A friend of mine shared this fun idea. She made it with purchased frozen dough, and I use a family bread recipe. The finished loaf looks complicated. but it's actually simple to create. —Vicki Melies, Elkhorn, Nebraska
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 2 eggs
- 2 raisins
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 to 3 drops red food coloring
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Beat in eggs until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
- Shape the larger portion into an elongated triangle with rounded corners for Santa's head and hat.
- Divide the smaller portion in half. Shape and flatten one half into a beard. Using scissors or a pizza cutter, cut into strips to within 1 in. of top. Position on Santa's face; twist and curl strips if desired.
- Use the remaining dough for the mustache, nose, hat pom-pom and brim. Shape a portion of dough into a mustache; flatten and cut the ends into small strips with scissors. Place above beard. Place a small ball above mustache for nose. Fold tip of hat over and add another ball for pom-pom. Roll out a narrow piece of dough to create a hat brim; position under hat.
- With a scissors, cut two slits for eyes; insert raisins into slits. In separate small bowls, beat egg each yolk. Add red food coloring to one yolk; carefully brush over hat, nose and cheeks. Brush plain yolk over remaining dough.
- Cover loosely with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-12 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf.
Originally published as Golden Santa Bread in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2007, p73
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