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Golden Santa Bread Recipe

Golden Santa Bread Recipe

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
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling YIELD:16-18 servings


  • 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


  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Preheat oven to 350°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
  • 4. Shape the larger portion into an elongated triangle with rounded corners for Santa's head and hat.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. 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.
  • 8. 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.

Reviews for Golden Santa Bread

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J User ID: 9000165 258643
Reviewed Dec. 26, 2016

"I made it to the recipe but added the egg yolks with the eggs to the mix (the recipe wasn't very clear). Mine looked much darker than the pictures and you couldn't really see the food coloring. bread itself was lovely, very similar to brioche. Not as easy as some of the reviews suggest."

jackson1usa User ID: 8658161 244975
Reviewed Mar. 5, 2016

"I used freezer dough also. This way you can also choose what kind of bread you want. The Grandchildren loved it and it tasted great. Thank's"

manpabrown User ID: 1979130 219253
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2015

"Kids love this every year - this year I was way too busy and cheated with freezer dough - the kids still liked it but I noticed the difference."

Fairygramma1 User ID: 8166529 215162
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2014

"Looks easy using frozen bread dough. Fun idea. Smiling"

VickiGene User ID: 8136502 215051
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2014

"That adorable and I'm so happy it's not a salt dough recipe! Please explain instructions in #7. "Beat egg each yolk" Was that supposed to be "beat egg yolks separately in two small bowls"?"

jacksongordy User ID: 8071740 214485
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2014

"Great 1 hr. project with or for kids baking during Christmas!"

LadyJ1225 User ID: 7810931 214465
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2014

"This is adorable! I made one for our potluck lunch at work, and now I'm going to adapt the bread recipe to make it gluten-free for those of us who can't eat wheat for our family gathering. It looks amazing and is so easy to do."

ayeitsamandap User ID: 8142630 214191
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2014

"could i make this with pretzel dough??"

momma53 User ID: 7467113 168928
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2014

"I have made this Santa bread for 6 years now, it's always a big hit and people always think I worked so hard. I' s very easy and fun to do with grandchildren. We've also made the Easter bunny bread. These are great!!!"

grnmolly User ID: 7569017 168927
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2013

"Made this on Christmas during the party. I have never made bread before, and this was a huge hit. Wish I could post a picture, because it came out so cute. And tasted even better! I brought the left overs home and ate it for breakfast and lunch until it was gone. Definitely will be using this recipe again. So easy. I used the Kitchen Aid mixer to knead it. I bet I could use blue or green food coloring and mold it into a truck or something for my sons as well. Will totally be trying that. And since the batter is sweet, I bet if you mixed in raisins or craisins that could be really good too. Thanks for the awesome recipe!!"

sugarcrystal User ID: 5836839 95899
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2013

"This is such a fun recipe! I like to take a shortcut with frozen dough and fill it with mozzarella, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning. After baking I dust the beard with grated parmesan cheese. Its great alongside lasagna which I like to serve on Christmas Eve."

abetz User ID: 1523118 163300
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2013

"we used kroger bread and the family helped.its easy and fun"

villazon27 User ID: 7514266 102528
Reviewed Dec. 23, 2013

"Delicious and beautiful"

StephieJean20 User ID: 4802511 163961
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2013

"My mom and I made this together for Christmas. It didn't turn out pretty at all. I bet everyone else's turned out perfect. However, the memories made were worth it!"

0momma3 User ID: 7052332 94894
Reviewed Dec. 23, 2012

"I have made this twice and the bread will not rise! I will different recipe to make bread im sad that this didnt work out:("

mandt2 User ID: 7045799 95897
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2012

"This was cute and fairly easy to make, but I would not use the bread recipe listed again. It had too much sugar, which impacted both the taste and the length of time for the bread to rise. Allrecipes has a good Amish bread recipe that would work well with this and could easily make 2 santas. I didn't have dark raisins, so used halved green candied cherries for the eyes. Another reviewer also summed other critical information very well: when you tent it with foil, it will stick and ruin the appearance of the nose, unless you put a couple of crumpled up foil balls beside the bread to elevate the foil enough to prevent it from touching the dough. Also, it is good to brush the entire santa with the plain egg wash, then go back and add the red wash to the cheeks, etc. I also found this needed to bake about 20 minutes longer than indicated, although flattening the triangle used for the face/hat may help that."

