Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Savoury monkey bread - sourdough and vegan

The idea came to me as I sat watching tv on the last saturday night before term 4 of school started.  My usual bread dough was ready to sit overnight and I dreamed of making the most of the last day of the holidays by making monkey bread.  So I kneaded oil and sugar into the dough.  It was a mess so I don't recommend you do this but I can tell you that the other half of the dough made a wonderful soft bread.

But today I am here to tell you about the monkey bread so I have halved the dough in the recipe below.  (But I recommend you double it because you can always use a loaf of bread even if it is to give to a friend!) 

I hadn't really known much about monkey bread but apparently it is usually a sweet bread baked with lots of little balls of dough dipped in butter and sugar.

The idea came from the recipe for savoury monkey bread in the Coles supermarket magazine many months ago.  The idea stayed in my head because this bread with lots of little different coloured balls looked so beautiful.  And my overnight sourdough bread is so easy, that it will adapt to any idea.

I had to think about what different herbs/spices/seeds to roll the balls in.  This was a chance to use my new jackaroo dukkah.  Sesame seeds and poppy seeds were obvious.  I had used lots of parsley in a salad so I had a little parsley, some baby leeks and thyme for the green herby balls.  I wanted to try my supergreen powder and I mixed some beetroot powder with smoked paprika and salt for a smoky taste.  The greens powder was no good. 

I wondered about other spice mixes or other seeds (sunflower?, pumpkin? chia?) and crushed nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds?).  Or something else might take your fancy.  Sylvia had me try some finely chopped nori on a few pieces but I was not keen on the taste.

I will give you this warning.  Do not make this bread if you are in a hurry.  The dough was pretty easy but rolling out lots of little balls and then rolling them in seeds and spices took ages.  I am sure it was the most time intensive bread I have ever made.  Normally I take 5 or 10 minutes to shape my bread and then took me well over an hour. 

However if you are avoiding cleaning the shower, this is an excellent way to convince yourself you are doing something else very important!  (Of course the shower did get eventually cleaned because there are some things that have to be done before school starts!)

My other disclaimer is that my bread did not keep together.  Oh the disappointment after all the work.  But after all that work, I am still going to share what I did and what I might do again.  I read somewhere that grated cheese could keep it together.  I was trying to keep it vegan but perhaps biolife cheese might work.  Or perhaps it could be baked in a skillet with a lid and eaten straight out of it.  I have seen videos where you bake the bread around a dish and then once cooked replace the little bowl with a bowl of dipping sauce.  We ate our bread with dips and with ratatouille.  It really made the meal more fun.  Who knows I might even have another go!

More fun yeasty/sourdough ideas on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Buffalo cauliflower sourdough pizza with tofu blue cheese (v)
Doughnuts - baked and topped with chocolate and coconut bacon (v)
Malted loaf with chocolate, figs and brazil nuts (v) 
Pumpernickel rolls with currants (v) 
Sourdough cheeseymite scrolls

Savoury monkey bread
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe

For bread dough:
150g of bubbly starter
285g water
9g salt
1/2 tsp sugar
40ml olive oil
500g of flour

For rolling balls: 
100g melted butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp poppy seeds
3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp dukkah
3-4 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tbsp beetroot powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt

grated cheese (optional, and can be vegan such as biolife)

[A few hours before making the loaf, take sourdough starter out of the fridge and feed it so it gets nice and bubbly before you weigh it.]

In the late evening, at least half an hour before going to bed (or first thing in the morning) mix the bread dough ingredients together.  It is easiest to mix everything except flour first and then add flour.  Use hands to mix if required.  Set aside covered with a tea towel for half an hour.  Knead in the bowl for about 1 minute.  Cover with greased clingwrap and leave at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured board.  Cut into four and then cut each quarter into 6 pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball.  (I started trying to shape it with the skin pulled tight but there were so many to shape I gave up.)  Use flour to stop it sticking to you.

Line a 26cm diameter lidded casserole dish / dutch oven and place a small ovenproof ramekin or bowl in the middle.  Set out the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dukkah and parsley into 4 small shallow bowls.  Stir together the beetroot powder, smoked paprika and salt in another small bowl.  Mix melted butter and garlic together.  Brush each ball with garlic butter and dip in one of the bowls of seeds/spices/herbs.  Arrange the balls in the casserole dish around the ramekin so that they are a patchwork of colours.  I got two layers of balls in and put some cashew cream between but it didn't make much impact or hold the balls together.  Maybe next time grated cheese?

Preheat oven to 240 C and let balls rise for 30 minutes with the lid on.  Then bake for 40 minutes covered (turning around once to bake evenly).  Reduce heat to 180 C and bake for 10 minutes until just lightly golden brown.  Turn out onto a wire rack to eat warm or room temperature.  They last for a day or two but are best eaten on the day of baking.

NOTES: For more extensive notes on this method, go to my post on overnight sourdough bread.  Other toppings would work for rolling the bread balls such as other spice mixes, seeds and nuts.

On the stereo:
Greatest Hits: Queen


  1. I am in complete admiration of you and your inventive culinary head. This is awesome in every sense and its not a word I use often. Love this, how very original and creative. And even though it did not stick together, its still fabulous. I may give this a go Johanna.

  2. What a clever idea, it looks gorgeous!

  3. This is beautiful! Even if the end result didn't meet your imagined one, I bet the taste was amazing!

  4. How pretty is this! Love it.

  5. This is such a great idea! I've made a sweet monkey bread but not a savoury one.

  6. I've never made the sweet or savoury monkey bread, but it looks phenomenal. The not sticking together doesn't seem like a massive problem - I'd be tearing into this in two minutes flat and there wouldn't be enough of it left to worry about it. What's jackaroo dukkah, by the way? I know dukkah, but not the jackaroo type!


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