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    Yeast: James Beard's Monkey Bread

    Source of Recipe

    James Beard

    List of Ingredients

    2 packages active dry yeast
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees, approximately)
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
    1 1/2 tablespoons salt
    1 cup warm milk (no hotter than 115 degrees)
    3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks (discard extra whites)
    6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup currants (optional)


    Combine yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, stir 1/2 cup butter and salt into milk (the butter need not melt completely). Add butter mixture to yeast mixture. Stir to combine.

    Stir in eggs and egg yolks. Beat with a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. (After the first 5 cups, it will be harder to incorporate the flour and the dough will be very sticky.)

    Turn out onto a floured board and, using a baker's scraper or spatula, scrape under the flour on the board, lift the dough and fold it over. Continue this procedure, adding more flour until the dough is no longer sticky and can be kneaded with your hands.

    Knead a full 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and pliable. Shape into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, turning to coat all over with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until double in bulk (an hour or so).

    Punch dough down and let rise 5 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured board (using about 1 tablespoon flour) and again shape into a ball. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, butter a 10-inch tube pan and set aside.

    In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the second stick of butter with the brown sugar and currants (if using). Pinch off enough dough to make golf-ball-sized balls. Roll the balls in the butter mixture, line the bottom of the tube pan with them and continue to arrange them in loose layers.

    Pour what is left of the butter mixture over the top. Cover and let rise to the top of the tube pan.

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. When dough has risen, bake about 1 hour. Tap the top; it will sound hollow when the bread is ready.

    Unmold and allow to cool before slicing, or serve warm and pull apart.

    Serves about 12, depending on portion sizes.




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