Gen-Z’s. The Digital Natives. As expected, most of them are surgically attached to their electronics. iPhone, iTouch, PSP. With these portable friends, they can surf the net, play games, listen to music, take photos, communicate with each other.

You, who were born during the era of black, rotary dial telephones and television sets that came with their own cupboards, cannot comprehend this new breed. You complain that the kids these days don’t anymore go out and enjoy the sun. That they don’t anymore know how to be creative and build things from scratch.

Truth is, you’re old-fashioned and haven’t caught on with technology. And more importantly, you just want to spend a few moments with your children without letting them feel that you’re robbing them of their precious ‘me’ time.

Enter baker’s play dough. What do you know? The idea alone managed to peel my 12-year old off of his Nintendo DS. Mentioned that I invited his fave cousin to join us, he switched from ‘ok, I’ll help you’ to ‘what time are we going to start?.’

It only took us 4 hours from start to finish but in between, it was an uber-fun (albeit messy) affair. The kids kneaded their own dough, cut them into pieces and rolled them into balls. Then came the greasy construction interspersed with the occasional flicks of bacon fat and semi-molten chocolate at each other.

After clearing the table of butter drips and two kids’ faces of meaty slicks and chocolate smears, we admire the towers of bubble rising inside the oven. And noticing their eyes beaming with absolute pride, who says kids these days can’t build anything from scratch? We may have arrived at the age of the Avatar but I’m confident these digital natives will do just fine. Especially with a little help from imaginative Gen-X’ers!

xxx

Karima


Monkey Bread

Makes 6 4-inch breads
Adapted from Chocolatier Magazine, June 1996 Issue

Ingredients:

Dough

4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup milk
7 tbs unsalted butter
3 large eggs
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Assembly

Bacon and Cheddar

3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
100 gms bacon bits, pan-fried
1/2 cup grated white cheddar
1/2 cup grated red cheddar

Italian Herbs and Garlic

3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
4 tbs dried Italian herb blend
2 tbs chopped fresh garlic

Chocolate Chip

3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 oz mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz mini white chocolate chips

Method:

Combine yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the warm water. Heat the milk, butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan until the butter melts. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Let stand until just warm. Whisk in the eggs one at a time into the milk mixture then add the yeast mixture.

Combine 3 cups flour and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Pour over the yeast-egg-milk mixture and stir to form a thick batter. Add the remaining flour, half a cup at a time, to form a soft dough.

Turn out onto a well-floured board and knead until smooth and supple, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle additional flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking to the board.

Transfer to a well-buttered bowl, swiping the dough to get an even slick of butter all over. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let stand in a warm place for about an hour and a half.

When the dough has doubled in size, coat the inside of tube pans with softened butter. Gently punch down the dough and turn out to a lightly floured board. Divide dough into portions equal to the number of pans you are using (in my case, 6 4-inch mini bundt pans). Then further divide each into smaller pieces and roll into balls.

Assembly:

Dunk the balls in melted butter then roll into the desired flavoring. Drop the dough balls into the pans, making sure they’re evenly distributed. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Just cover spaces as much as possible. It is a good idea though to keep the top surface balanced so that they brown evenly.

You may choose to coat each dough ball in butter, arrange a layer at the bottom of the pan then sprinkle with desired flavor blend. Repeat layers until dough balls fill three quarters of the pan.

Cover the top with cling wrap and let rise for the second time until doubled in volume. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 15 minutes before baking.

Bake the breads on the middle rack of the oven for about 20 mins. Halfway through the baking time, lay a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the pans, to completely set the top of the bread and prevent it from over browning. You may check doneness by sticking a wooden toothpick into the center of the bread. It should come out dry.

Let cool on a wire rack then carefully remove bread from pans to cool completely. Enjoy right away or leave some for breakfast the following day, if they’re not gone by then!


About Karima

A hospitality professional who has a passion for languages and the arts, Karima loves to travel to culinary destinations and acquire a deep understanding of their food philosophies. At home, she finds pleasure in cooking and mixing cocktails for her family and friends.

3 Comments

  1. Posted August 23, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    These breads look so proffessional. I love the three different combinations. Very nice and they look very very tasty! YUMM!

  2. Posted August 31, 2010 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    The herb and garlic bread is

    calling my name. It’s saying,

    “you know you want to abandon

    your silly low carb diet.” And

    looking at these photos, I must

    admit, that sounds like a good

    idea right now.

    Cheers!

  3. Karima Danao
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Reginald

    You shouldn’t deprive yourself of bread. It’s one of the basic food groups, alongside bacon, cheese and wine (in my case, a supremely chilled Grigio)!

    Cheers
    Karima