Sun Bread, as inspired by the book by Elisa Kleven, has become a Winter Solstice tradition in our home. This is a super simple recipe, which is great for baking with children. Baking a sun bread during the Winter Solstice is a great way to celebrate the return of light. This tradition has also become a staple in the Waldorf classroom. You can learn more about the Winter Waldorf traditions here.
What is Winter Solstice?
The Winter Solstice is the first day of Winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, solstice lands on December 21 or 22. In the Southern Hemisphere, solstice lands on June 20 or 21. Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. After solstice, the days get longer and longer until summer solstice which is the longest day of the year. On winter solstice we are tilted as far away from the Sun as possible, which means the sun is as low as it can be in the sky. If you stand outside at noon, your shadow is longer than it will be all year. The word “solstice” means “sun stand still.” For a few days following solstice, the sun’s path remains the same, making it look as though the sun is standing still. On winter solstice, we celebrate the return of the light of the sun and the lengthening of days.
We baked this bread with my two year old boys. They loved to help me measure the ingredients, mix them together, and knead the dough. Playing with the flour and the different textures is a great sensory activity for small children. It also introduces them with the joy of making something with their own two hands, and to create something out of nothing.
Sun Bread Recipe
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 cups sifted flour, or bread flour
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 packets of active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Stir the milk and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, until it creates a foam.
- Mix in 3 eggs, sugar and melted butter.
- Add 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Knead the dough. Add flour if the dough is wet and sticks to your hand. Knead for 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a ball and place it into a large bowl. Cover and let rise for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
- Knead the dough and split it into two pieces of equal size.
- Shape the face of the sun. Roll the dough into a ball. Poke two holes with your fingers to create the eyes. Be careful not to tear the dough but push hard enough to make a good impression. Form a small ball for the nose. Poke the dough to create the smile.
- Take the second half of the dough and split it into 10 balls. Roll the balls into snakes, and spiral them around. Attach the sun beams onto the sun.
- Cover the bread and let rise for an hour.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20 mins.
- Let cool, create an egg wash if desired.
- Serve and Enjoy!