December 19, 2019

Winter Solstice sun bread

A finished loaf of sun bread on a platter.

Sun bread is a yummy and cheery way to bring sunshine into your home during the winter. It's also a fun way to celebrate the winter solstice and the return of light.
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My kids and I made sun bread to get ready for the winter solstice this weekend. Since we are a very outdoorsy and nature loving family, we like to recognize the seasons and important events in the natural world. We always make pine cone bird feeders for solstice, and we read books about the seasons and the winter solstice.

The recipe is inspired by the book Sun Bread which we got from the library recently along with some other books celebrating the first day of winter like The Shortest Day
Sun Bread is such a cute story and the animals all make and share a warm loaf of sun bread to help bring back the sun. After reading the book, making this bread is a perfect cold and dreary winter day activity. It's a cozy activity to enjoy on the first day of winter.

I made this bread with the help of two toddlers, so it's not picture perfect bread by any means. They loved kneading the bread and helping to shape it. They used their little fingers to poke the eyes into the sun's face. I tried to not intervene too much and let them have fun.

The goal for this recipe is to get your kids into the kitchen to bake some delicious bread on a chilly day and then all share it together. It's not about creating a "perfect" loaf of bread. 
You can see that those nose got too browned for example in these photos, but that's okay because the kids were taking the lead on this project and that happens! Creating new and fun family traditions and memories is something I want to do with my kids.
We serve our bread for lunch with honey and butter, apple slices, and cheese. It's a rich and sweet bread making it perfect for breakfast or as a lunch/snack.
Here are a couple other recipes I like for the winter solstice - Pistachio Cardamom Crescent Cookies (the moon shape reminds me of winter and nature) and Sugar Plums (the dried fruits and spices are perfect for Yule and the solstice).

A baked loaf of sun bread on a platter next to a copy of the Sun Bread book.

Yield: about 8

Winter Solstice Sun Bread

Winter Solstice Sun Bread

Sun bread is a yummy and cheery way to bring sunshine into your home during the winter. It's also a fun way to celebrate the winter solstice and the return of light.


  • 3 tablespoons lukewarm milk
  • 2 packets (4-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


How to cook Winter Solstice Sun Bread

  1. Stir the milk and yeast together in a large bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sugar, eggs, and butter.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and stir the dough together. If the dough is very wet/sticky, add a little more flour.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. Pat into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for one hour.
  5. Line a baking sheet or pizza stone with parchment. Pull the dough in half and roll one half into the "body" of the sun. Place it on the baking sheet. Then you can decorate the sun as desired using the remaining dough. We rolled six pieces into logs and then curled them up like snails and stuck them around the sun. You can make triangles, etc. if desired. Save a small piece and roll it into a nose.
  6. Use your fingers to make the eyes and a knife to make a mouth (make it deep so it stays as the dough rises and bakes).
  7. Cover the completed sun bread with the towel again and let rise for another hour. While it rises, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Bake the bread for about 25 minutes, loosely covering with a piece of foil halfway through to prevent burning. The bread will be done when it is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. 
  9. Let cool before cutting. Serve as desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I hope you enjoy this fun family bread recipe! Let me know in the comments below. 

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Close-up of a finished loaf of winter solstice sun bread in the shape of a sun with a face.

This recipe was originally published in 2019 and was updated in 2023 with updated text to improve reader experience.
Check out these other bread recipes:


  1. How cool is that! I see that you now have two awesome sous chefs happily help you in the kitchen :-))

  2. What a fun bread to make with your kids! Bet you had a blast! Love the result.

  3. Dear Amy, what a fabulous project to bake with the kids. The recipe looks wonderful, the project sounds like a lot of fun and the bread is absolutely the cutest I have seen in a long time!
    All the best to you and the kids at this special time of year!

  4. This is adorable! I totally want to make this with my son.

  5. This sounds so much fun! Love this adorable bread!

  6. This will be so fun to make with my niece :)

  7. What a fun and delicious looking bread. My sister celebrates the solstices, too. I know she'd love this.


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