Sourdough Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

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This is a type of bread that is equally fun to make as it it to eat. I remember looking up one day to find out why it called a monkey bread. It is because you have to use your fingers to break/pull small pieces away to eat. Yes! now I can’t stop but imagine a monkey pulling apart bread.

monkey bread
sourdough monkey bread

Most of the monkey bread I have seen and eaten are so sweet, with the massive amount of caramel sauce and sometimes with a glaze drizzled on top. So here I am trying to make a less sweet version as usual. If you are thinking why, well honestly I think it doesn’t have to be soaked in sugar to be tasty. Sweet enriched bread is already very tasty and all you need is a little glaze or a thin coating of caramel to round it off. The caramel sauce is another dimension of flavor and texture of course.

sourdough monkey bread

Saying that, I don’t mean to say it is bad to have plenty of sauce. By all means, you are free to do as you wish… ha ha I will state alternatives where necessary.

sourdough monkey bread
pull apart

I’m using white sugar and a moderate amount of cinnamon, but you can of course use dark/light brown sugar and double the amount of cinnamon used. This will result in a much darker and a thicker sauce.

And if you think you need a little something else, you can use following to make a quick drizzle to pour over the top;

  • cream cheese and lemon
  • powdered sugar and water
  • powdered sugar and lemon juice
sourdough monkey bread
best served warm

You can make this on the same day or retard the dough over night. It is up to you. I have retarded overnight as usual, because that best fits my schedule and I had planned to server these for morning tea/brunch on Sunday.


Make the starter the night before. I’m using a 70 % hydrated

anywhere from 70 – 80 % hydration is okay. You can always reduce the amount of water content in the dough later, if your starter is watery.


Mix everything in a mixer/ use a spatula and then your hands. Make sure to add water gradually and stop as soon as you achieved the soft dough state. Dough might be a little sticky. Bring on to a floured surface and knead by hand (or do folds if its sticky) then get it to a almost smooth dough like shown in the picture.


Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm (75F-100F) place to rise. May take about 4 1/2 hours

I use my oven for this. I place a cup of boiling water in it to get the temperature and the humidity up. Replace the water with boiling water when it has turned completely cold.

proofed dough

This is how the dough looks after 4 – 41/2 hours proofing. It has almost doubled. At this stage you can choose if you are retarding or continue to make the bread on the same day.

If continuing, leave for another 30 – 40 minutes to proof. Punch down the dough, and continue to make the monkey bread, skip the next 2 steps


Punch down the dough and bring it to a smooth ball. Place back in the container, close tightly and refrigerate until next day. This will now retard the dough. In other words, it will continue to ferment but very slowly.

thawed dough

Next day, morning (5 a.m or 6 a.m) pull the dough out and let it thaw. I place this in a warm place to speed it up. Check if it is soft by poking the dough. (you can see the indents of my fingers on the dough) If it is soft, it ready for the next stage.

flatten the dough

Take the dough out on to a floured surface, roll it out to a square roughly about 1/2 an inch thickness. This doesn’t have to be exact.

cut the dough

Cut the dough into tiny squares. roughly about 1 ” by 1″. they can be of different sizes and shape, don’t worry

bundt pan

Prepare a 10 cup pan of your choice by applying a coating of non stick spray or butter on the inside.

I’m using a 12 cup heavy bundt pan

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cinnamon sugar

Make the cinnamon sugar by combining 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tsp of ground cinnamon.

Use dark or light brown sugar if you prefer a deeper caramel flavor.

If using brown sugar, you might need about a cup of sugar as they stick more

melted butter

Melt 4 tbsp of butter and cool it down

dough pieces

Dip the dough pieces in butter and then in cinnamon sugar mixture and place in the prepared pan. Do not press down.

keep the leftover butter and sugar

dough pieces

Pack the dough pieces loosely. Try to evenly spread around the tin. Now this is ready for the final proofing. Loosely cover the top with a plastic or a tea towel and place in a warm, draft free area

I use the oven again, with a cup of boiling water placed in.

