Prepare the Pan: Grease a standard 12-cup Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.
Make the Dough: In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, sugar, melted butter, and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. (To Make By Hand: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir together until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and satiny.) Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
Prepare the Sugar Coating: While the dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.
Form the Bread: Gently remove the dough from the bowl, and pat into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper, knife, or pizza slicer to cut dough into 64 pieces.
Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll in the brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in the Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.
Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in draft-free area until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.
Bake the Monkey Bread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Make the Glaze: While the bread cools, whisk the powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl until the lumps are gone. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the monkey bread, letting it run over top and down the sides of the bread. Serve warm.
Vegan Option:To make this monkey bread recipe dairy-free or vegan, substitute the butter and milk with plant-based alternatives. Make sure to use an unflavored, unsweetened variety of non-dairy milk. Soy and oat milks have the best consistency and very neutral flavors.
Dough Alternatives: See the post above for instructions on using canned biscuit dough, frozen bread dough, and crescent dough.
Flavor Variations: See the post above for 10 different modification ideas!
Mix by hand: While it's easy to make with a stand mixer and dough hook, you can also prepare this dough by hand. See step #2 in the recipe for alternate instructions.
Remove Quickly! Do not allow the bread to cool in the pan for longer than 5 minutes; the sticky glaze will start to solidify and the bread may break when you try to turn it out.
Storage: Monkey bread is definitely best served on the same day that it is baked, preferably fresh out of the oven! Any leftovers should be stored, covered tightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Make-Ahead/Overnight Instructions:You can make the dough ahead of time and let it complete its first rise overnight in the refrigerator. Take it out the next day when you’re ready to form the dough balls and proceed with step #3. It may take a little bit longer for the second rise. You could also assemble the whole thing and then cover and refrigerate. The second rise will complete overnight, and then you can just remove it from the refrigerator and bake in the morning.
Freezer Instructions: Wrap completely cooled monkey bread (either the whole thing or individual portions) in plastic wrap and then in foil, place in a ziptop freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or, for smaller portions, at room temperature for an hour or so.