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I don’t know where you live, but where I live Spring came very late this year and it is still cold and rainy. We’re ready to see the sun. I know many of our friends in the Midwest United States feel the same way.
What if we could bake bread in the shape of the sun and coax it to come out ? That’s exactly what happens in Elisa Kleven’s book Sun Bread.
Today we’re jumping into this edible read as part of our A Natural Nester At Home Summer Camp Summer series.
This very inventive tale with its bouncy rhymes makes for a family classic like no other.
Winter’s chill has set in and spring cannot be found. It’s been gray for days and the sun hasn’t been anywhere. The baker especially misses the sun and sets out to bring some warmth to her gloomy town by baking a sun bread, as golden and glorious as the sun in the sky. As the bread bakes, it’s smell wafts through the town bringing everyone to the bakery to share in its goodness. Even the sun itself had to join in.
I have to confess that for this blog post I actually baked sun bread yesterday and you know what? It works !!
Not only did it bring out the sun but it also brought two of my children home from college with some of their friends. As we sat around the table eating our warm sun bread with butter, everyone mentioned they had all read this book as a small child. They could recite parts of the rhymes, they remembered the colorful and engaging illustrations and everyone felt that they had recaptured their childhood together while sitting there remembering this book. Since many of them had read this book in school, they never got to actually eat Sun Bread…… until now. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there is any better recommendation of a book becoming a classic than this.
Since this book works so well at bringing out the sun, my copy of Sun Bread is now being mailed off to my friend Becky in Minnesota where the snow has finally stopped falling but now the spring rains won’t let up.
May it bring your family much warmth, yummy bread, fantastic memories, and something to talk about years later.
“The sun shines not on us but in us.” –John Muir
Something To Do: A Fun Sun Bread Recipe
The recipe for sun bread is provided in the book. I needed to make some adjustments to it and will write my version for you here. Remember flour and yeast are very fickle things. The same recipe will react differently depending on which part of the country you’re baking your bread in. Please feel free to add flour or water as needed.
There’s one more thing before I share the recipe. You can just make Sun Bread without reading the book and it will taste wonderful, but the real magic happens when you bake Sun Bread after you read the book. The bread tastes completely different, almost enchanted !!
Elisa Kleven’s Sun Bread Recipe
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted*
- 2 packages dry yeast (1 package = 2¼ teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons lukewarm milk
- Mix eggs and sugar well.
- Combine flour and butter.
- Add the eggs mixture to the flour mixture and beat well.
- In a small bowl combine yeast and milk. Allow to stand until mixture is foamy, at least 5 minutes.
- Add the yeast mixture to the batter and stir. Knead dough on greased, floured surface for 8-10 minutes. (My dough is usually very sticky and buttery so I add ¼ to ½ cup more flour whenever I knead this dough.)
- Place dough in greased bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour (dough will be doubled in size).
- Gently deflate the dough, knead for 5 minutes, then separate into 2 portions.
- To form the sun’s face, shape one portion of the dough into a round, somewhat flattened ball, then place on a large greased (or covered with cornmeal) baking sheet. (I also used parchment paper.) With the greased end of a wooden spoon or with your finger, poke two “eyes” in the sun: draw a mouth with same way (I use a wide-lipped glass and press it gently into the dough). Make sure the lines are deep so they won’t close up during rising and baking. Make a nose by securely attaching a small ball of dough to its face.
- Make the corona of the sun by rolling one half of the remainder of the dough into four or five long “snakes.” Curl the snakes into puffy “snail” shapes. Shape the rest of the dough into four or five puffy triangles. Firmly attach the snails and triangles to the sun’s face. (Use some water if the dough is dry. My dough was very buttery and moist, so I did not need to.)
Cover the sun and let it rise again in a warm place for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. I sprinkled my sun’s corona with red salt and white sea salt. Bake for about 10-20 minutes.** Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread. It should come out clean.