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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
While nobody seems to know how Monkey Bread got
its name, there is agreement that it must be made from
dough that has been cut into small pieces and then
lumped together to form loaves.

Monkey around
with rich bread

The Monkey Bread lies in wait for new hires at the Mariposa restaurant at Neiman Marcus.

"Everyone has their honeymoon with the Monkey Bread when they first start working here," chef Doug Lum says. It lasts until they find out how much butter (read that: fat) goes into the soft, mildly sweet buns, and then they start easing off.

The buns are made with quite a bit of butter, then are dipped in more before and after they're baked, for softness.

"You can just feel yourself getting bigger when you eat one," Lum says.

But the scent of a panful just out of the oven is very hard to resist. "I usually get into the kitchen about the time the first batch of Monkey Bread comes out," he says. Very convenient, or very challenging to the willpower.

Monkey Bread is what they bring to the table shortly after you sit down to dinner at Mariposa. Earlier in the day it's the other house specialty, popovers.

Susy Kawamoto, an experienced baker, is a great admirer of the Monkey Bread and asked for the recipe. "The texture is sooooo indescribably smooth, soft and fluffy, not dry or coarse. ... It doesn't have that yeasty taste or smell that you sometimes get with other sweet breads. ... It's just one of the best breads that I have ever eaten!"

Quite a testimonial.

Lum credits the butter for bringing out all those fine qualities, and also the fact that the bun is not too sweet. "It's just meant to be a hint of sweetness, so it keeps you chewing."

Monkey Bread is a traditional confection made of clumps of dough formed into a loaf and baked together, usually in a round or tube shape. It may be flavored with raisins, nuts or cinnamon, or sometimes cheese. At Mariposa, though, they're served unadorned and in individual portions as pull-apart buns.

Lum says he doesn't know where the name came from. "I asked the same question when I started here and the overall consensus is it's cut up and put back together and meant to be pulled apart."

Not sure what that has to do with monkeys, but whatever works.

Included here is the recipe for Poha Butter, served with both Monkey Bread and popovers at Mariposa.

The popover recipe was published here on Nov. 4, 1998.

Monkey Bread

1-1/2 packages dry yeast (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
1 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3-1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup (or as needed) melted butter for dipping

Combine yeast, milk and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand until yeast is dissolved.

Add remaining sugar, salt and melted butter. Stir in flour to make a soft dough, using a standing mixer with paddle attachment or mix by hand. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2-inch thick. Use knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into 2-inch squares.

Gather up 4-5 squares of dough and crush together with fingers. Dip ends in melted butter and place in ungreased muffin tin, buttered side down.

Repeat with remaining dough. Let rise until doubled in bulk, 30-40 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with more melted butter. Makes about 1 dozen.

Poha Berry Butter

1/2 pound butter, softened
1/3 cup poha berry preserves

Combine both ingredients and mix until well-blended. Makes 22 tablespoons.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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