What are your big plans with weekend? We are having an Easter egg hunt at the in-law’s and a family lunch. I though that the kids (and everyone else) would enjoy there adorable Easter fuzzy bunny bread with their meal. It’s homemade Italian bread but shaped as a bunny and covered in Parmesan cheese.
I wanted to make some homemade bread for this weekend and Italian bread is one of our favorite’s. It was actually my first experience making my own bread. I always watched my grandmother make bread when I was a kid but haven’t s made my own yet. I would say it came out pretty darn good for my first time.
I used Emeril Lagasse’s recipe but altered a couple for things for ingredient availability, simplifying and my own taste. It’s a plain Italian bread, so it’s meant to be eaten with something or as a sandwich. I am planning on making rolls with it too but I will experiment with adding garlic powder or rosemary to it for some additional flavor.
- Makes 6 bunnies and a medium loaf
- 2 cups of warm water
- 2 tbs dark brown sugar
- 2 packets of active dry yeast the 1/4 oz packets
- 5 3/4 cups bread flour
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbs salt
- 1 egg white lightly beaten, for brushing
- 3-4 tbs of dry Parmesan cheese
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine water, yeast and sugar. Mix it together and let it stand until it blooms. It will take about five minutes. (Please note that the dry yeast won't bloom without sugar.)
- After it blooms, add the bread flour (yes, it's important to use bread flour when making bread). Using a bread hook attachment, mix until the dough starts to form.
- Slowly add the olive oil and salt, while the mixer is still mixing on low speed. Let it mix the dough on low to medium low speed until the becomes firm and elastic. It takes about 10-13 minutes. (It was better to mix it on lower speed, a little longer, because my mixer seemed to have trouble with it on medium speed. It's a thick dough.)
- Rub a large bowl with olive oil, all over the inside of the bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and cover with a saran wrap. Please a tiny little crack for the dough to breathe. Place it in a warm spot (note, warm not hot or neat a stove. I usually put it away from any AC breeze).
- Let the dough rise for a couple of hours. Take out the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and split it in half. Flatten one half of the dough and then roll it up into a loaf. Place it seam down onto a greased baking sheet. Lightly rub the top with olive oil, cover with a towel and set aside.
- Split the other half of the dough into 7 equal parts. Form bunnies out of six pieces of dough by rolling it into ovals and twisting the dough to form a head.
- Pinch off small pieces of dough from the remaining, 7th part and roll it into balls for the nose and eyes. Cut the remaining peace into six pieces. Roll them into long "logs" and split them to form the bunny ears.
- Wet the surface a little bit where you will be attaching eats, eyes and nose with water. Lightly pinch the dough together and even the surface.
- Place the bunnies onto a greased baking sheet and brush them with egg white. Generously, sprinkle with dry Parmesan cheese, avoiding the eyes and nose. Brush the Parmesan cheese that fell onto the sheet off or it will burn. Cover with a towel and set aside. Let them rise for about 20 minutes while preheating the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Bake the bunnies for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown.
- Bake the bread for 18-20 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to tap the bread and if it sounds hollow, it's done.
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