We Made the Viral Thanksgiving Turkey 'Bread' — and It's Easier Than It Looks

The genius video from the account @cottageloaves garnered over 1 million likes and more than 10 million views on TikTok

Viral Turkey Bread Loaf
Photo: Ana Calderone

Turkey has long been considered the worst part of Thanksgiving. It's all about the sides! So why not try something a little different this year?

During my daily scrolling through TikTok, I came across something that quite literally stopped my finger in its tracks: a loaf of bread in the shape of a turkey. The genius idea came from the account @cottageloaves, and I wasn't the only one who was fascinated. The video had over 1 million likes and more than 10 million views.

The tutorial looked easy enough, so I decided to give it a try. If it didn't work out, there was always real turkey, right?

All jokes aside, the turkey bread is not meant to replace the main event — but it does make for a nice centerpiece while the real bird is getting carved up. And if nothing else, it's a great conversation piece.

Cottages Loaves makes hers with sourdough, but you can use any bread recipe as long as it forms a nice crust. That crispy brown exterior is what's going to make it look like a real roast turkey. I opted for King Arthur's rye bread recipe because I figured the addition of caraway seeds and minced onion would give my bird some extra texture.

After I let the dough rise, it was time to shape it.

"To create the 'wings' make two cuts on either side of the dough ball not cutting all the way through at the top," instructs Cottage Loaves, noting its best to use a bench scraper. Then taper the ends and fold them over the "breast."

It's important not to cut too much — I overdid it on one wing and my turkey ended up looking a little beefy.

Viral Turkey Bread Loaf
Ana Calderone

The "drumsticks" are where I had the most fun. You just cut off two pieces at an angle, creating a V shape at the bottom, then do your best to make them look like drumsticks. Stick them back on the body and twist the ends together. If you need a little help getting them to stick, use a splash of water on your fingers.

You could stop here, but for some extra color, sprinkle the whole thing with paprika before baking. And it wouldn't be a turkey without a little basting, so I brushed mine with some melted butter once out of the oven.

Presentation is key, especially if you're trying to fool your guests with this. To take things to the next level, dress your bird loaf with ingredients you'd normally see on a turkey platter: citrus, fresh herbs, and colorful fruit like pomegranate.

I uploaded the finished product to my Instagram Story, and let me tell you, I had a lot of people confused.

"This is scary how real looking this is," said one follower.

"I thought you were about to put turkey in that bread," said another. "This is much better!"

Yes, yes it is.

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