Hi! Today, I'm here with a recipe for easy Easter sharing bread! It's a cute, sweet and fluffy little treat that your whole family will enjoy making and eating!
The story behind this easy Easter sharing bread
They symbolise spring, nature waking up, fertility and youth.
I choose to make this sharing bread because it brings so much joy and smiles on people's faces when I serve it!
My mum baked it for us many years ago, when me and my brother were just kids. I remember how it made us smile that day! When mum took this sheep out of the oven, it was such a joy for all!
It's been almost 25 years now and I still remember it - it's one of the moments you won't forget!
Let's create some sweet memories for you and your family too!
What do you need to make this tear and share bread?
For this Easter sharing bread, you need only typical pantry ingredients, such as strong white bread flour, eggs, milk, sugar (golden caster or granulated), salt, butter, oil and dried yeast. For decoration, I've used a couple of raisins (sultanas will work just as fine!).
This sharing bread is best to be enjoyed with butter and fruit jam or conserve. Strawberry or apricot jam go well with it. But others will go nice with it too, it is purely your choice!
Don't be afraid of using dried yeast - it actually is so easy!
The most common mistake is that you kill off the yeast with hot liquid added to the dough (this then prevents the dough from raising). If unsure, use room temperature milk. It's perfectly fine. The dough might just need slightly more time to double in size.
It's important to keep the resting dough in a warm place. Place it in a cold oven to rest if needed. This will prevent any draught or cold air from coming in (these usually prolong the growth of the dough).
Can you substitute any of the ingredients?
Strong white bread flour can be swapped for plain flour.
If using plain (all-purpose) flour, the recipe will still work, the texture of the bread will be slightly denser.
To prevent it from being too dry, just add 1 or 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water to the dough.
Can you make any other shapes other than sheep/lamb?
Of course! Use your creativity and create a figure of a bunny, chick, Easter eggs, hearts, sun and flowers... The dough can literally be your clay!
This tear and share bread is very similar to brioche. You can also bake those little shapes separately - these Czech Easter sweet pastries are called "Jidase, Judas pastries, and Judas buns."
How to store this Easter sharing bread?
Stored this bread in an airtight container or under a napkin or tea towel to make sure it doesn't dry out.
It will stay fresh for up to 4 days. But I can promise you it'll disappear quicker than that!
If you want to bake it in advance, you can also freeze it. Place it in a big enough plastic bag, seal, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost it fully before serving for a couple of hours, at room temperature.
Easter sharing bread
- 500 g strong white bread flour plus some for dusting
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 7 g dried yeast (instant yeast)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
- 2 free-range egg yolks
- 300 ml lukewarm semi-skimmed milk (35C)
- 50 g unsalted butter softened and diced
- 3 pcs raisins or sultanas for the sheep's face
- 1 free-range egg for glazing
For serving (optional)
- fruit jam or conserve of your choice
- In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, dried yeast and salt.
- Using a spatula, stir in cooking oil and egg yolks.
- Rub in the softened butter. Do this using your hands or using a stand mixer. If using a stand mixer, use a hook and leave the machine to knead the dough for 3-5 minutes.
- Add lukewarm milk and knead for another 5-10 mins or until the dough absorbs all of the milk and is thick but flexible.
- Create a nice little loaf, set it in the mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a wet tea towel. Leave to rest in a warm place for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
- Place baking paper on a large baking tray.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, take the dough out of the bowl on a surface dusted with some flour. Knead it by hand for about a minute. Cut into 4 parts and set them aside.
- Use one part of the dough for the sheep's head: Split the dough in half. Use one half for the face - roll it into a nice rounded bun. Place on the left side of the baking sheet (or right - depending on which direction you want it to face). Now make the horns - split the other half of the dough into two. Roll these two into two 'open-end' swirls and place them next to the top of the sheep's head (one on each side).
- Cut one of the three remaining dough parts into 7-8 knobs. Roll each of them so you get an even roll about 8-10 cm long and about ½ inch thick. Roll that into a swirl and place next to the sheep's head on the baking tray. Do the same with the remaining two-quarters of the dough. Place the swirls on the baking tray so you create the body of the sheep. Save some of the dough for the sheep's legs - roll out 2 or 4 small knobs of the remaining dough and use it as legs (do not swirl these).
- Gently press two raisins as eyes onto the sheep's head. And also one for the mouth.
- Glaze over some beaten egg using a pastry brush.
- Place in preheated oven for 25-35 mins or until golden on top.
- Serve with butter and jam. Enjoy!
- The most common mistake is that you kill the yeast with hot liquid added to the dough. If unsure, use temperature room milk. It's perfectly fine. The dough might just need slightly more time to double in size.
- It's important to keep the resting dough in a warm place. Place it in a cold oven for the resting time if needed. This will prevent any draught or cold air from coming in (these usually prolong the growth of the dough).