Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread


Makes: 1 large loaf       Prep Time: 3 hours (includes rise time)     Bake Time: 35-40 minutes

3½ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

1½ cup buttermilk (or 1½ cup milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon salt

6½ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)

Baking sheet

parchment paper

water for joining dough pieces

olive oil spray

plastic wrap

red food color

green food color

black food color

white food color (found online or at craft stores)

-In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar and allow the mixture to sit and get foamy (about 5 minutes).

-In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook, combine 3 cups of flour, the foamy yeast mixture, buttermilk, butter, honey and salt. Mix in an additional 3 cups of flour and mix until the dough forms a soft ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. *Note - You may need to work in the remaining ½ cup flour if the dough is extremely sticky.

-Spray the inside of the bowl lightly with olive oil spray. Return the dough to the bowl and spray the top lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm, draft free place until the dough has doubled in bulk (approximately 1 hour).

-Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough in half. Working on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, press half of the dough out to form a slightly oblong oval (approximately 1" thick) in the center of the baking sheet. This is the base for Santa's face.

-Cut off approximately 1/3 of the remaining dough ball and form an modified "U" shape which will form Santa's beard. Make sure to leave more dough at the bottom of the shape and taper it on each side. Use water to adhere the beard to Santa's face, pulling and patting until you get your desired shape (photos 15 - 17).

-Cut off another piece of dough from the remaining ball and form it into an slight boomerang shape. This will be Santa's hat. Adhere the hat onto the top of Santa's face using water and pressing and pulling it to your desired shape. *Note - I pulled and pushed the dough for Santa's hat down on the right side at a jaunty angle. (photos 18 - 21)

-Cut another piece of dough from the remaining piece and form a long, modified triangle shape. This will be the trim on Santa's hat. Adhere the trim to the hat using water and pressing it into place. With the remaining dough, pinch or cut off pieces that will form 2 sides of Santa's mustache, 1 nose, 2 cheeks, two eyes, holly leaves and berries (if desired), and the ball at the end of Santa's hat. Attach all the elements with water.

-Use a very sharp paring knife to cut slits in Santa's beard, and also to add details to the holly berries. *Note - It's easier to make several shallow cuts than one deep one. The deeper cut shallow cuts, the more the details will show after the second rise and bake.

-Place the completed Santa in a warm, draft free place to rise a second time (approximately 45 minutes). Once risen, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake Santa in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until he's golden brown and sounds hallow when tapped.

-Cool Santa completely. If adding color, mix a small drop of each of the colors with about 1 tablespoon of water. Use a clean paintbrush to lightly brush color onto Santa's hat, beard, eyes, cheeks and nose, and holly berries. If you'd like a deeper color, add two or more coats, drying in-between each coat.

-Serve and enjoy!!!

Kudos Kitchen by Renee