Athanasius' Mommy User ID: 5612181 120026
Reviewed Dec. 9, 2012

"I thought it has a sweet flavor to it. "

a.hinkle User ID: 7013823 120025
Reviewed Dec. 9, 2012

"is this a regular bread, or is it sweet?"

jsturm6610 User ID: 5171687 76212
Reviewed Dec. 9, 2012

"I made this Santa bread last X-mas and am going to make it again. It looks like you spend so much time on it and it is so easy to make. I used the frozen bread dough."

jsturm6610 User ID: 5171687 95044
Reviewed Dec. 9, 2012

"I made this Santa bread last X-mas and am going to make it again. It looks like you spend so much time on it and it is so easy to make. I used the frozen bread dough."

Dinsky User ID: 3102900 163295
Reviewed Dec. 8, 2012

"This is amazing! Every Santa gets better (as your skill improves) than the last. One question though - has anyone tried freezing a ready made Santa bread?? I would like to give several loaves away for Christmas gifts so if I can't freeze them I would have to get up around 2:00a.m to get them all made (not gonna happen)."

veraann User ID: 1472567 95895
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2012

"This turned out really cute,grand-kids loved it. I use a potato bread recipe (that I really like) so I couldn't rate at five stars."

shelbybird User ID: 6433445 163816
Reviewed Jan. 1, 2012

"This bread is AMAZING! I cut corners and used frozen dough, but still, it came out amazing!

TIPS: 1) I wouldn't recommend serving this alone... I served it alongside a dish of Cinnamon Honey Butter that another user recommended.
The Recipe: 1c Honey, 1c Butter (2 sticks), 1c Powdered Sugar, 2tsp Cinnamon. Whisk using the whisk attachment on your mixer.
2) Definitely do a practice run beforehand if you're going to be taking this somewhere or giving it as a gift.
3) Santa bread and a jar of homemade cinnamon honey butter make an EXCELLENT Christmas gift! :)"

Athanasius' Mommy User ID: 5612181 148778
Reviewed Dec. 29, 2011

"UPDATE: I made this dough recipe a second time. Instead of making it into a Santa face, I separated the dough into three strands and braided them. I then brushed one of the strands with egg white, a second strand with red food coloring (egg yolk w/3 red drops), and the third strand with green food coloring (egg yolk w/3 green drops).  It turned out WONDERFUL! Better reviews this time...perhaps because I didn't handle the dough as much. It was more moist this go-around. This is such a GREAT dough person said it reminded them of sourdough. You can fashion the dough into whatever design you want!! "

Athanasius' Mommy User ID: 5612181 120021
Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

"I received rave reviews on the appearance and taste of this bread recipe! I made my own dough and it was a lot of fun! I placed the dough on parchment paper and then on a baking sheet. I will definitely be making this again! My husband thought I could use the dough recipe for rolls too. We shall see!"

sstetzel User ID: 158954 163814
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2011

"[quote user="MCBWGreen"]

Those of you who used "frozen" bread dough, are you talking about the Pillsbury refrigerated bread dough that comes in cans? (I haven't done much bread baking!) Thanks!
Frozen bread dough is found in the freezer section of your grocery store, usually with the garlic bread and rolls."

MCBWGreen User ID: 6417016 165232
Reviewed Dec. 21, 2011

"Those of you who used "frozen" bread dough, are you talking about the Pillsbury refrigerated bread dough that comes in cans? (I haven't done much bread baking!) Thanks!"

IslandWife User ID: 6007790 168926
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2011

"This was so easy to make and a special treat for my family - they loved it!"

jasonpgill User ID: 2021440 208724
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2011

"Great bread! I thought it wasn't going to look at all the picture but even with my limited bread skills it came out very close. I'm giving them out as gifts next year."

lauriedmiller User ID: 5782112 95043
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2011

"Not as easy as everyone else said. The directions are vague as to how big the triangle should be, shaping the beard and making a hat. I'll make it again, even though mine looks a bit strange"

tea-talk User ID: 3784836 165231
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2011

"Just a few tips:

* make sure to cut the beard strips decently thin - they will look better and be easier to twist and shape
* if you use foil to "loosely cover" during first 15 minutes, DO NOT let the foil touch the bread! It will rip off and leave an ugly spot.
* Let the dough rise more than the 1 hour it says to.
* Let the shaped Santa rise for a little bit (maybe half an hour to an hour).
* Do the regular egg wash first and the red egg wash last to prevent the color from running.
Overall, decent recipe. Mine didn't look too bad even with all the mistakes! Glad I practiced though, because I will make an even better looking one next week to give to my boyfriend's family!"

