Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Ex Bake Off winner John Whaite shares a monkey bread recipe that is sure to earn you star baker

A bread recipe you knead to try!

john whaite monkey bread
Share this:

Bread week was upon us ladies and gentlemen! The week that is Mr Paul Hollywood's speciality and, consequently, the contestants most feared and our most anticipated. Fancy yourself up to the challenges of bread week? Former Great British Bake Off winner, John Whaite, has shared with HELLO! a fun monkey bread recipe for those who need a bit of sweetness after the tense episode...

John says: "Monkey bread sounds fun, and it most certainly is. It’s basically balls of pillowy white bread dough dipped into syrup and coated in sugar, then baked as a whole. Sort of like a very rough and ready share-and-tear loaf. My version – for an exceedingly indulgent brunch – is laced with coffee syrup and served with ice cream, a combination inspired by the Italian classic, affogato."

MORE: Inspired by Bake Off? Try this boozy bake - THE brandy snap recipe to top them all


Serves 8-10


• Butter, for greasing

• 400g/14oz strong white bread flour

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 x 7g sachet fast-action or instant yeast

• 275ml/10fl oz water

• 125g/4 1/2oz unsalted butter

• 180g/6 1/2oz light brown muscovado sugar

• 150ml/1/4pt strong black coffee

• 1ltr/1 3/4pt vanilla  u

John Whaite Monkey Bread


1. Grease a 23cm/9in ring or savarin mould with butter.

2. I make the dough in my freestanding electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, but it can be made by hand. In a mixing bowl, toss together the flour with the salt and the yeast. Add the water – room temperature is fine – along with 50g/2oz of the butter. Bring the ingredients together to a scraggy mass then knead vigorously until elastic and smooth. This will take about 5 minutes on high speed in the mixer, or a good 10 minutes with full-throttle elbow grease by hand.

3. Bring the dough into a rough ball and place in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm, put in a warm place and allow the dough to prove and rise until about doubled in size – up to an hour.

4. While the dough proves, make the syrup. Place the remaining butter in a saucepan with 80g/3 1/2oz of the sugar and the black coffee. Stir everything together then bring to boil. Boil for just a minute, stirring until well mixed. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little. 

5. Put the remaining sugar into a bowl.

6. When the dough has risen, gently slap it a couple of times to knock it back – a technical term for ‘deflate’. Divide the dough into walnut-sized nuggets – about 30–35 in total. Roll each portion into a rough ball and dunk it into the coffee syrup, then into the sugar. 

7. Pile the dough balls into the prepared tin and pour over 2 tbsp of the syrup, reserving the rest for serving. Leave the dough to rise again, until it comes up to just under the rim of the tin – between 30 minutes and an hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. 

9. Once the dough has risen, bake for 35-40 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Invert the loaf immediately onto a wire rack and leave to cool for about 15 minutes – you should serve this warm, but not so hot that the ice cream melts instantly. Boil the remaining syrup in a small saucepan. 

10. Put the money bread onto a serving plate and pile the ice cream into the hole in the centre. Drizzle over the syrup. Allow the eaters to tear off chunks of bread and scoop up lashings of ice cream.

Variation: If you don’t have a ring mould you could use a 900g/2lb loaf tin instead, and serve slices of the bread topped with scoops of ice cream.

More Food

See more