Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monkey Bread with Dill, Butter and Sea Salt

When I got a huge bunch of dill in my CSA box, I struggled to find uses for the dill. It felt a bit out of season, but then again it is still warm in California in early November. I've made tzatiki with pita triangles, zucchini dill and feta patties, dill feta and scallion scrambled eggs and even dill pilaf.

Then I remembered a wonderful meal I had during my last few days in Chicago at The Bristol and the incredible monkey bread pull apart with dill, butter and salt.

This isn't sweet Monkey bread, you know the kind with cinnamon, caramel and cream cheese icing; this is monkey bread for grownups. Buttery, warm and fluffy pull-apart pieces of bread flavored with dill and sea salt and dipped into a dill butter sauce.

And it is so much fun to eat! You "pull apart" the warm fluffy bread balls from the loaf and dip into a salty, dill butter sauce.

And the chef even shared his wonderful recipe with Chicago Magazine with a fabulous short video demonstrating the steps!

You knead the dough in a stand mixer with fresh dill and then let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

Once it rises, you punch it down, section it off into pieces and form into balls and arrange into a loaf pan. Allow the loaf to rise again for 20 minutes, brush with melted butter and dill, sprinkle with sea salt. Then bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, brushing with melted butter and dill again and serve hot with a dill, butter and sea salt dipping sauce.

The recipe suggests placing 7 balls in a 4 oz loaf pan, but I only had a full sized loaf pan and it worked just fine. 

We feasted on the warm dill monkey bread right out of the oven for brunch along with our favorite herb and parmesan baked eggs.

Chris Pandel’s Monkey Bread with Dill, Butter, and Sea Salt (Chicago Magazine)
Yield: 4 loafs (8 oz pans)
Total prep time: 2 hours

Yeast Mixture
Proof time: 10 minutes
2 tbsp warm water (about 110-115 degrees)
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp white sugar

1. Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small mixing bowl. Set aside for ten minutes to allow yeast to proof (bubbles will form at the surface).

Dough Preparation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Rise time: 30 minutes
2 ¼ cups bread flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp fresh dill, torninto small pieces

1. Mix flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Set bowl on mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
2. With the mixer set on medium speed, slowly add the proofed yeast mixture to the dry ingredients, followed by the milk, egg, and melted butter. Add the dill.
3. Mix on medium speed just until the dough releases from the side of the bowl, about 6-to-8 minutes. Knead dough together lightly with your hands.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Allow dough to rise for 25-30 minutes.

Monkey Bread Loaves
Prep time: 15 minutes
Rise time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 12 minutes

4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
2 tbsp fresh dill, torn into small pieces
1 tbsp sea salt

1. After 30 minutes, punch dough down and roll into 56 balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
2. Mix 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and dill together, roll balls in the mixture, and arrange in 8 lightly greased 4-ounce aluminum loaf pans (7 balls per pan).
3. Allow loaves to rise once more in a warm spot for 20 minutes.
4. Brush loaves again with melted butter, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes, brushing twice throughout the baking with the remaining two tablespoons of melted butter.
5. Serve loaves hot out of the oven with a mixture of melted butter, fresh dill, and sea salt.


  1. The dill monkey bread sounds soooo good. Thank you for including the video as it is always nice to watch a recipe in action.

  2. I didn't know that monkeys had such a good taste :)


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