What Is Fairy Bread?
Fairy bread holds a special place in Australian childhood memories, tied to birthday parties and school events. It's a simple delight—white bread generously buttered and covered in rainbow sprinkles, known as "hundreds and thousands" in Australia. This no-cook treat brings nostalgic joy, reminiscent of uncomplicated times when straightforward recipes brought big smiles.
The charm of fairy bread lies in its flexibility. While typically made with soft white bread, toasting it lightly before adding butter and sprinkles transforms it into a warm delight known as "unicorn bread." Whether fresh or toasted, the key is to cover the bread evenly for a perfect balance of softness and a subtle sprinkle crunch.
The whimsical name "fairy bread" has inspired various playful versions, extending its popularity beyond Australia. Now, "bread with sprinkles" is a delightful surprise at children's parties worldwide. While the Australian tradition sets the standard, the spirit of fairy bread transcends cultures, symbolizing joy and childhood wonder, whether it's called fairy bread, unicorn bread, or sprinkle toast.
Fairy bread is a versatile treat that can easily be adapted to suit different tastes and occasions. Here are some fun variations to the classic recipe:
- Chocolate Fairy Bread: Swap out the butter for a thin layer of Nutella or any chocolate-hazelnut spread for a sweet chocolatey twist.
- Rainbow Fairy Bread: Use rainbow-colored sprinkles or create a pattern with different colored sprinkles to make the bread even more visually appealing.
- Peanut Butter Fairy Bread: Replace the butter with peanut butter before adding the sprinkles for a nutty flavor.
- Cream Cheese Fairy Bread: Spread cream cheese instead of butter for a tangy base that pairs well with the sweetness of the sprinkles.
- Gluten-Free Fairy Bread: Opt for gluten-free bread to make this treat accessible to those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
- Vegan Fairy Bread: Use vegan bread and a vegan butter substitute to cater to a plant-based diet.
- Savory Fairy Bread: For a less sweet version, try using grated cheese and herbs instead of sprinkles.
- Mini Fairy Bread: Cut the bread into smaller shapes like stars or hearts using cookie cutters for bite-sized treats.
- Edible Glitter Fairy Bread: Use edible glitter or shimmering sugar for a glitzy twist that's perfect for special occasions.
- Fairy Bread Sandwiches: Make fairy bread as usual, then sandwich two pieces together with the sprinkled sides facing out for a fun twist.
Each variation provides a unique taste experience while keeping the spirit of the original fairy bread alive. Experiment with different toppings and spreads to find your favorite combination or to match the theme of your party or event.
How Do You Keep Fairy Bread Fresh?
Fairy bread is best enjoyed fresh, but if you need to keep it for a little while before serving, here are some tips to maintain its freshness:
- Prepare Close to Serving Time: Make fairy bread as close to the event or serving time as possible. This treat doesn't store well for long periods as the bread can become hard and the sprinkles can bleed color into the bread.
- Cool Ingredients: Ensure that the bread and butter are not too warm. Warm butter can cause the sprinkles to melt and the bread to become soggy.
- Airtight Container: If you must wait before serving, place the fairy bread in a single layer in an airtight container. This will help to keep out moisture and prevent the bread from drying out.
- Room Temperature: Store the container at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Avoid refrigeration as it can cause the bread to become stiff and the butter to harden, which alters the texture.
- Short-Term Storage: Even with these precautions, fairy bread should really only be stored for a few hours at most. If you need to prepare it in advance, you might consider preparing the bread with butter and then adding the sprinkles just before serving.
- Keep it Flat: When storing, keep the container flat and avoid stacking the bread as it can crush the sprinkles and cause them to stick together.
- Avoid Humidity: Humidity is the enemy of fairy bread, causing it to become soggy. Always store it in a dry environment.
Remember, fairy bread is a simple, delightful treat meant for immediate consumption. The fresher it is, the better it will taste and look.
How Long Does Fairy Bread Last?
At Room Temperature: If you need to make fairy bread a little in advance, it can last for a few hours when stored properly at room temperature. Keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to prevent the bread from becoming stale and the sprinkles from melting or bleeding into the bread.
Beyond a Few Hours: Fairy bread doesn't fare well over extended periods, especially overnight. The bread can dry out, the butter can be absorbed into the bread making it soggy, and the sprinkles can lose their crunch and color.
Refrigeration: Is not recommended for fairy bread as the cold environment can harden the butter and affect the texture of the bread, making it tough and not as pleasant to eat.
In summary, fairy bread is at its prime shortly after it's made. If you have leftovers, it's best to accept that they might not retain the same quality as when they were fresh. Therefore, it's advisable to prepare only as much as you expect to be consumed to avoid waste.