Bread Machine Monkey Bread Inspired by Helen Corbitt

Helen Corbitt's Monkey Bread-66

Pull off a piece of this buttery monkey bread as big as you please.

Before children, I worked at the Greenhouse, a luxury health spa where women still go to relax and lose weight. Ms. Helen Corbitt had planned all of our menus using her recipes.  That’s where I learned about  this beautiful and buttery, brioche-like bread.

Helen Corbitt's Monkey Bread-5

Turn them out of the pan immediately to serve.

As you can see, this is not the usual biscuits-out-of-a-can-rolled-in-a-ball-then-coated-with-cinnamon-and-sugar kind of monkey bread. It’s so much better and easy too–if you use a bread machine.  You don’t have to roll little balls.  This version is not cinnamon-sugary sweet but you could easily modify it.  The original recipe was found in Helen Corbitt Cooks for Company but I have made so many revisions, she would barely recognize it. It is now a family favorite both of my daughters-in-law like to bake. We ALL love to eat it.

breadmachine story board_edited-1

Don’t be afraid to open the lid after bread has been mixing a few minutes and add flour or liquid as needed to make the perfect dough.

IMPORTANT TIPS if you have not used a bread machine very much:

After the machine has been on about 8-10 minutes, open the lid and check progress.  Several things might be going on you will want to remedy immediately.  As seen in the top left picture below, the dough may be too thin.  You could have forgotten part of the flour…as in counted the cups wrong.  I’ve never done that. Much. Perhaps you substituted a different flour, i.e. whole wheat, bleached, or bread flour for the unbleached flour.  It makes a difference!  Add flour one tablespoon at a time until it looks like the bottom picture.

If your dough looks like the upper right picture, it is too dry.  It may beat against the side of the pan rather loudly. You have added too much flour or not enough liquid.  Maybe you used a smaller egg than specified or perhaps you mismeasured the flour.  Add 1 tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks like the bottom picture.

The perfect dough will usually clean the sides but stick slightly, then pull away. Of course, there can be slight variations among recipes.

One more good reason to check your bread is to ensure you have pushed the pan down tightly so the kneading blade is engaged.  Otherwise, absolutely nothing will be happening in your pan even though you hear the bread machine running. Same thing happens if you forgot to put the blade in the pan.

BACK TO THE MONKEY BREAD-after dough has risen and then been removed from the bread machine.

monkey bread storyboard_edited-2

Slice dough into approximately 1-inch diamonds or squares. I do not roll in balls. It’s part of the tradition. In fact, I use a pizza cutter.

. (Please ignore the condition of this pan.  It’s seen a lot of monkey bread in its time)

storyboard monkey bread  3_edited-1

Melt 1/4 cup butter. Dip each piece in butter and layer rather haphazardly into nonstick bundt pan. Cover and let rise until double.

One last warning:  If you serve this on a buffet to people who don’t know about it, they often won’t touch it, thinking it is a dessert or some kind of cake.  But once somebody pulls off the first piece, it’s “Katie, bar the door!” because it will be disappearing in a flash.

Bread Machine Monkey Bread Inspired by Helen Corbitt
Recipe type: Yeast Bread
Serves: 8-10
A pull-apart, brioche-like yeast bread, mixed and kneaded in a bread machine, then baked in the oven in a bundt pan.
  • 1 c. warm milk
  • 1¼ t. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup butter, softened + additional ¼ butter for dipping dough before adding to pan
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3-1/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
  1. Dump all ingredients into bread machine in order listed. Select dough cycle and start.
  2. Check dough about 10 minutes into the mixing process. If too sticky (see discussion below), add extra flour one tablespoon at a time.
  3. At the end of the dough cycle, remove bread to floured surface. Roll or press till about ¾ inch thick. No need to get the ruler. Preciseness is unimportant at this point.
  4. At the end of the dough cycle, remove bread to floured surface. Roll or press till about ¾ inch thick. No need to get the ruler. Preciseness is unimportant at this point.
  5. Slice dough into approximately 1-inch diamonds or squares. I do not roll in balls. It's part of the tradition. In fact, I use a pizza cutter.
  6. Melt ¼ cup butter. Dip each piece in butter and layer rather haphazardly into nonstick bundt pan. Cover and let rise until double.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown and/or temperature registers 190 degrees F. Cover with foil after 10 minutes to keep top from over browning. If not as brown as you would like, remove the foil for last few minutes. This burns easily on top, so watch carefully.
  8. Turn out onto serving plate. Serve uncut and let people pull off what they want.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Joni Cole April 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Hello Paula is there a certain way to mix the dough when doing it by hand?


Paula April 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Hi Joni,
Look online or in a basic cookbook like Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens for a basic loaf of white bread. Mix and knead it according to the directions. After the second rise, come back to my recipe to shape it.


kara November 25, 2015 at 11:04 am

One more question, how long does it take to rise?


