Santa Head Bread
Sculpted and shaped bread loaves can be a lot of fun to make, and even more fun to present at the table. This Santa head looks complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy, and it’s also very forgiving – you can change and adjust and style it your way and it will still look wonderful. And it tastes good, too!
Yield: 1 Santa head
- 1 cup water at 120-130°F
- 2¼ tsp (one package) RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 3¾ cups (14⅝ ounces) bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix slowly until the dough comes together, then increase the speed and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Divide it into 4 roughly equal pieces.
- Grab one piece and cut off enough to make a 1-inch ball of dough for Santa's nose. Form the larger portion into a flat oval about 4½ inches wide by 6 inches long. You can just eyeball it, or even make it a circle. Place the large oval in the center of the baking sheet and position the nose in the center of the oval.
- Take the second piece of dough and form it into a long triangle to create the hat. The base should be as wide as Santa's face, and it should be long enough to fold the tip over jauntily. Place the hat on Santa's face, just above the nose. This Santa is a little sleepy and the hat covers his eyes.
- Take the third piece and form a beard for Santa and add it to the face you've been building.
- Take the last piece and divide it into three roughly equal pieces. Form the first piece into a flat band as wide as Santa's head this will be the furry hat band. Place it on the bottom of the hat and just above Santa's nose.
- Take the second piece and form it into your preferred mustache shape and place it right below Santa's nose. Adjust it so it looks the way you like it.
- Take the third piece and form a ball and add it to the end of Santa's hat.
- Cover dough and set aside to rise for 30 minutes. Tip: Use another sheet pan of the same size as a "cover" for the pan holding the dough.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F.
- When the dough has risen for 30 minutes, uncover it. If needed, adjust the nose, hat band, mustache as desired.
- Take a small, sharp pair of scissors and make snips in the dough of the hatband and hat ball to create texture. The more perpendicular to the surface the scissors are as you snip, the shorter the spikes of dough will be. This was made with very small spikes on the ball and slightly longer spikes on the band.
- A similar technique is used on the beard. But first, make some snips all the way through the dough around the edges. Then hold the scissors nearly parallel to the dough to make long, thin beard strands.
- If you like, you can brush parts of the dough with egg wash to make them shiny, or you can dust parts of the dough with flour.
- When you're done decorating, bake Santa at 350°F for 25-35 minutes, until the dough is nicely browned.
- Remove the pan from the oven, slide Santa, still on the parchment, onto a rack to cool. When it's cool enough to handle, remove the bread from the parchment and allow it to cool completely.
- And, no, it's not too cute to eat. Get out a knife and slice it up!
- Recipe created by Cookistry.