A step-by-step photo tutorial for how to make Golden Santa Bread! I promise it is NOT as hard as it looks. This is such a fun breakfast to make ahead for Christmas morning! Very kid-friendly. Actually it’s pretty much errbody-friendly.
I have been making this Golden Santa Bread every Christmas for several years now. It’s easy and festive and I love it! But what happened when I wanted to take new pictures of it for the blog? The first time I burned it. (And then stress-ate Santa’s nose. AND the puff ball on his hat.)
The second time I tried to make it I killed my yeast with too-hot liquid and it didn’t rise. AT ALL.
The third time I tried to make it I killed my yeast with too-hot liquid and it didn’t rise.
And just when I was about to kick my foot through Santa’s smug looking face, it dawned on me that ALL of my yeast was dead. I wasn’t a complete failure who had lost all of her bread-making skillz. That yeast needed a funeral and it wasn’t my fault dangit. No life-reassessment needed on my part. Whew.
I changed the recipe so that I remember to proof my yeast next time I make this. NO CHANCES. I own you, Santa.
I’m doing a terrible job selling this as an easy recipe. But it is, I swear! I mean sure, it’s going to take you a while, especially the first time. But just consider it a project. Turn on some Bing Crosby or Michael Bublè and have yourself a little Santa Claus dance party! Believe me, if I can make this so can you… just don’t use dead yeast :)
Every year I make this with Cinnamon Honey Butter. It takes this sweet bread from awesome to mind-blowing. This is such a fun breakfast to serve on Christmas morning. I always make it ahead and freeze it. Bread freezes so well. You can set it on the counter on Christmas Eve when you go to bed, then pop it in the oven for a few minutes before serving (because warm bread WINS).
Here’s my original photo from 2011, when I first published this recipe. Just for kicks!
Golden Santa Bread
- 3 & 1/2 cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 2 eggs
- 2 raisins
- 2 egg yolks, separated in 2 bowls
- red food coloring
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine 2 cups of the bread flour and the salt.
- In a glass measuring cup, heat the milk, water and butter to 120°-130° in the microwave (or in a pot on the stove.) (Heat the mixture until the butter is partially melted, then stir it to melt it the rest of the way. Don't add the liquid to the yeast mixture until your finger dipped in it feels comfortably warm, but not hot.)
- Add the sugar and yeast to the liquid. If you are confident that your yeast is not dead, then move on to the next step. Otherwise wait 5 minutes to see if it starts to foam.
- Add liquid to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Beat in 2 eggs until smooth.
- Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a dough. The dough should come together in a ball, but it's okay if it sticks a little. Add flour until you can handle the dough without it a big mess on your hands.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. (Or beat with the dough hook for 6-8 minutes.)
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, at least an hour and a half, mine took 2.
- 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. Transfer to a large greased cookie sheet.
- 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. Cut the strips pretty thin so that they are easy to twist. Position on Santa's face; twist and curl strips.
- 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 and tuck the edges underneath the base dough.
- With a scissors, cut two slits for eyes; insert raisins into slits.
- In separate small bowls, beat egg each yolk. Brush plain yolk over portions of dough that will not be red. Add red food coloring to one yolk; carefully brush over hat, nose and cheeks. (You have to do the regular yolk first otherwise the color will run.)
- Cover loosely with foil that has been coated with nonstick spray. Try to avoid letting the foil touch the bread, you don't want to tear your bread.
- Let dough rise another half hour. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Take pictures. Bask in the admiration of whoever sees it.
Put your nose a little further down than this, otherwise Santa’s eyes will be squished, like this.
You can do the mustache however you want. This is just what I came up with.
Try to get in all the crevices. The bread will puff up a lot. Avoid getting red on the parts that are supposed to be white. If the red yolk drips (like in the photo on the right), clean it up with the corner of a paper towel.
Don’t forget to spray your tin foil. And tent it so that it doesn’t tear the bread when you take it off.
I highly recommend you serve this Santa bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter…match made in heaven:
If you are making Santa for Christmas morning, here are some other breakfast ideas to go along with it:
Easy Breakfast Casserole with Potatoes and Ham << I need to redo these photos, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover. This is one of my favorite breakfasts of all time:
Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole:
Asparagus, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Quiche: (I could eat this every day.)