Harvest Festival Sheaf

Harvest Festival Sheaf

Based on recipe from Bread, A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes, by Jeffrey Hamelman Makes 30cm tall sheaf
Cuisine British
Keyword Baking, bread
Prep Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 6 hours 40 minutes


  • 525 g strong white bread flour
  • 2 g fast action yeast
  • 8 g salt
  • 26 g milk powder
  • 23 g sugar
  • 26 g butter softened
  • 290 ml warm water

for decoration

  • 2 currants or cloves
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • tbsp water


  • Mix together all the dry ingredients then add the softened butter and water until combined to form a dough.
  • Knead dough for 10 minutes until soft. Use the dough immediately.
  • Split the dough in to these quantities: 400g base, 40 x 10g for wheat, 3 x 20g braid, 30-40g mouse
  • Take the 400g of base dough and put the remaining dough in a covered bowl back in the fridge to keep cool.
  • Grease an appropriate baking tray or line with baking parchment. Shape the dough into a rough sheaf shape and place on the baking tray.
  • Start to build up the wheat one stalk at a time. To make the wheat, roll 10g of dough until approximately 30cm long then fold the end over 4 times and squash to make a giant tadpole shape. Stick to the base with water then use scissors to make snips in the head.
  • Continue to add the stalks until all the wheat stalk dough has been used up. Make the braid and attach to the sheaf with water.
  • To make the mouse roll a small amount of dough to make a tail then roll the remaining dough into an egg shape. Exaggerate the nose (so it almost looks like a shrew) because once in the oven the nose will shrink. Attach to disks of dough to the side of the head to make the ears. Stick the mouse to the sheaf then add the eyes using cloves or currants.
  • Whisk together an egg, tbsp of water and pinch of salt, then glaze the dough.
  • Bake at 160oc until dough is golden and dried out. After and hour of baking slide the sheaf off the sheet directly on to the oven shelf to help bake the underneath. In my case this total baking took nearly 2 hours. If the top is browning too quickly cover with foil.