16-18 ServingsPrep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling
4 to 4-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
2 to 3 drops red food coloring
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, water and butter to 120-130. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Beat in the eggs until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
Shape the larger portion into an elongated triangle with rounded corners for Santa's head and hat.
Divide the smaller portion in half. Shape and flatten one half into a beard. Using scissors or a pizza cutter, cut into strips to within 1 in. of top. Position on Santa's face; twist and curl strips if desired.
Use the remaining dough for the mustache, nose, hat pom-pom and brim. Shape a portion of dough into a mustache; flatten and cut the ends into small strips with scissors. Place above beard. Place a small ball above mustache for nose. Fold tip of hat over and add another ball for pom-pom. Roll out a narrow piece of dough to create a hat brim; position under hat.
With a scissors, cut two slits for eyes; insert raisins into slits. In separate small bowls, beat egg each yolk. Add red food coloring to one yolk; carefully brush over hat, nose and cheeks. Brush plain yolk over remaining dough.
Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-12 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf.
On a lightly floured surface, shape the larger portion of bread dough into an elongated triangle with rounded corners for Santa's head and hat.(image S2)
Shape and flatten half of the smaller portion of dough into a beard. Using a scissors or pizza cutter, cut the beard into strips to within 1 in. of the top of the beard.(image S3)
Carefully pick up the cut beard piece with both hands and position the beard on the bottom of Santa's face.
If desired, twist the cut strips in the beard and slightly curl up the ends of the strips to shape the beard.
Add red food coloring to one beaten egg yolk and carefully brush the tinted red yolk over the hat, nose and cheeks.(image S4)