Here is how to make any kind of bread into a butterfly. It looks hard, but it's easy, and it will help turn a snack into a celebration. You can make your butterfly any size you like, but two or three loaves worth of dough makes one about as big as a cookie sheet can take. Pick a favorite recipe or buy some ready-made dough. Make the dough any way you like, but if you want to make it easy for yourself, try this method: Start off with just the liquid, sugar, yeast, and enough flour to seem like pancake batter.
Add the extras in an hour or two (or even the next day). All that resting time allows gluten from the flour to go into solution which is going to make it much more elastic and easier to knead and shape! The extra ingredients would include all any that are not favorites of your youthful yeast: salt, spices, and oil or butter. Adding them later makes the yeast more joyful and productive starting out. Don???t worry about measuring the flour. Just stop adding more when the dough is not getting sticky any more, and it???s easy to shape. The only ratio that is important to respect is the ratio of salt to water. Everything else is flexible. Experiment! See what you like!
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Step 1: Stir
Stir as long as you can and then knead in as much flour as the dough seems to require for shaping. As you knead in more and more flour, keep a motion of lift, fold, push, turn, lift, fold, push, turn, being careful not to let your hands get through into the sticky middle of the dough. Anywhere the dough feels sticky, just sprinkle on some more flour and rub your sticky fingers in more flour. It will all just roll off.
Step 2: Roll Out the Dough.
When the dough feels nicely elastic, you're ready to roll it into a rectangle.
Don't worry if the sides aren't straight. You'll need to trim some off for the body anyway.
Step 3: Goodies on Top
Spread the rolled dough with your favorite filling. For a breakfast roll, it's hard to beat melted butter with cinnamon and sugar, raisins and almonds; but you could just as well choose olive oil with garlic, sesame seeds and basil for a gourmet lunch. Anything goes!
Step 4: Roll Up the Dough.
Start rolling the dough from one long side to the other, making a snake-shape with the seam underneath.
Step 5: Lifting Roll Toward Pan
You're ready to lift! Here's where it's good to have four hands, but you can do it solo, if you're careful! Your goal is to get the two ends under the middle so they don't quite meet.
Step 6: On the Pan
At this point you've got the two ends of the roll tucked under in the middle on the pan
Step 7: First Cut
Here's where the fun begins! Start snipping into one of the folded ends. Cut most of the way in toward the middle.
Step 8: Second Cut
Open up the first cut, spreading out the wings and laying them flat before cutting into the second side.
Step 9: Spread
9. Spread out both pairs of wings, arranging them to be as symmetrical as you can. You might want to snip a little farther in on one of the sides to even them up.
Step 10: Add Body
Shape that piece of dough you trimmed off at the start to make the body. The abdomen end should come to a little point. The head end can be rolled in your hands into a long thin snake-shape. Snip that snake-shape in half to form the two antennae. Lay body on top.
Step 11: Glaze
11. Anything's nicer with a glaze! If you beat up an egg with a tablespoon of milk or water, you can brush that on for a lovely shine!
Step 12: Bake and Serve
Baking time and temperature will depend on how large you've made your butterfly and how long you want it to take (lower-longer or higher-faster). 350 degrees for 40 minutes is a typical choice for a standard loaf, but slower-longer can be safer for getting the middle done without having the wings overdone. The best clue for bread being done is a blast of aroma from the oven and a rich golden brown color on top. Then you're ready to Celebrate!