Star Bread is hands down the most beautiful and detailed Holiday Bread Recipe. I’m still debating if it looks like a star or a giant snowflake, but definitely sure it tastes amazing. Warm soft bread filled with cinnamon sugar, what’s not to love?! Added bonus is one recipe will feed a bunch of hungry relatives:)
If your thinking it looks too complicated, don’t worry the steps are easy and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. All you need is a little patience, some counter space, a ruler, and a juice glass. I suggest cranking up the Christmas music, pouring yourself a holiday cocktail, then get to baking.
Tips for Cinnamon Star Bread:
- Use warm milk, but not hot. Hot milk will kill your yeast. Microwave milk for about 30 seconds, stir and check with thermometer to be 120-130 F. The finger method works too. Poke your finger in the milk, if it feels like bath water and isn’t too hot for your finger, then its good for the yeast:)
- Dough needs to rise in a warm draft free location. I use two methods in the winter. First I set the bowl under my microwave and turn on the light.(this only works if your microwave is mounted to the wall, haha.) Or, I place the bowl in my oven and turn on the light. Just make sure the oven is off. A sunny window will do the trick too, as long as there are no drafts.
- When twisting your cut dough strips, grab one with each hand and rotate your hands away from you palms up. Twist the dough twice, so there are two exposed cinnamon curves. Then take one tip and slightly lay over the second tip. You can press together and shape into a nice point. If they aren’t sticking, just brush a little egg wash in between them to act as glue.
- Use a baking thermometer to check dough temp or gently lift one edge and make sure bottom of star has a crust texture. If you undercook the star it will be doughy in the center.
- If your star is getting too dark on top before baking time is finished, simply cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.
This recipe is an adaption of King Arthur Flour’s ‘Cinnamon Star Bread’ post.
Cinnamon Star Bread
- 3 1/2 cups (448 g) All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 2.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) Warm Almond Milk
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter melted (let cool back to room temp.)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Egg beaten with fork
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
- Sift flour into medium bowl, then hand whisk in salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In bowl of stand mixer, combine yeast, warm almond milk, and sugar. Gently stir together, then leave to rest for 10 minutes or until frothy.
- Once yeast mixture is foamy, add butter and vanilla, mix with paddle attachment until combined. Then spoon in 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on medium speed with dough hook.
- Continue to add flour slowly until incorporated and dough has started to form. Dough should be elastic and tacky without being to sticky. It should pull away from the bowl and not stick too much to your fingers. (Dough should not be firm nor dry) (If dough is too wet, add a Tbsp of flour at a time until tacky.)
- Beat dough at medium-high for 5 minutes, then transfer to large lightly floured bowl.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free area. Let rise for one hour, or until dough has doubled in size. (may take closer to 2 hrs if your home is cool)
- Once dough has doubled in size, place onto lightly floured surface.
- Use a large knife or bench scraper to cut dough into four four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a thin towel, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
- While dough is resting mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Preheat Oven to 400 F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Take one dough ball and roll out into a 10″ circle. (I suggest clearing some counter space and then coating lightly with flour.)
- Gently transfer the first circle onto a parchment paper lined baking tray.
- Brush a thin layer of beaten egg on the surface of the first circle of dough leaving a 1/4″ bare rim. Then sprinkle a thin coating of the cinnamon/sugar across the egg wash.
- Roll out second circle and repeat process to more times.
- Place the fourth dough circle on top. Brush a small amount of egg wash across the top layer without adding the cinnamon/sugar.
- Place a 2 1/2″-3″ round cutter or juice glass in the center of the dough circle. Press down enough to leave a circular imprint. You can then remove the round marker. (you can leave cutter or glass on dough if your worried bout cutting to far)
- Take a sharp knife and cut the dough into 16 equal strips. Use the round imprint as a guide for a stopping point to keep from cutting into the center.
- I found it easiest to cut the dough into 4 quadrants and then continue to split those 4 into an additional 4 even quadrants. (Doesn’t have to be perfect!)
- Using two hands, pick up two adjacent dough strips and twist them away from each other ‘twice’ so that the top side is facing up again. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips.
- Pinch the paired ends together and shape into an overlapping star point.
- Now that your star is assembled, make sure to remove glass or cutter from center if you haven’t already. (cover star and let sit for 45 minutes or until pastry has “puffed”)
- Brush star with a coating of the egg wash, try not to go over the cinnamon, but just lightly coat the dough.
- Bake star for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. The center should reach 190-200 F to insure properly baked dough. (Read tips above!)
- Transfer to baking sheet and cool for 15 min. Serve warm!