Need a Special Bread for Easter? Make Sourdough Honey-Bunny Bread
Honey-Bunny Bread isn't terribly sweet. It's a basic whole-wheat yeast bread that's flavored with honey and perfect for your Easter dinner table. Serve the bread with butter and jam or as you would for yeast rolls. That's if you can cut into or slice the honey-bunny. The very easy recipe makes a small loaf--about enough for a family of four with a hearty bread appetite. The bread dough also is easy to work and to shape, so don't worry if you aren't a master bread maker. As you can see from the photos, there is one thing you might not want to forget--as I did--before baking your dough bunny. That's to make several small cuts in the bunny's back/torso so that the steam can escape and you won't get a large seam in the bunny. The seam only affects the bunny's appearance, not the taste of the bread, which is incredibly yeasty and good! Enjoy!
Sourdough Honey-Bunny Bread -- Makes 1 Smallish Bunny
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
1/4 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of white whole-wheat or whole-wheat flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour, plus 2-3 tablespoons to knead
1 teaspoon of salt
A couple of dried cranberries or raisins
A large marshmallow
In a large bowl combine the starter, oil, honey, eggs, and sugar and beat them well. Stir in the white whole-wheat flour, cover the mixture loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least an hour (or up to four hours). Stir in the all-purpose flour and salt, then knead the dough for three to five minutes, adding 2-3 tablespoons of additional flour as you knead to keep the dough from being too sticky.
Divide the dough into two large hunks (one for the bunny head and one for the torso), and six small hunks (two hunks for the front paws, two for the back, and two hunks for the ears). Shape the bunny on a piece of baking parchment. I went for a larger bunny butt and a smaller head. Roll the small dough hunks in your hands to form rough logs and then shape them into paws, tucking the paw/hunks under the head and torso. Shape the final two dough hunks into rough teardrop shapes and lay them on top of the head/torso for ears. Poke dried cranberries/raisins into the head for eyes, form a small nose at the tip of the head with your fingers, and use a knife or your fingernails to form eyelashes, if you'd like. Spritz the bunny with non-stick cooking spray or oil, and loosely cover the bunny with plastic wrap. Let the bunny rise for a couple of hours (he/she won't rise much). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If necessary after the rising, reshape the bunny VERY gently with your hands and cut a few small slits with a sharp knife in the bunny's torso to let the steam escape while baking the bunny. Bake the bunny until golden brown for 25-30 minutes or until the bunny reaches an internal temperature of 180-190 degrees (F). Place the marshmallow in the microwave and microwave it in 5 second increments until it puffs a little and becomes pliable. Insert a toothpick partway into the bunny's butt (ouch!) and then smush the squishy marshmallow onto the exposed part of the toothpick to form the bunny tail. Let the bunny cool completely before slicing it.