Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread for #TwelveLoaves - Holiday Bread

Ho! Ho! Ho! This tasty Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread is as whimsical as he is delicious. With my easy to follow step-by-step instructions, he'll be on your holiday table in no time.

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

Since the theme for December's #TwelveLoaves is holiday bread, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than to have Santa come for a visit.

The recipe I'm sharing here is a good one. However, if you're interested in making a Santa bread, but don't want to go to the trouble of making your own dough, by all means you can purchase some store bought frozen dough and follow the thawing and rising directions on the package. Then proceed from that point using the steps I'm sharing for assembling this adorable Santa face shape.

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

Once you've assembled Santa's shape, and have allowed him to rise and bake, you can decide if you'd like to add a little festive color to him by using food coloring that's been thinned with water. Or, you can leave him plain and golden brown. The call is yours, but either way you make him, just make sure you do! Making this Santa bread will hopefully become a fun family tradition that you can pass down for generations.

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

A few other tips I have for making and assembling this bread are:

Don't be afraid to apply pressure to the dough pieces you use for making all his facial elements. Since bread dough is elastic, it may take you a bit of working with to get the dough to conform to what shape you're trying to achieve.

Don't forget to flour lightly your work surface, but make sure not to over flour.

When attaching pieces of dough to one another, use a bit of tap water and a little light pressure to press the pieces gently to each other but without distorting their shape.

When making slits in Santa's beard and mustache, deeper is better, and a sharp paring knife is essential. Going over the same cuts more than once is better than trying to cut too deeply on the first slice. I wish I would have followed my own advice on this step because many of my cuts kind of disappeared once Santa spent time in the oven. *Note - The cutting is optional but adds a fun bit of detail.

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

Finally, if you've decided to add color to Santa after baking, please, please, please dilute your food coloring with plenty of water and test a small area first. The object is to give Santa a light kiss of color and not to make him into a beacon in the night. That's Rudolph's job!

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!!!

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

If you have any questions or comments for me regarding this Santa bread, I'd be happy to answer them for you in the comment section. I want you to be successful and completely at ease if you decide to make this bread (and I hope you do) so anything I can do to help, I'm here for you!

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

Listed below are all the other participants in the December #TwelveLoaves holiday bread baking challenge. I hope you'll take a moment to visit them and give them all a little love.

Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

This month we are baking Holiday Breads that are perfect to celebrate the holiday season. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's inspiring selection of #TwelveLoaves Thanksgiving Biscuits and Rolls!

  • Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread from Kudos Kitchen

  • Cranberry Cinnamon Swirl Bread from Baking in Pyjamas

  • Christmas Morning Crown from All That's Left are the Crumbs

  • Cranberry Orange Muffins from Hostess at Heart

  • Fruity Santa Bread from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

  • Pandolce Genovese from Savoring Italy

  • Pecan Kringle from Karen's Kitchen Stories

  • The Precise Kitchen Elf's Panettone from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

  • If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your Holiday Breads using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

    I believe in Santa coffee mug.

    If there is ever anything I can paint for you, from glassware items to fabrics, please don't hesitate to contact me or visit my shop on Etsy. Custom orders are always welcome and I will happily paint and decorate from any photo or description you send my way!

    Kudos Kitchen by Renee ~ Where food, art, and fun collide on a regular basis!

    Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!

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