April 3, 2012 at 1:47 PM ET
First, let me tell you that no actual bunnies were hurt in the making of this bread. None at all. A lot of flour got thrown around, though.
Bunny-shaped bread sounded like a simple, yet brilliant idea. What could be so hard? Well, a lot of things. The first year I made it, I was very pleased with the shape of the bunny when it went into the oven, but apparently the oven was possessed. While a bunny went in, it wasn't a bunny that came out.
As my husband so eloquently put it, "Why did you make gargoyle bread?"
Yes, it was that bad. I learned a few valuable lessons that are applicable to any shaped bread.
First, anything that isn't anchored or attached might move unpredictably. That means raisin eyes or unattached ears or feet might not stay where you left them. Before I figured that out, I had a lot of bunnies with detached ears and loose eyes and noses on the baking sheet. Sometimes things stay in place, but sometimes they don't.
Second, different parts might rise at different rates—that includes the final rise before going into the oven, as well as in the oven. Before I figured that out, I ended up with some very, very strange bunnies.
Third, it's okay if some things aren't perfect. A tilted head, a floppy ear, or a paw that's a little odd will add character. You're not going for anatomically correct wildlife.
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