Sweet Potato Sesame Monkey Bread ( 紫薯猴子面包)



Don’t ask me why bread of this structure is called a monkey bread, I do not have the answer. Ha-ha. It is just many small bread dough stacked together and baked using a cake pan. As what most believed, it may be because the shape resembling the monkey puzzle tree, a type of pine tree.  Let’s see what Wikipedia have any definition for this:


“Monkey bread, also called monkey puzzle bread, sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake, pluck-it cake, bubble loaf and monkey brains is a sweet, sticky, gooey pastry served in the United States for breakfast. It consists of pieces of soft bread with cinnamon sprinkled on it. It is served at fairs and other parks as a treat. The Recipes for the bread first appeared in American women’s magazines and community cookbooks in the 1950s, and the dish is still virtually unknown outside the United States. The bread is made with pieces of sweet yeast dough (often frozen) which are baked in a cake pan at high heat after first being individually covered in melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and chopped pecans. It is traditionally served hot so that the baked segments can be easily torn away with the fingers and eaten by hand. Origin of the term “monkey bread” is uncertain. Possible etymologies include that the bread resembles the fruit of the monkey puzzle tree. “ (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_bread)


From the above write up, one could easily infer that the Western monkey bread has the following characteristics:

  • made with many pieces of small soft breads stack together and can be easily torn away
  • gooey and sticky – usually come with caramelized syrup or even chocolate sauce;
  • baked in a cake pan ;
  • coated with some powdery ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powders or others
  • some crunchy bits to go with the bread – possibly nuts, chocolate bits


Initially I have wanted to coat the bread with some gooey syrup but since most Asians do not have sweet tooth, I have decided to shelf the idea of drizzling with syrup but coated with castor sugar instead. Instead of using nuts, I have used the common Asian cooking ingredient- sesame seeds.


The bread dough recipe is a modified recipe of my own made using purple sweet potatoes. Purple sweet potatoes provide a nice lilac colour shade and some sweetness to the bread. In addition, it help to retain moisture in the bread.


For this recipe, the water used in this bread will very much depends on how wet is your mashed sweet potatoes. Unlike other recipes, you will have to exercise a bit of judgement in determining the final water added.



Servings: Prepared a 19 cm chiffon tube pan of bread


  • 250 grams of bread flour
  • 250 grams of purple sweet potatoes (steamed and mashed into puree)
  • 100 grams of sugar
  • 5 grams of salt
  • 11 grams (1 packet) of instant dry yeast
  • 30 grams of cooking oil
  • 1 egg
  • 50-60 grams of plain water (estimate)


  • 50 grams of roasted sesame seeds
  • 30 grams of melted butter (optional)
  • 100 grams of castor sugar



  • Lightly greased a chiffon tube pan not smaller than 19 cm


  • In a mixing  bowl, mixed half of the water and all the other ingredients  together.  Gradually add the other half of the water and use a spoon to stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the dough hook in the machine to beat the dough at medium to high speed (speed 2 in Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 10 minutes  or until the dough is smooth and leaves the side of the mixing bowl. (If the dough is too dry, add water teaspoon by teaspoon and if it is too wet, add bread flour tablespoon by tablespoon. The water quantity is for your reference and it is very much depends on the flour’s water absorbing properties and how wet is your mashed potatoes. A pliable dough shall be the final outcome)

  • Transfer the dough out to a lightly floured surface, shape it into a ball, cover with clingy wrap or wet towel, and let it proof until double in size.

PicMonkey Collage1

  • Once first proofing is done, use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat and in the shape of a square of about 30cm x 30 cm. Use a knife to cut the dough in equal sizes. The size of the small square will depend on how big you want the dough to be . In this illustration, it was about cm x 3 cm . It need not to be exact and slightly bigger or smaller dough is acceptable since it will not be noticeable when they are proofed and baked subsequently.

  • Take a dough, shape round, lightly dip into the melted butter and coat the small dough with the mixture of sesame plus castor sugar. Place the dough in the chiffon tube pan. (The step of dipping in melted butter is optional. The bread will be more fragrant and easier to pull apart if you dip the dough in the butter. However, it will be wetter in the final bread).


  • Perform the same with all the remaining dough. Cover with clingy wrap and let it proof  until double in size.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.

  • Once the second proofing is done, bake in the preheated oven of 190 degree Celsius for 35-45 minutes or until the top turn brownish. As this is a rather wet (especially if you dip in butter) and tall bread, baking timing is for your reference. At about 30 minutes when you start to smell the aroma of the bread, use an oven thermometer and insert into the bread and see if the temperature inside the loaf is more than or at least 90 degrees Celsius. If it is less than 90 degrees Celsius, your bread will not be cooked and it is likely that when you take out the thermometer, there will be some wet dough stick to your thermometer. In this case, continue baking until when you inserted again the oven thermometer, the thermometer shows at least 90 degrees Celsius. If you have no oven thermometer, perform the normal skewer test for cakes.

  • Once taking out from the oven, brush with melted butter if preferred to enhance the aroma and glossiness of the bread.



It is fun to eat the bread together with the family… and the kids love plucking the bread from the “bread tower”. This is a sweet bread and I believed you will like the sesame and sugar coating that comes with the soft and fluffy bread. If you do not want to take the trouble to prepare the bread in this “monkey” style, just use the bread dough, transform into buns or a bread loaf, it will be equally attractive and delicious.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe

Photobucket .


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


7 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Sesame Monkey Bread ( 紫薯猴子面包)

  1. Pingback: RECIPE INDEX ( Updated on 16 AUGUST 2014) | GUAI SHU SHU

  2. wow, this reminds me of living in the US all over again! Except that I had never seen a sweet potato version of the Monkey Bread there. I like the colour of the bread a lot. But then again, I love purple! Thanks for sharing Kenneth!

  3. Hi Kenneth, i tried the monkey bread yesterday and i really love eating it. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll bake for my mom if she comes for visit…:))

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