While monkey bread—the pull-apart treat you make by baking a bunch of dough balls together in a bundt pan or cake pan—should always be over the top, it doesn't always need to be sweet.
Here, I start with the same rich brioche dough I use for cinnamon sugar monkey bread (though with a little less sugar) and then amp up the flavor with savory additions: grated cheese, chives, Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning, even bacon all can go in the mix. After resting overnight, the dough gets divided and rolled in more cheese, chives, and ranch seasoning before baking. The result is a buttery, addictive umami-bomb that would be at home on any brunch table. —Laura Sant
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Bacon-Ranch Monkey Bread
envelope active dry yeast
Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups
finely grated hard cheese, like Parmesan
fried, drained, and chopped bacon (optional)
Heat the milk to between 80 and 100°F. Mix with the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover with ¼ cup flour and let stand for 15-20 minutes, until you see cracks in the flour or small bubbles on the sides.
Add the sugar, remaining flour, 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning, and eggs and mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment until combined.
Begin slowly adding the softened butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, on low speed. Let each addition mix in fully before you add the next. After you’ve added about half, raise the speed to medium and continue adding the rest of the butter over 4-5 minutes. Add ½ cup cheese, bacon, and ½ cup chives and mix one minute more.
Once everything is fully incorporated, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Knead the dough once or twice, fold the edges in toward the center, and place it back in the bowl. Recover, and let rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with oiled parchment and gently flatten into a rectangle (the dough will be quite sticky—dip your fingers in a little water to keep it from sticking to you). Cover with plastic and return to the fridge overnight.
The next morning, brush a bundt pan or cake pan with butter and dust with flour. Cut dough into roughly 1½” -square pieces. Combine 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning, remaining chives, and remaining Parmesan. Roll each piece of dough in cheese mixture and place into pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until approximately doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
Toward the end of the rise, preheat your oven to 325°F. Bake bread for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown. Loosely cover the top with foil after 20 minutes if it's browning too quickly. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes and then flip onto a rack to finish cooling.