25 Days of Snacks – Day 23 – Santa Bread

Santa-bread-31How cute are these yummy Santas just waiting to be pulled apart? A great activity for kids who are waiting for guests to arrive, Santa Bread will be a hit with everyone at the dinner.
Design by staff at the Martha Stewart Show
Bread recipe, Fast White Bread from The Joy of Cooking
Yield: two loaves

Ingredients:
6 c. bread flour, divided
2 T. sugar
2 packages (4½ t.) quick rising active dry yeast
2½  t. salt
2 c. very warm (115 to 125 degrees) water
4 T. melted butter
4 currants or raisins
red food coloring
1 egg

 

Method:

    • In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together 4 c. flour, and the sugar, yeast, and salt.
      • Add the water and butter.
      • Mix by hand or on low speed for one minute.
      • Gradually add additional flour ¼ c. at a time until the dough is moist but not sticky.
      • Knead for about ten minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.
      • Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and turn it over once to coat with oil.
      • Cover the bowl loosely with cellophane and let rise in a warm place (75 to 80 degrees) until doubled in volume, 30 to 45 minutes.
      • Divide the dough in half to make two Santa breads.   With one half of the dough, pull off about 1/3 of the dough and set it aside.  You will use this dough to make Santa’s eyes, mustache, etc.
      • Shape the main piece of dough into a circle.  Pull and stretch the top of the circle out to form Santa’s hat.
      • Take a little piece of dough from the reserved dough, roll it into a little ball, and press it into the top of Santa’s hat to form a pompom.
      • Take three small balls of dough from the reserved dough and roll them into Santa’s eyes and nose.  Press them onto his face firmly, and press two currants or raisins into his eyes.
      • Take a small piece of dough from the reserved dough to make Santa’s mustache.  Shape it into a flat oval and cut slits towards the center on both sides.  Pinch the piece in the middle and press it firmly onto Santa’s face under his nose.
      • Take a small piece of dough from the reserved dough to make Santa’s hatband.  Roll it into a snake the width of your hat and pat it flat.  Lay it across Santa’s hat and press the ends in.
      • Take the remaining reserved dough to make Santa’s beard.  Pat it into a half oval the width of Santa’s face.  Slice it into strips from the bottom up leaving a ½ “ strip uncut at the top.  Place the beard on Santa’s face and press it in at the edges.
      • Beat the egg in a small bowl and add a dribble of water to thin it just a bit.
      • Brush all of Santa’s face except his hat and nose with the egg wash.
      • Mix a generous amount of red food coloring into the remaining egg and brush Santa’s hat and nose with it.  Give his cheeks a touch, too, to make them rosy.
      • Allow Santa to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
      • While Santa is rising, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
      • Bake for 30 minutes, or until he sounds hollow when tapped.

Very Merry Christmas!