Santa bread

santa bread beginner


This is a really fun bread to make, and will impress your friends and family, big-time. In this video I show you how to shape your white bread dough into the shape of a Santa Claus. Bread dough after its first rise is very pliable, and can easily take on many shapes. This technique can be used to make animals, Easter bunnies, names, whatever you want.

In the video, I show you how to make the shapes to create a Santa bread.If you're new to bread-making, please watch this video first to learn how to make the bread get to its first rise. Then come back to this one, so you can see how to shape the bread. This is fun, creative, and easy, but your friends will think you must be a genius to pull it off. So, give it a try!

Below I have provided the full recipe for a regular white bread. All the steps are the same, but you shape the dough after the first rise.


Pretty basic: cup, bowl, spoon, baking pan, oven. No bread machine!


2 tsp active dry yeast

2 cups of warm water

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4-5 cups of white flour

(ideally unbleached, your call).

Shaped Bread ( aka Santa Bread)

Printer-friendly recipe

The Recipe

Place the yeast into a large bowl. Add two cups of warm water to get the yeast activated. How warm? I use tap water. It's the right temperature when it's hot enough to start hurting my finger ( around 105 degrees F).

Stir the water and yeast together with a spoon once to make sure the yeast doesn't stick to the bottom of the bowl. Now walk away for 10 minutes. When you come back, there should be a scum or bubbles on the top of the water. If you're unsure, watch the video, it shows you what it should look like.

Next, add the salt. Give it a stir.

Now, start adding flour, one cup at a time. Stir it in with the water, making sure it all gets wet. The consistency will change from pancake batter to a thick gloopy mess, until finally it gets too hard to stir with a big spoon. It should still be pretty wet and sticky at this stage.

It's time to get your hands in there. Put flour on your hands, and start mixing in extra flour with your fingers. Squeeze the dough as you add more flour. Once it isn't really sticky, start kneading. You can do all of this in the bowl. To knead the dough, press it down with the heel of your hand so that it lies flat on the bottom of the bowl. Next, fold it over on itself. Push that down with your hands, adding a bit of flour as you go. Keep doing this folding and flattening until the dough isn't sticky anymore.

Now you should be able to pick up the dough with your hands, and it hangs together. Start molding it into a ball. It should start to feel smooth and silky. It is often a bit warm and pliable, but won't fall apart if you hold it up, allowing gravity to tug on it. The video can help you see what this stage should look like. But relax, you've done the hardest part already!

The First Rise

Now it's time for the first rise to begin. Take the dough ball out of the bowl. Scrape out any of the flour in the bowl, dump it. Now add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bowl and grease the bowl. This is to prevent the dough from sticking to the sides. Now put the dough back in. Cover with a damp towel. The first rise has begun!

Allow the dough to rise for an hour until it has doubled in size. How long this takes depends on the temperature of your kitchen. If it's cold, the first rise may take 90 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled in size, it needs to be punched down. So take your fist and slam it into the bread so that it deflates. For the past hour the yeast has been eating the flour, and belching out carbon dioxide. Now you're letting that gas escape. Pick up the bread and knead it with your fingers for a minute or two, just like you did before. Press down, fold over, press down again. After two minutes of this, shape it into a ball.

Creating your shaped bread

In the video, I show you how to make a Santa, but using this technique, you could make anything you want. Put some flour on the table, and spread it around to make the biggest shapes from the dough. Tear of about a third of the dough, and press it onto the table. Press down with your palms to make a roundish face, about a quarter of an inch high.

Next, use another third of the dough to make the beard, which needs to be longer than the face. You may have to tug at it a bit to get it to be long enough. Grab the top end and stretch it so that it fits around the bottom of the face, covering it a bit. Pulls the extreme ends of the beard to reach up to where the ears will be.

Now grease a long baking pan, and transfer the dough over. Now you can start pulling off smaller bits of the dough to make the hat, the eyes, the mustache and the eye brows. This is much easier to see than to describe, so I would suggest watching the video for this part if you;re unsure of what to do.

The Second Rise

Now, cover the shaped dough with a damp towel. This is the start of the second rise. Go away for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.This is still dependent on your kitchen's temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Baking the Dough

Take the towel off the dough. Santa should have puffed up a bit. Now, to make him even more distinctive, separate an egg, putting the egg white in one cup, and the egg yolk in another. Brush the parts of the face that should be dark with the egg yolk: eyebrows, the trim of the hat, the pom-pom, his pupils. Use the egg white on his beard. But first, take a knife and put a few long slices length-ways on his beard. This will give it a bit of texture when it bakes. Brush with egg whites, along with the hat. Place Santa in the oven.

Close the door, and let it bake for 30 minutes. It is done when the top is a golden brown and it sounds hollow if you knock on it.

Let the bread cool for at least ten minutes before you take it out of the pan. It will rip if you try to pull it out right away. You don't want to ruin your masterpiece.


If you have never done this before, I highly recommend watching the video so you can see what each stage should look like. With luck, you have a Santa, or an animal, whatever you set out to make.Congratulations!