Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teddy Bear Bread

Making this with my mom and sister is one of my fondest childhood memories!  And it is SO easy.  You can start with any basic bread recipe that you want.  If you don't have a favorite, here is the one I always use to make teddy bear bread.  It makes a fairly dense loaf that is great for toasting.

White Bread Dough Recipe

Dissolve 1 package yeast in 1.5 cup warm water. 

Scald a half cup milk.  Add 3 Tbsp sugar, 2 tsp salt, and 3 Tbsp margarine to the milk.

Add yeast mixture to warm milk mixture.

Gradually stir in 6.5 - 7 cups flour, mixing with your hands as it gets more stiff.  
Turn onto floured surface and knead for 7 minutes.

Let rise 1 hour (or until doubled) in greased bowl, covered with a towel. 
After your bread rises the first time, you need to shape your dough into the teddy bear shape.  This is really simple and is just a matter of dividing your dough into the correct size pieces.  One batch of bread dough will make two bears.  Here's how to do it.

1.  Turn your nicely risen, puffy dough onto a lightly floured surface.  With a dough scraper or sharp knife, cut in quarters.

Two of the quarters will become the main body pieces for the bears. 

2.  Cut one of the quarters in half again.  These pieces will be the bear heads.

3.  Cut one of the quarters into 14 pieces.  (I do this by cutting it in half and then cutting each half into seven pieces.)  These pieces will be the arms, legs, noses, and ears.

4.  Now take all your pieces and gently roll them or stretch them to make them more spherical.

5.  Assemble them on parchment lined baking sheets.

Make little indentations in the ears by pressing with your thumb.

6.  Add raisins for eyes and belly button.

7.  Beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp. water and brush gently over the whole bear.  This will help turn the bread a nice teddy bear brown color as it bakes.  Little kids are a BIG help at this point. 

8.  Let rise another 30 - 45 minutes.

9.  Bake at 400F for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown.

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