Final proof may take another 3-4 hours

proofed dough

You will know it’s proofed, when the dough pieces have puffed up to fill 3/4 of the tin.

preheat the oven to 350 F

Melt the left over butter, if there is any and dissolve any remaining sugar. Pour this mixture around the pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes

baked bread

Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool off on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

Turn out on to a plate and let this cool down until you can touch with your fingers.

You can store this in a air-tight container for up to two days in room temperature

Decorate with a preferred choice of drizzle or a dusting of icing sugar

sourdough monkey bread

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  1. I made this during quarantine, using half white sugar and half brown sugar. It was delicious; great texture and sweet, but not tooth-achingly sweet like store bought cinnamon rolls.

    Oh, and I formed the shapes and dipped in butter / sugar all on day 1, then let that proof overnight in the oven and baked it the morning of day 2, and it worked great.

    Thank you for this recipe!

    1. You are welcome, I am so glad you liked it.
      And I love the fact that you tweaked the process to suit your schedule. Way to go!!

  2. I made the dough today and just put it in the fridge for the cold ferment. I think I am going to make fried donuts with it instead of baked monkey bread since I’ve been sharing all my baked goods with my parents (we live next to each other) during this quarantine. I only have a single large bundt pan and it would be a challenge to split the dough between two baking pans.

    1. Good idea, hope they would be yummy.
      Keep us updated on how they turned out, I’m sure there are other who might want to try this 🙂

    2. I did a thing…
      I used your wonderful recipe, added 1/2 cup crushed pineapple and 1/2 cup flaked coconut.
      Dark brown sugar and it’s a pineapple upside down monkey bread…SO YUMMY! Would’ve taken a picture but they ate it all.

  3. Just had this for breakfast…
    Another success out of your recipes.
    Can’t believe how amazing it turned …THANK YOU!

  4. I am just starting it again :)) it’s been requested for birthday breakfast! 🙂

    I can’t wait to make also those apple cinnamon rolls you posted on instagram.

    1. WOW! You must have done a good job there!! 😀
      Yes, cinnamon rolls were a hit. Let me know what you think, if you did make it.
      Happy baking!

  5. Could you prep up to the rise in the pan the night before so all you have to do is let it warm up and pop in the oven in the AM? My kids are HUNGRY at 7 am – ha ha!

    1. Ha ha I get it! 😀
      The thing is sugar would melt in the fridge over night and the texture will all be different! But it will still be yummy!
      If you do this then make some extra quick caramel (butter and sugar melted until runny) and pour it over the inverted baked monkey bread and let it cool.

      option 2: bake it the day before and refresh it in a moderate oven in the morning (10 minutes in a 180 Celsius oven will do). It will be (almost)as good as freshly baked!

      Hope this helps!

  6. I tried your apple cinnamon rolls before, and it was a success. I am so excited to try this recipe. But instead of making monkey bread, i am going to make what is called in my community “ bees’ cell”. It is basically a stuffed small ball with cream cheese and we put it a flat cake pan. When it is full, it will be similar to bees’ cell. And when it is baked, we put sugar syrup over it.
    I will share with you the result when i make it. Thank you for the recipe xox

    1. Oh yumm… let me know how it went. I might try to make that too, cos they sounds incredible 😀

  7. Finally trying this recipe that I’d had my eye on for a while. I’m wondering why some of the measurements are in grams and others in cups. Would be great to have everything in grams so I can use my kitchen scale without having to make conversions. Just a suggestion 🙂

    1. I just prefer to use cup measures for liquid and that’s how I organically approach home baking. I am however in the process of updating all my recipes to include both cup and grams. In the mean time you can use a google converter to get a rough figure and this is what I do when I follow recipes from other bloggers. What google gives is usually very accurate!

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