This has certainly been one hell of a year. I could pull you aside now, and tell you all about the crazy year we’ve had at Yin and Yolk. I could gush about how proud I am of how far this little blog of ours has come. But I’ll spare you. Instead, I’ll just say that I’m thrilled that we’re still kicking, and that you (whether a faithful reader or a casual click) are here with us. We truly love you guys.
Now, onto this bread. Cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto. Oh, and butter too. We are gilding this lily hard, before the New Year and all of its resolutions come rushing in.
I’ve never quite understood why pull-apart breads are called monkey bread, but there’s no denying that it’s more fun than calling it pull-apart bread. Monkey bread is perfect for sharing, because small pieces of it can be ripped off without having to slice or portion anything out yourself. So it’s perfect if you still need an appetizer for tonight’s festivities.
The pesto doesn’t overpower the bread, but instead subtly balances out the sun-dried tomatoes with a soft one-two punch of garlic and basil. We’ve got plenty of recipes for pesto right here, but we won’t blame you if you ain’t got time for that and want to go the store-bought route. In a pinch, you could even sub the pesto with dried basil, minced garlic, and parmesan.
A few things to note: if the dough is sticky enough to stick to your fingers, add a bit more flour. Dough will vary depending on your environment, so adjust accordingly. Also, if your kitchen is cold, you may need to let the dough rise for longer for it to double in size, or find a warmer spot for it to rest. Finally, feel free to increase the amount of parmesan – there is no such thing as too much cheese.
So here’s to 2015. Stay hungry, my friends.
Cheesy Sun-dried Tomato & Pesto Monkey Bread
By L., adapted from The Pastry Affair
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more depending on stickiness of the dough
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of basil pesto (find recipes here, or use store bought)
dash of black pepper
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour and salt, then dump it into the yeast mixture and add the olive oil. Mix with the dough hook on medium speed for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is satiny smooth. If it’s very sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon until it is soft and only slightly tacky.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and let it rise for 2 hours. In the meantime, melt the butter and mix it with the pesto and black pepper, and chop the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces, then set them aside. Butter or oil your bundt pan.
When the dough has doubled in size, rip of pieces of dough about 1/2” to 1” in diameter and roll them into a ball, dip into the buttery pesto mixture, and begin layering in the bundt pan. After one layer of dough balls cover the bottom of the pan, top with half of the parmesan and half of the sun-dried tomatoes. Repeat for another layer, then finish with a third layer of dough. Loosely cover the bread and let it rise for another hour, until it’s nearly doubled.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate. Serve with marinara or pesto sauce for dipping.