Shangela User ID: 5904035 168925
Reviewed Dec. 11, 2011

"Made this for a Christmas party & man oh man everyone loved it. People were taking pictures & no one could believe that I made it (how rude... jk). I didn't have bread flour so I used all-purpose flour & it turned out just fine. I accompanied it with Cinnamon Honey Butter ( courtesy of Pinterest. This butter was also amazing."

trudi.taylor User ID: 1325952 208723
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2011

"I used my bread machine to make the dough and like everyone said it is so easy to make it look just like the picture. Everyone was impressed but it was hard to get them to cut into it! LOL"

pawla656 User ID: 200729 163959
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2011

"Thanks so much for this recipe! For those questioning what do you serve it with. How about ANY meal. breakfast, lunch, dinner! It IS bread people!"

peace2604 User ID: 6328011 208722
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2011

"I made for the first time for this past Christmas and it was fun to make and everyone just loved it, now it will be something that I make every year! You can't go wrong with this Santa bread. The only thing I changed was that I used 2 frozen loafs of bread and it came out great!"

Donwilliams1 User ID: 5406689 95040
Reviewed Aug. 1, 2011

"When I started this I thought that there is no way that I could make this look like the picture. It did look just like the picture! Everybody thought that I bought it somewhere."

BakinGymnast User ID: 5767825 95038
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2011

"Very nice presentation, but it needs something to go with it. Not a lot of people wanted to eat just plain bread."

CyndiKear User ID: 3014469 102527
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2011

"It was so easy to make and it looked just like the picture that I had to make two. I will definitely make it again next year (my grandchildren loved it)."

sammijeana User ID: 5721483 76208
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2010

"I added crasins for his mouth...and blueberry craisins for his eyes....what a great idea..thanks for sharing it! Cant wait until the grandkids get here!"

ilean50 User ID: 4069625 208721
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2010

"I used frozen breadm 2 loaves. It was a lot easier to put together than I thought. I am not much of an artzy person. I did put sugar sprinkles all over for a little sparkle. And I did allow for a second rise. But he is cute as a button."

debkohn User ID: 2305999 95893
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2010

"Super easy and cute! A holiday hit."

jstertz User ID: 2310596 163294
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2010

"do you let the frozen dough rise before shaping or after?? Thanks!"

wyolin User ID: 5693343 94892
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2010

"I made this Santa last year at least 10 times. It was wonderful. We moved over the summer so I have a whole new list of friends that I can give a Santa to. It is so easy, cute, and tastes good."

haydenjeree User ID: 4484527 208720
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2010

"Very fun to make with the grandkids. I used 2 loaves of frozen dough (thawed overnight in the refrigerator. ) Suggestion --- shape the Santa, let it rise for 1/2 hour or so and then when tenting the Santa with foil, be sure and spray the aluminum foil with Pam baking spray otherwise ,it will stick to Santa while being baked and then pulls off some of the bread when removing it. I'll be making some for gifts this holiday season."

annietap User ID: 4647945 163958
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2010

"doesn't this have to rise at some point?"

eversbeaver User ID: 2223765 95892
Reviewed Jun. 6, 2010

"So much fun to make! Used frozen bread and it came out perfectly!"

hensrgr8 User ID: 4738350 163292
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2009

"i am very sorry this is a 5 star recipe all the way just made a mistake in entering! Sorry Santa!"

hensrgr8 User ID: 4738350 102525
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2009

"Just made this today, what a hit! I used frozen bread dough and used the quick method fr preparation on the package. Santa was easy to make and very cute. I served with honey butter that i made."

ABaker521 User ID: 3753363 163808
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2009

"Great idea for a bread that looks like you worked on it for hours! Kids liked the Santa, and adults were impressed. The only thing that I would suggest for others is to make sure that you go heavy on the red food coloring. If you don't, a pink Santa might result~ not the usual kind of Christmas attire for him."

josiezanker User ID: 3325499 149668
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2009

"I meant to give it five stars, but hit the wrong button. :)"

josiezanker User ID: 3325499 95891
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2009

"I made this using 2 loaves of frozen bread dough. It looks like it took you hours but it only took about 20 minutes to get the dough shaped, and mine came out looking exactly like the picture! Everybody oohed and ahhed over it. Will definitely be making again!"

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