The sweet loaf
Chocolate and orange monkey bread
Prep 10 min
Cook 3 hr (inc proving)
200ml whole milk 90ml water
40g caster sugar 60g unsalted butter, plus 10g extra, melted, for greasing
1 tsp vanilla essence 7g sachet fastaction dried yeast 280g strong white bread flour 280g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
¾ tsp salt 100g dark chocolate chips
For the sauce 135g unsalted butter
120g soft dark brown sugar Finely grated zest of 1 large orange 80g golden syrup 2 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
Monkey bread is an enriched sweet bread made with lots of pieces of soft, sugar- or syrup-coated dough all stuck together, and you eat it by tearing apart the warm, gooey, soft bread, much as a monkey might. If you don’t have a large bundt tin, improvise with a 28cm cake tin with an upturned bowl in the middle, to create a hole in the centre. The loaf will keep for two days, but it needs reheating before serving.
Gently warm the first five ingredients in a small saucepan on a medium heat for a minute or two, until the butter is almost melted and the milk is tepid – take care not to overheat the mixture, otherwise you’ll kill the yeast. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the yeast and set aside for 15 minutes, until slightly frothy.
Put both flours and the salt in the bowl of a free-standing mixer with the dough hook in place, add the yeast mixture and knead for three minutes; start on the lowest speed and increase to medium, pausing every now and then to scrape down the sides so you incorporate all the flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and spread it out slightly. Scatter the chocolate chips in the middle, fold over the dough to enclose them, then knead for five minutes by hand, until it is springy and soft, and the chocolate is evenly distributed. Put the dough in a large floured bowl, cover with cling-film and leave in a warm spot for 45 minutes, until it has almost doubled in size. Meanwhile, brush the inside of a large bundt tin (24cm in diameter at the top, 20cm at the bottom, 8cm high) with the melted butter.
For the sauce, put all the ingredients in a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for three to four minutes, until the butter, sugar and syrup have melted together into a thick, rich sauce.
Roll the dough into a long sausage, then cut into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then drop them one by one into the sauce, until roughly coated all over. Put the coated balls of dough in the bundt tin, building up the layers in the tin as you go. When all the dough is coated, pour any remaining sauce over the contents of the tin, then cover and leave in a warm spot for 45 minutes, until nearly doubled in size again.
Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas 2½. Bake the monkey bread for 35 minutes, until well risen and golden brown, then leave to cool for five minutes. Put a large plate on top of the tin and invert the bread on to the plate. Lift off the tin, leave the bread to rest and cool for 10 minutes more, then serve warm.