Earlier this week at a media dinner at Bo's, a New Orleans style restaurant on West 24th Street that opened last fall, the meal began as one should: with a basket of bread for the table. While everything we ordered was pretty much perfect, this modest item was a show stopper. This wasn't a sad stack of dry rolls, or an unimpressive selection of sliced bread (there's always that one with the raisins), it was something called "Monkey Bread" (not that super sweet stuff, though) created by Executive Pastry Chef Frankie Fuschetto. (Not even Yelp has anything bad to say about this bread.)
It was kind of like a croissant-bread, shaped like pound cake, and pre-soaked in butter. You could feel it, that butter, but not in a way where it seemed like too much. The bread "meat" was surrounded by a thin, almost crispy crust, which was perfectly salted. There were certain bites that were a little sweet, and others which contained an extra burst of butter. Find a basket of it in front of you, and you will find your hand dipping back into it again and again, in some sort of Sisyphean fantasy. You could do this for eternity.
Did we mention it's on the house for anyone dining there? They were also kind enough to pass along the recipe:
Monkey Bread (Yield: One Loaf)
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 Tbsp. fresh yeast
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 lb cold cubed butter
- 1/2 lb melted butter
- 2 Tbsp. salt
1. In a mixing bowl fitted with hook attachment mix flour, salt, sugar, yeast, eggs, and cold water until well combined, continually to mix until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. About 8-10 minutes on a slow speed.
2. Add in cold cubed butter and mix until all butter is combined and dough is smooth.
3. Let proof in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
4. Cut dough into 4 even pieces and shape into balls. Roll in salted melted butter and place the 4 pieces of dough in a loaf pan. Let proof for 30 minutes.
5. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
6. When loaf has doubled in size, bake for 25 to 30 minutes