This recipe for Star Bread, a pull-apart bread made with common pantry ingredients, is ideal for a celebratory breakfast, brunch, or even dessert. This festive holiday treat will not last long once it is displayed due to the layers of cinnamon sugar between the dough.
Materials Required for This Recipe
- Always make sure your yeast hasn’t passed its expiration date. If the yeast’s expiration date has passed, you should replace it with fresh yeast.
- Milk: the natural sugar in milk helps activate the yeast, and the milk itself adds tenderness and flavor.
- When it comes to butter, make sure you get unsalted and not salted. Since the amount of salt in salted butter varies widely between brands, I prefer to add my own precise amount of salt when making bread.
- If you run out of cinnamon sugar and you didn’t remember to buy any, you can make your own by mixing ground cinnamon with regular sugar.
For the Dough:
- ▢1 cup warm whole milk 110F (240mL)
- ▢1 0.25-ounce packet instant yeast
- ▢5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ▢¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- ▢1 large egg room temperature
- ▢3¾ cups all-purpose flour (450g)
- ▢1 teaspoon salt
For the FIlling:
- ▢½ cup granulated sugar 100g
- ▢1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ▢3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
For the Topping:
- ▢1 large egg
- ▢1 teaspoon water
- ▢Confectioners’ sugar
INSTRUCTIONS FOR BAKED STARS
- Stir the yeast into the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, egg, and melted butter and let it sit until it’s very foamy. Sprinkle flour and salt over the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until dough forms. Turn the mixer up to medium-low and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
- Roll the dough into a ball and put it in a bowl that has been lightly greased. Wrap and rest for an hour, or until puffy. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface.
- Make four balls from the dough and set them aside.
- Flatten one ball of dough into a 12-inch circle. Spread out on a piece of waxed paper. Brush with melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, using a third of the total. Place the sugar-coated round onto a baking sheet, and repeat with the second dough ball.
- Spread some more butter on the top of the circle.
- Add a further one-third of the cinnamon sugar. Layers should be repeated. The final dough ball should be rolled and placed on top. If necessary, trim the dough so that it forms a circle about 10 or 11 inches in diameter.
- Put a cookie cutter or small bowl with a 3-inch diameter in the middle of the dough. Cut the circle into quarters, beginning at the dough’s outer edge and ending at the bowl’s inner rim, using a pastry cutter or very sharp knife. Separate the quarters and further divide them into halves.
- Take a dough strip in each hand and twist it away from you three times. Spread them out and bring the ends together to pinch. Keep going around in a circle like that. Brush with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes after letting rise under loose plastic wrap or a tea towel until puffed. Serve the star bread warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE LIKE A PRO
- The dough’s rising time will vary based on the ambient temperature in your kitchen. Dough should rise between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Your cinnamon star bread dough will rise nicely even if you turn the oven off but leave the light on if your kitchen is on the chilly side.
- Milk should be between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit; any higher and the yeast will die, and any lower and the yeast won’t activate.
- Keep any leftover dry yeast in the refrigerator in an airtight container if you’re using packaged yeast.
- If you measure your flour accurately, you won’t have to worry about adding too much. The most common cause of dense bread is using too much flour in the recipe. A scale is the most accurate tool for measuring flour. If you don’t have a flour sifter, you can use a spoon to aerate the flour before sprinkling it into a measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife.
- During the second rise of the star bread, make sure to monitor it closely and use a timer. Too much time away from the bread can cause it to lose its star shape.
- To prevent the dough from drying out, work with one ball at a time and cover the others with plastic wrap or a tea towel.
- You can knead the dough by hand if you don’t have a mixer. It’ll take about 10 to 15 minutes longer.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE INSERT?
You don’t like cinnamon sugar, do you? Star bread can be stuffed with whatever you like. Instead of cinnamon sugar, you could try something like Nutella, jam, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice, or cream cheese.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY BREAD?
Too much flour or not enough kneading time will result in a dense Christmas star bread, as gluten is developed during the latter. When the dough is ready, it will be sticky and elastic, and it will begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
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