Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monkey Bread



Monday, May 30, 2006
I've been thinking about baking this monkey bread for a couple of weeks, but it looked very rich, sweet, buttery, and caloric. Not that these are bad things, but I am going to try to get in a bathing suit in a few weeks. I finally decided that I'd bake it and take it into work, where all food gets devoured.
I started baking the monkey bread on Memorial Day, when Minneapolis was having record hot temperatures, and my kitchen is not air-conditioned. Jim asked me if I was really planning to turn on the oven when it was 97 degrees outside. His tone of voice led me to believe that I should not say yes.
So I whipped up the dough yesterday (I had to move it closer to the air conditioner after I noticed that it was rising before my very eyes in the 100-degree kitchen). Then I shaped the balls, rolled them in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon (a half-pound of butter! See what I mean about rich, sweet, buttery, and caloric?), strewed them with raisins and pecans and put the whole thing in the refrigerator.
When I got up this morning, it was ready to bake. What a heavenly smell! I took it into work and sent out an email announcing the presence of monkey bread in the lunch room and telling people not to ask me why it was called monkey bread because I didn't know). They asked me anyway. My friend Susan said she loved the bread but she didn't want to call it monkey bread. She said she'd call it Ho Chi Minh bread because Ho Chi Minh supposedly worked as an apprentice baker at the Ritz-Carlton or someplace when he lived in London. This doesn't make any sense, and the Ho Chi Minh baking story is undoubtedly a myth, but that's how Susan's mind works. And not only did we finish the Monkey/Ho Chi Minh bread, but we also ate a box of doughnuts that Tony brought in because he won three cases in May, as well as two frozen custard pies, a strawberry-rhubarb pie, a lemon poppyseed cake, and cupcakes that various people brought in to celebrate all the May birthdays (of which mine was one, by the way).
Also, several people asked me if I made the bread with Pillsbury dough, a suggestion that offended Susan more than it offended me. ("Why don't you ask her if she gardens with plastic flowers?")
Did I get around to saying that this bread is fabulous? It is not really a bread in the staff-of-life sense, however. I was extremely happy that I took it into work because I could see it as a real possibility that one could just sort of pick at this bread all day and end up having consumed many thousands of calories without even trying.

4 comments:

Rose said...

i read the posting on sourdough rye yesterday and laughed outloud so hard tears came. this is a rare event since having passed the 60 year mark. i really lost it at the protecting it from mice you don't have part. we visited rotorua and i can't think of a better place from which to capture starter. it is described in the guidebooks as inferno, with bubbling cauldrons of sulfurous fumes coming up from the earth. in this case giving rise to bread!
but now i'm enjoying the monkey bread posting and have to share something about its appearance. as i wrote in the headnote, it is believed to have been dubbed "monkeÿ bread" due to the normally haphazard piling up of the balls of dough of irregular size, HOWEVER, what i didn't mention was an article in the ny times magazine section several years ago offering up nancy regan's monkey bread: picture the most uptight, organized, precise arrangement of dough balls of all time, baked in a two piece fluted tart pan!!! not to say i don't admire her enormously for her dedication to her husband and her discipline--look at her figure--but no monkey in evidence here!
by the way, plastic flower gardening was a perfect response to the accusation of pillsbury dough.

breadbasketcase said...

Re my monkey bread's appearance--this picture carefully avoids showing the side of the bread that completely collapsed. However, I have to say that I am not unhappy to know that my bread is not as perfect as Nancy Reagan's.

kestypes said...

That sounds amazing. I was going to ask if you'd post another photo of it, but I guess not, given your comment to Rose. I would love to see more of it though ~ collapse or no collapse.

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