Recently I've decided to try and step up my baking game. I wanted to attempt something that I've been completely terrified of....bread. First off, I wasn't sure if I would be patient enough for the whole 'rising' thing. Second, I didn't know how the kneading would go. I get bored easily and I thought I would probably get sick if it. Well, I was completely wrong. I'm totally infatuated with this bread business! I ended up finding kneading completely relaxing. Beating the hell out of that dough really calms a person down. Well, it does for me anyhow but don't get me wrong, it was work. Sadly, my arms were feeling it after just a few minutes. Yup, I'm a complete wimp but I have a feeling that I'll be buff after a few more weeks of making breads. Hooo-Ha!
My first dough wasn't exactly a regular old loaf of bread. I decided to make monkey bread, which I had never even tasted before. I needed a new pumpkin recipe to try out and after reading about this one it seemed like the right thing to try. In all honesty, I'm not a huge pumpkin fan. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat a slice of pumpkin pie if it's offered but it would never be my first choice. There isn't a whole lot of pumpkin puree used in this recipe but the taste is still there. After devouring part of this bread I realized that I found a new yeasty love. This is seriously an amazing treat. I've read that monkey bread is made to be eaten warm, right from the oven, but you can easily warm it up or eat it at room temperature. Any way you are going to have it is going to be awesome. This recipe ended up taking about 3 1/2 hours to do, including rising time. Totally worth it, folks. I will make this many more times! Enjoy and happy baking...
Pumpkin Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze
For the dough:
3 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for kneading
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
For the coating:
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 stick butter, melted
For the glaze:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra if needed
2 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and spices.
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, water, pumpkin, melted butter, sugar, and yeast.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in the wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir until the dough comes together. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Spray a clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
In the meantime, mix together the cinnamon and sugar, and melt the butter for the coating. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray. Once the dough has risen, shape the ball into a large rectangle. Using something sharp, cut the dough into roughly equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into a ball (I had about 50 pieces, but you may have more or less).
Dip each ball of dough into the melted butter and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture, layering them in the bundt pan as you go.
Once you’ve used all the dough, cover the bundt pan and let the dough rise again for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out on to a platter. To make the glaze, beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth and light. Add milk and vanilla . Pour over the bread while it’s still warm.
*You don't need to use this particular glaze. Any sort of glaze, vanilla or maple, will do. I chose this one because I thought it would go nicely with the taste of pumpkin.