It's no secret that throwing a good theme party is one of my passions, and I always like the menu to reflect the occasion. Sometimes that means matching the type of food to the event (eg, Mexican for a Cinco de Mayo party), and sometimes it just means creating theme-appropriate displays or shapes for classic dishes. For Easter brunch last weekend, I baked some crusty French bread in the shape of a rabbit and Easter eggs. So many people have asked how I made it, I thought I'd post directions.
But first, a confession. I would love to tell you that I ground my own whole wheat flour from my organic backyard garden, or even that I started it completely from scratch. I did not. Ain't nobody got time for that. Or at least this full-time lawyer indulging in late-night baking and kitchen dancing doesn't. Nope. I started with a 5 lb. package of Kroger brand frozen bread dough, which I let thaw in the refrigerator for about 10 hours while I was at the office doing lawyerly things.
The dough is already separated into five 1 lb portions. It's oblong and boring in the package, and there's no joy in that (though it tastes good regardless of what it looks like). I'd made Santa-shaped bread at Christmas using directions from Taste of Home. The Santas turned out pretty good, so I thought I'd attempt to make bunny bread for Easter.
|The Santa on the left was my first attempt. For the one on the right, I modified a few things (like twisting the beard pieces) and thought it came out better.|
|If I'd made a second one, I'd have modified the eyes and teeth a bit. It gets easier with practice to know how the bread shapes will rise during the baking process|
|You can see in the top photos, which were taken just after I finished them, that the bread is puffy and smooth on the top. In the bottom picture, you can see the loaves fell a bit as they cooled. Next time I'll know to bake them longer|
So there you have it. If you're feeling creative, try making shaped French loaves the next time you break bread with loved ones. If you have more time on your hands than I do, you might even make your bread from scratch. But, whatever you do, I recommend you forego the 50s housewife high heels in the kitchen and dance around in your socks!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you BAKE with it!
|Even I draw the line at an Eiffel Tower made from hot dogs, but it made me smile.|