Thanksgiving Sheaf Bread

i’m a lot of things, but today, timely isn’t one of them.


let’s chat about thanksgiving – a recap of sorts. well, i ate, drank, slept a little, and then opened more wine. my mom and i cooked up a storm so my sister opened champagne because my mom and i tend to cook differently (re: she’s tidy and traditional, i’m messy and tend to improvise) and then i baked two kinds of chocolate chip cookies because i accidentally did the first batch without my niece, which pretty much makes me cruella de vil to her so we whipped up another batch. so we opened some wine. my sister did her best to follow me around cleaning up all of the messes i invariably make while doing all of these things. so then we poured more wine.

ah, the holidays.

also, carbs.


i LOVE making bread. there’s something intensely therapeutic about it to me. watching it rise. patiently, kneading it. the mess you have to make and no one can say anything about it.

and then making it into something so pretty – it’s so gratifying, isn’t it? you’re like, so is eating hawaiian rolls from jewel megan but just stick with me here guys.


ALSO. breaking news. my brother, who does not doll out compliments freely or frequently, literally said this was his favorite dish last year. AT THANKSGIVING. warm up the banjos boys, this is cause for celebration.

he, however, did not say it this year but we just won’t read into that too much.


recipe is from my fairy godmother herself, martha. although, i didn’t have barley malt syrup so i used molasses. because improvisation is the best spice to use in the kitchen.

Thanksgiving Sheaf Bread
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  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 envelope)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons barley-malt syrup (available at natural-food stores) OR 1/2 tablespoon molasses + 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (lots of it, lots)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool, plus more for brushing
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling OR kosher salt


  1. No special skills or tools are required to make this stunning bread in the shape of a sheaf of wheat. It may seem too pretty to eat -- but is too delectable not to.
  2. To make the bread, complete steps 1 and 2 of the recipe for the pull-apart rolls, then punch down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and shape it into a ball.
  3. Follow the steps to form and bake the sheaf, dusting your work surface and hands with flour as you go. When rolling the ropes, work with a few pieces of dough at a time, and keep the rest loosely covered with a clean kitchen towel.

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