Monkey bread. Monkey bread. I dare you to say it and not giggle.
I didn’t even know this wonderful food existed until recently. Our friend Eric brought a loaf to a potluck party, and it was an enormous hit. The bread itself was a humble and unassuming thing: bite-sized balls of yeasted dough, nestled together in a loaf and baked. It was perfect stand-around-and-chat food, made for idly pulling apart with one hand while holding a glass of wine with the other. Even on a table crowded with homemade treats, that monkey bread was a clear winner–it disappeared in record time. And I was smitten.
I’ve since seen recipes for monkey bread all over the internet, in a dizzying variety of forms and flavors. The most common version seems to be a sweet breakfast bread, where the dough is soaked in syrup or caramel and the bread itself is baked in a bundt pan and inverted onto a plate. But the monkey bread I fell in love with was savory, as is the recipe that intrigued me the most in my internet ramblings. This is a richer, more sophisticated version of Eric’s simple monkey bread, made from scratch with a springy egg dough, fresh dill, and a whole lot of melted butter.
This is the quickest and simplest yeast bread I’ve ever made. From start to finish, the whole process took just over two hours–and that was on the coldest day of the year, so that the dough took twice as long to rise as it usually should. The dough requires very little kneading, rises for only a brief period of time, and bakes surprisingly quickly. The messiest–and yet most satisfying–step involves dunking the individual balls of dough in dill-spiked melted butter, then layering them in a loaf pan. By the end of the process, my hands were slicked with butter and fragrant with dill, which was almost as fun as eating the finished bread itself.
Then all it takes is a sprinkle of flaky salt and a quick trip into the oven, and you’ve got fresh, buttery bread that can be eaten without a knife. For a sit-down dinner or a stand-up party, this is a treat worth making.