Paula November 26, 2015 at 6:43 am

Depends on several factors, especially the ambient temperature. First rise may take an hour or more. Second rise may take 30-40 minutes or more. You want dough to double in size first time and almost double after you put dough in the pan before baking.


kara November 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I don’t have a bread machine help!!! Please


Paula November 25, 2015 at 6:24 am

You can mix and knead dough with a stand mixer, or you can do it by hand if you have the time and energy in your arms.


Dee July 31, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Hi! I collect vintage cookbooks, but they have to have a story and Helen’s cookbooks all sit on my shelf. I loved reading everything about her! I found out about her in an article about the Zodiac Room and the Orange Souffle. I have the Cooks for Looks as well as the Greenhouse Cookbook! I can’t believe women were only given 850 calories a day!! With an exercise routine! For grins, I plan on starting the Greenhouse regime Monday, but I don’t see this amazing bread on the menus!!! =) Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing!!


Bek November 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

Hi! Question. Do you know if this recipie makes 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds of dough? My bread machine has to have that in the settings… I guess I could measure the ingredients?


Paula November 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm

3 cups of flour is roughly 1.5 pounds of dough when making bread.


Bek December 1, 2014 at 9:37 am

Thank you! I ended up using the 2 pound setting. The bread turned out amazing and my whole family gobbled it up! thank you. I will be saving this!


Bobbie Bentneedle May 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Question – can the “making” part be done on one evening, and the ready to go in the oven Monkey Bread be covered and refrigerated until the following afternoon? I presume that one would have to take it out of the fridge 1 – 1 1/2 hours before you’d normally think it’d need to start rising? After reading so many of your recipes, I finally dusted off my bread machine which I’d used 2 times and my MiL had used once… and started out with the swirly dog recipe – which was voted to “remain on the island!” I was thinking I could prep this for our Wednesday night potluck on Tuesday night, and Mom/DH could pull it out mid-afternoon to warm/raise then bake as normal for potluck? Thought?


Paula May 7, 2013 at 9:35 am

Hmmm. I’m not sure Bobbie since I have not tried it with this particular dough. Let me know if you do. My personal experience is that dough with potatoes in it works really good this way so I stick with that.


Bobbie Bentneedle May 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Thanks for the response. I love “potato bread” and have the sweet potato rolls on my list of recipes to try. Think that dough would do OK in the “monkey bread” form?


Sylvia October 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

Made this (not in a bunt pan-spring form cake pan used) for a halloween party this weekend. Used red icing to top for a “brainy” look. It looked (and tasted) great!

I am new to bread machining. This was my 3rd time using the machine (bought used $10). I am SO glad that I found this website. Will be visiting often, probably making each and every recipe you got (maybe twice)!

Thank you


Paula October 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm

What a cool idea! Perfect for the season. Glad you are enjoying your bread machine.


Kathleen Johnston October 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I just made this bread today and have just removed it from the oven. It is taking all that I have not to eat every bit of this. It is just lovely, sweet, and tender. I can hardly wait till my family can get to it. Thanks bunches. I am really enjoying my Zo….



Megan March 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thank you so much for your recipe! My mom would always make monkey bread when I was a kid! It’s just a buttery, pull apart bread! I am making this now for my husband and little monkey!


sherry December 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

my grandmother use to make this bread for us when we were growing up many years ago but she didn’t use no bread machine nor do i it sitll turns out great.


Esther October 22, 2011 at 1:14 am

I made this twice now and will definitely keep this recipe in the family. Bread was very light and delicious. Thank you


Paula October 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

Thanks for returning to say so. This is the most favorite bread recipe of both of my daughter-in-laws. I think they like not having to worry about making nice shapes.


Jordana May 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

WOW! I have been looking for a great (white) bread recipe for the bread machine for quite some time… I also like monkey bread, so this looks like an awesome recipe for me to try…. going to make this today for my “monkies” thanks!


Hannah February 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Wow!! I don’t know what the original recipe tastes like but my non-dairy version is out of this world. I used soymilk and vegan “like” butter sticks and the results are excellent. I baked in a dutch oven and it’s delicious!!!! Thanks


Gloria March 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Gracias por la receta se ve rica


Janell November 19, 2009 at 9:02 am

Yum, this looks delicious! I may put it on my menu for next week when all the kids are home! I think you went to OCC with my sister, Suzette Hendrix Stephens. I work at OC now. My sister, Jane Buntley, sent me the link to your blog and I love it! I’m going to have to do the salad in a jar trick!


Elaine November 7, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Thanks for the recipe sounds like what I was looking for (something fun for Thanksgiving)


Kimmie October 29, 2009 at 6:32 pm

It’s my first time here…what a lovely place to be.

Your recipe sounds wonderful…and I have 7 monkey children that will love to pull it apart with abandon!

thanks so much!!
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted


Anne October 6, 2009 at 10:04 am

Wow that looks wonderful- I think my husband would love that!


COZY KITCHEN BY THE SEA October 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm



Susie October 5, 2009 at 10:32 am

I LOVE your monkey bread, such a great recipe! It is definitely a crowd pleaser (or should I say, husband pleaser?)


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