Front Burner: Chris Pandel

Monkey Bread with Dill, Butter, and Sea Salt

THE CHEF
At 29, Chris Pandel has a résumé packed with accomplishments that would make many chefs twice his age green with envy. A graduate of Johnson and Wales, Pandel worked at Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York City, interned at Tru under Rick Tramonto himself, and the list goes on. Now at The Bristol, the young chef has found fame and fortune making monkey bread at Bucktown’s new hot spot. Of course, Pandel also makes a mean grilled skirt steak with blue cheese ravioli, and steamed mussels with guanciale and white ale, but we’re bananas for the monkey bread—its cozy, warm, and buttery yumminess embodies Pandel’s feeling about The Bristol itself: “A neighborhood place where people feel comfortable coming more than once a week.”

Chris Pandel’s Monkey Bread with Dill, Butter, and Sea Salt
Yield: 8 mini loaves (for demonstration purposes, Pandel made 16 loaves)
Total prep time: 2 hours

Yeast Mixture
Proof time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
2 tablespoons warm water (about 110-115 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar

Method
1. Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small mixing bowl. Set aside for ten minutes to allow yeast to proof (bubbles will form at the surface).

Dough Preparation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Rise time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh dill, torninto small pieces

Method
1. Mix flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Set bowl on mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
2. With the mixer set on medium speed, slowly add the proofed yeast mixture to the dry ingredients, followed by the milk, egg, and melted butter. Add the dill. 
3. Mix on medium speed just until the dough releases from the side of the bowl, about 6-to-8 minutes. Knead dough together lightly with your hands.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Allow dough to rise for 25-30 minutes.

Monkey Bread Loaves
Prep time: 15 minutes
Rise time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 12 minutes

Ingredients
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh dill, torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon sea salt

Method
1. After 30 minutes, punch dough down and roll into 56 balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
2. Mix 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and dill together, roll balls in the mixture, and arrange in 8 lightly greased 4-ounce aluminum loaf pans (7 balls per pan).
3. Allow loaves to rise once more in a warm spot for 20 minutes.
4. Brush loaves again with melted butter, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes, brushing twice throughout the baking with the remaining two tablespoons of melted butter.
5. Serve loaves hot out of the oven with a mixture of melted butter, fresh dill, and sea salt.

Film: Uji Films

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