Day 18 of "25 Days of Angels Baking Christmas Memories!"
FUN and Easy to make, CUTE to see and DELICIOUS to eat.
When I was a small child, I remember Mom creating a lot of home baked cakes that were trimmed, layered and decorated to represent many different forms – bunnies and chickens at Easter, dolls with beautiful prom type dresses, teddy bears and more. She also worked her magic with creating different shaped homemade buns, using her hands, muffin tins and various other pans. I don’t remember her ever making a Santa Bread, but I thought, why not? It’s Christmas and we need a Santa on the table.
This Santa Bread has taken from a number of pictures I have seen over the years, using ideas from all of them. I’ve used my Mother’s bun recipe. It’s a simple recipe with basically no hand kneading required for this Santa Bread.
After the bread has risen once, you’ll shape it and make some simple cuts and slices to create the face, ‘stache, beard and hat. It’s fun to paint the hat red with food coloring and then bake it to get the golden-brown cheeks and curly beard. Powder sugar the hat brim, ‘stache and beard, position the eyes and it’s ready to head to the dinner table.
Prep the pan:
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350 a few minutes before you’re ready to bake the Santa Bread.
2 Yeast packets, dry
2 t Salt
2 C Water, lukewarm
2 C Flour
1 C Sugar
1 C Water
1 C Lard (shortening)
6 C Flour
2 Large chocolate chips for Santa’s eyes
1 Egg, beaten for egg wash on Santa’s face and beard.
Red food coloring for painting Santa's hat
- Mix the yeast, salt and 2 C lukewarm water.
- Add 2 C Flour.
- Mix all and allow to rise in warm place for 1-2 hours. The batter should be bubbly, enacted by the yeast.
- In a separate bowl, cream the shortening, eggs, sugar and 1 cup water. Mix well.
- Add 6 cups of flour to rise about 2 hours and punch down.
Start shaping Santa:
- From a well-floured work surface, pull off a part of the dough to shape the hat pompon of 1 ½” in diameter.
- Pull off smaller piece of dough to form the nose.
- Cut a 2 ¼” x 6” wide piece of dough to form the ‘stache, cutting a fringe, spreading the fringe pieces apart a little.
- Form another piece about 1” x 10” long and roll into a long strip for the brim of the hat.
- Roll out the rest of the dough to a triangle shape, larger at the bottom and smaller at the top. I roll it to fit on my 12”x17” rimmed cookie sheet, with the smaller end overlapping the edge of the cookie sheet. It should be much wider near the bottom to form Santa’s wide beard.
- The smaller end of the triangle will be folded down at an angle to form the floppy part of the hat.
- Put the brim barely above where you want to place the eyes.
- Place the pompon at the tip of the hat after that end has been flopped down at an angle.
- Position the nose below the eyes.
- Spread the fringes of the ‘stache and place it below Santa’s nose. It should connect with the beard at opposite ends.
- At the wide bottom of the triangle start cutting the fringes for the long beard.
- If you like, twist every fringe or every other fringe of the beard for texture.
- Beat the egg and, with a pastry brush, paint Santa’s face and beard. Be sure to get into all the crevices, nose and cracks. Also, paint egg wash on the pompon on the hat.
- With the left-over egg wash, add enough red food coloring to get a bright red and paint the hat, but not the pompon. But, cover the face, hat brim and pompon so there’s no overpainting or splattering.
- Bake the Santa Bread at 350 for about 25 minutes. I normally check it at 20 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overbake. You want the Santa Bread to get to a nice golden brown. If the nose is getting too brown, just wrap a piece of foil around it.
This is a fun project to get the kids involved, letting them measure the ingredients, and to experience the yeast bubbling in the batter. Let them paint the hat and egg wash the rest of the face, beard and ‘stache. Once you've made the Santa Bread, there are so many other figures or animals you can make. Just take advantage of some of these techniques, use your creativity and make it fun. “Bake your own Memories!"