April 3, 2013

Easter bunny bread

This Easter, I wanted to tackle the dreaded bread monster. Armed with my lovely new (and red!) stand mixer, I decided to make some hot cross buns. The store-bought hot cross buns are a tad bit sweet for my liking.

So, on Good Friday, I baked the first batch of hot cross buns. I followed the Joy of Baking Hot Cross Buns recipe to the t, and they turned out to be wonderful. Thanks to my good friend Amrita of Sweet n Savory for being the inspiration. :)

Encouraged, I took on the basic white bread recipe from the book that came with my lovely new (and red!) stand mixer. Yes, I love my stand mixer that much!!! I wanted to make it look somewhat like this Easter Bunny Bread, but using fresh dough instead of the frozen. Here it goes -

Ingredients:

Basic White Bread:
1/2 cup low fat milk (I used 1%)
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
5-6 cups al purpose flour

Bunny shape:
2 raisins
2 sliced almonds
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:

  1. In a small sauce pan, place heat milk, salt, sugar and butter in low heat until the butter melts. Let it cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let it 'activate' till foamy (about 10 minutes).
  2. In the mixer bowl, add the milk mixture and about 4-41/2 cups flour. Using the dough hook, mix it while adding the yeast mixture. Add the remaining flour and mix till the dough starts to come together in a ball. Knead till the dough is smooth. 
  3. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into loaves.
Now for the fun part - I almost relived my childhood days, playing with 'Play Doh' or ' Plasticine' as we called it then. 
  • Prepare a baking sheet - grease and line with parchment paper.
  • Cut a fourth off of one loaf and gently shape into a drop or pear shape to form the bunny's head. Flatten remaining portion into an oval shape and place on the sheet. Place head above body. I used a pair of kitchen shears to make cuts on each side of head for bunny's whiskers.
  • Divide the remaining loaf into four equal portions. I did that using a greased knife. For ears, shape two portions into 14-16 inches long ropes. Now, fold ropes in half and arrange them as the bunny's ears with open ends touching head. Gently tuck the open ends under the bunny's head, for a more clean look. I had to adjust the shape of the ears to fit my sheet tray.
  • Cut the third portion of dough into two and flatten them into ovals for paws. Cut two slits on the edge of each oval for bunny's tiny toes. Position on each side of the bunny's body. Now it should start to resemble a bunny.
  • Divide the fourth portion of dough into three balls.  Use two for front paws. Place paws on each side of body. You could make slits for its toes here as well. Cut the third ball into three, and shape them into two smaller (about 1 inch) balls for the cheeks and one 1/2-in. ball for nose. Place cheeks and nose on face. Add raisins for eyes and almonds for teeth.
Bunny bread as it sat on the counter to rise.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place, about 30-45 minutes. I sprayed the cling film with oil so that it does not stick into the bunny as it rises. 
  • Once it is doubled, brush dough with egg. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Fresh out of the oven
  • Place bread on a serving tray. Cut a 3-1/2-in. circle in center of body. Hollow out bread, leaving a 1/2-in. shell (discard removed bread or save for another use). Place a 1-cup shallow bowl in the hole and fill with dip. I used some lettuce leaves to cover the bowl before placing the dip. Serve with vegetables, cheese and crackers of your choice.



It was a huge crowd pleaser, and no one wanted to take the first bite off the cute Easter Bunny!! It made for a wonderful Easter spread centerpiece :)

Bon Appetit!
Hetal from Houston

2 comments:

  1. Such an amazing bread..loved the bunny shape and the colourful assortment of veggies..I am so sure it was an instant hit

    ReplyDelete