Billowy soft, enriched with both eggs and butter, slightly sweet. Great for breakfast with butter and jam or a welcomed Sunday Brunch. I can eat this all to myself. Sigh!
I’m looking forward to springtime and chocolate bunnies, so why not shape our bread into something to remind us sunny days are ahead. This recipe will yield a few bunnies, depending on how big you make them. The ingredients will fill your stand mixer to the brim, so use your largest quart-sized mixer or a handheld mixer fitted with a dough hook and a colossal mixing bowl.
You can also form this dough into any shape you like. Including a beautiful braided Brioche.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup honey
1 package quick-rise yeast about 2 1/4 teaspoons
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
8 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup, unsalted butter, softened, about 3 sticks
Hazelnuts or chocplate kisses for eyes
Sliced almonds for teeth
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the water and honey and sprinkle the surface with the yeast. Set aside and allow the yeast to reactivate until frothy. If your yeast is fresh, this should only take about ten minutes. Just make sure to use closer to room temperature ingredients cause if it is too warm, you can kill this tasty little organism. In the meantime, fit your mixer with your dough hook.
In another medium bowl, sift the salt and flour. Toss to combine.
When the yeast is frothy, add the dry ingredients in a few batches, adding the egg in between flour additions. Allow your mixer to knead the dough until it forms a shaggy mass, about 4-5 minutes, add melted butter slowly. The dough will be super slippery but don’t worry; it will soon come together in a dough ball.
Turn out into a sizeable clean, and oiled bowl and allow to rest covered for about two hours in a draft-free area of your kitchen. This dough is very sticky to use after the initial rise; dust your hands well. I prefer to allow the dough to rest in the fridge overnight. Once it is chilled, it is effortless to handle. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. So, easy, peasy.
Shaping the Dough
Preheat your oven to 350′ F Degrees, and then line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
Divide the dough into 1-ounce pieces for the nose’s side and 2-ounce pieces for the ears, prominent nose, feet, and upper paws. 3 ounces for the head, 5 ounces for the belly, or like me – take your best guess.
Roll all the pieces into balls on a lightly floured surface. Gently shape them. ( We don’t want to take all the billowed Co2 gas out the yeast has formed by possibly over manipulating the dough at this point. )
Move on to shape the dough ears with your hands or a rolling pin. You want the ears to be a bit thick; if they are too thin, they will be out of proportion after baking. Gently brush the bunnies with egg wash, and attach all body parts. The egg wash will act as glue and hold them together. Press chocolate kisses upside down for the eyes.
Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes; this will help bunnies keep their shape, and then bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown if any part of the bunny is over-browning mid-way through, quickly cover loosely with foil. Test for doneness by looking for no spring back on the belly—careful not to indent your work.
Let the bunnies cool slightly on the baking sheet. If desired, you can use a pastry brush to brush them lightly, brush the ears’ interior, round belly, and tips of toes with melted butter, and then deliberately sprinkle with granulated sugar.