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Sweet Potato Monkey Bread

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Make for Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast, or just a weekend brunch! This sweet potato monkey bread recipe is a delicious treat anytime. It’s also a unique way to use up any leftover sweet potatoes you may have in the house.

sweet potato monkey bread on a glass plate

Have you ever made monkey bread from scratch, darlings? It’s surprisingly easy, and tastes so good. This sweet breakfast recipe is a favorite for us in the fall and early winter when sweet potatoes are in peak season. The scent of warm spices and toasted pecans just calls everyone together for the perfect indulgence on a crisp, cool morning.

What is monkey bread?

Monkey bread, if you aren’t familiar, is a pull apart bread made in a tube or bundt pan. A popular shortcut version uses canned biscuits, but you can definitely make it in fun flavors with a diy yeast bread. This sweet potato pecan monkey bread is a great example. 😉

Usually served in the morning, this is a popular holiday breakfast recipe. Many friends make this or cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast or when family visits over Thanksgiving. It’s a great recipe to feed a crowd as part of a brunch spread. Not to mention, it pairs beautifully with coffee, tea, or your preferred warm morning breakfast beverage. My littles like hot cocoa when we let them.

Of course, there is no wrong time to enjoy, and this sweet potato bread would also make a lovely teatime treat or dessert.

Doesn’t making sweet potato monkey bread from scratch take a long time?

Since the bread is best fresh, you’re going to want to think about when you want to bake and prep. You have to account for two dough risings. Allowing the dough enough time to rise is so important for a successful result. Letting the yeast work properly helps your bread develop that soft texture you want.

That means it’s super important to know when you want to serve your bread and then work backwards planning prep time. If you want to serve this for breakfast, I’m going to recommend you take the option for the overnight rise. It works better for night owls so you don’t have to be up at dawn to prepare. If you’re serving for brunch and like a little quiet time in the morning, you’ll be fine doing it all in one day. You all know my advice with most recipes is to think about what works for you and do that.

One thing you can and should definitely plan to do in advance is boil and mash your potatoes. You don’t want to add hot potatoes to your dough, so take care of that early. I’ve used leftover mostly plain mashed sweet potato before and the bread has turned out just fine.

By mostly plain I mean I didn’t use a ton of butter, salt, or any heavy seasonings. Those will influence the flavor of the bread if very strong. And if you don’t feel like mashing sweet potatoes, they sell them in a can, like pumpkin puree, and you can use that. Or pumpkin puree. You do you!

Can I make this overnight?

Yes, but to prevent the bread from proofing too long, complete the first rise at night. This isn’t the kind of recipe where you can start it at 1 p.m. and then bake the next morning at 8 a.m. with the best results. Again, it can be done, but if you’re new to yeast bread baking, following the steps as is will give you the best results.

The way we stretch out the prep time so you can make the bread the day before to bake in the morning is by using the refrigerator. Allowing your dough to rise in the refrigerator slows down the yeast so overall rise time is longer. That’s why in theory you could complete both rises in the fridge. But I haven’t tested that enough yet to give you exact times. I have done this overnight.

sweet potato monkey bread ready to serve with blue and gold plates in the background

To make overnight monkey bread from scratch, start the dough in the evening. I usually start it around 7:30 after the kids have gone to bed. By the time it’s mixed, completed the first rise, and I’ve cut the pieces and arranged them in the baking pan, it’s just before 10 pm.

I wrap the pan, place it in the refrigerator overnight, then remove from the refrigerator in the morning while I preheat the oven. Bake the bread, and it’s ready to serve about an hour and 45 minutes after I’ve woken up. That’s enough time to brew coffee and get the rest of the house going.

That kind of timeline makes this a perfect Christmas morning breakfast option! The bread bakes while presents are opened. By the time that’s done and the table is set, the bread is ready to be served! Pair it with a savory dish like a low carb breakfast casserole and you’ve got something for everyone. I’d bake the casserole the night before, and then reheat while the bread is cooling in the morning.

I hope you enjoy this sweet potato monkey bread recipe, darlings! Happy baking!

Sweet Potato Monkey Bread

Sweet Potato Monkey Bread

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes

Sweet potato monkey bread from scratch is a perfect cool weather breakfast treat! Soft, spiced sweet potato bread with a caramelized sugar coating and toasted crunchy pecans. A perfect weekend brunch recipe.

Ingredients

Spice Mix (see notes):

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Monkey Bread Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered buttermilk (see notes)
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, cooled
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for dusting

Coating:

  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup untoasted pecans, chopped (see notes)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if doing this with a hand mixer or by hand), combine the water and yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until it looks foamy.
  2. While the yeast is activating, stir together your spice mixture in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Once the yeast is ready, add the salt, powdered buttermilk, sweet potato, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, vanilla, 2 teaspoons of your spice mixture, and 2 cups of your flour.
  4. Using the dough hook on your machine, mix on low speed until blended. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Stir on low speed until a rough dough is formed and you have no dry flour.
  5. Knead by machine, or on a lightly floured surface by hand, until smooth - about 3-5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled. This takes about an hour.
  6. When the dough is about ready, prepare your coating ingredients. Mix the granulated sugar with the remaining spice mixture and melt the butter.
  7. When the dough has completed the first rise, press it down, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand 2-3 times.
  8. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Working 1 at a time, roll each third into a rope about 18 inches long. Cut into approximately 18 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball.
  9. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan or tube pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle in 1/4 of the pecans.
  10. Dip each ball of dough in the melted butter and roll in the sugar and spice mixture. Arrange in the bundt pan, and sprinkle 1/4 of the pecans over the dough. Repeat 2 more times, making sure to stagger the dough balls so there are no large gaps.
  11. Cover your monkey bread with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled. If you are doing an overnight rise, cover and allow this rise to happen in the refrigerator.
  12. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place the bundt pan on a baking sheet and remove the plastic wrap. Put the bundt pan in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 50 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan before carefully inverting onto a serving dish.
  14. Monkey bread is best served immediately. Leftovers may be frozen in portions, or wrapped and stored at room temperature up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven as needed.

Notes

  • If you don't have all these spices on hand and don't want to make a custom spice mixture, substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice. Godmother tested and no one noticed. 😉
  • You can usually find powdered buttermilk in the baking aisle at the store. Sometimes it's near the canned milk. If you cannot find powdered buttermilk, substitute powdered milk.
  • I placed about 8 whole pecan halves upside down at the bottom of my bundt pan to add a decorative element to the finished bread. This is optional.

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