bag. Let stand at room temperature until the dough is puffy and supple, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

While the dough is proving, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, use your hands to roll each half into an 45 cm rope and then cut each rope into 18 x 2.5 cm pieces. Transfer the pieces to a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle them with half of the sugar mixture, and toss to coat.

Generously coat 2 x (23 cm × 13 cm) loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide the dough pieces between the pans, sprinkling them with the remaining sugar mixture as you go. Put the loaf pans in large plastic bags or cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and let them rest until they’re softer than firm balloons, are supple, fill the pans, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake the monkey breads until they’re browned and the sugar is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let the breads cool in the pans on a rack for 20 minutes before unmolding. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight plastic bag for up to a couple of days at room temperature.

 

Note

To do a windowpane test, tear off a small piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. If it is sticky, dredge it through a little extra flour to make it easy to handle. Use your hands to gently stretch the dough from all sides until it forms a thin, nearly transparent layer that you can see the light through if you hold it up to an actual window or light. If you can stretch the dough to that state, it means the gluten is developed and your b read is ready to rise. Simply press the small dough ball back into the large one and proceed. If, on the other hand, your dough tears before you can stretch it thin enough to see the light through it, keep kneading it until it passes the test. The windowpane test does not work with doughs that have whole grains, nuts or seeds in them, nor is it necessary with ryes. 

 

Recipe and image from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking From Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez (Ten Speed Press, hbk, $59.99).