Recipe Review

This Gnome-Shaped Bread Loaf Will Brighten Up Your Holidays

published Dec 3, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

With so many people finding comfort in breadmaking last year, it seems the natural evolution for home bakers is to turn their loaves into works of art. And Instagrammer @cottageloaves is happy to share not only inspiration, but also instructions to help you take your dough to the next level.

After bringing us the turkey loaf for Thanksgiving, the self-proclaimed sourdough artist returned this week with some Christmas inspiration: Gnome Bread. Along with a video posted to their account on Friday, the baker offers fairly detailed, step-by-step instructions in the caption, which call for you to start “with a 650g batard.” Or in other words, an unbaked loaf weighing about 23 ounces.

From there, cottageloaves walks you through shaping each adorable feature on this simple, yet intricate creation. “Slice batard at an angle 📐on each side to make the pointy hat; save these pieces to make the nose, feet and pom pom for the hat,” read the next two steps.

The project leaves plenty of room for customization as well, with the instructor adding that you can select a color and stencil designs of your choice for your Gnome Bread’s hat. While making this project looks easy, cottageloaves cautions that you should wait until about 15 minutes into the baking process to add detailing to the band of dough serving as the fringe on the gnome’s hat. They also suggest scoring the base of the gnome all the way around to avoid bursts that could affect the final look of your creation.

Once the designs are complete, the gnome bread goes into an oval Dutch oven. It should be baked covered for 20 minutes at 475°F, then uncovered for 15 to 18 additional minutes.

Don’t have a Dutch oven? No worries. The same results can be achieved by placing the loaf on a cookie sheet or pizza stone, which is then placed on top of a pan with a few ice cubes in it to create steam. This method bakes for 25 minutes at 450°F.