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Star Bread




Watch here for my quick video to see the process in action!


This rich bread yeast bread is both striking and delicious! And don't wait for the holidays to create one! It's much easier to make than it looks, I will take you through the process with the video, printable recipe, and step by step pictures.


Here, discs of dough rolled out to 10-12 inch circles are spread with raspberry jam, BUT another wonderful thing about this celebratory loaf...use a filling of your choice, either sweet or savory. Jelly/jam, melted chocolate, cinnamon sugar, pestos, nut butters, guava paste....as long as it is smooth and spreadable, and will adhere to the dough when you twist it, you're all set. VERSATILE and memorable.


A hint to all you lovely yeast bakers...the more you bake in your kitchen, the more yeast spores are in that creative space, so keep making bread, you will be surprised at how quickly your breads rise!


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Recipe and picture tutorial:


Total Prep Time: 20 minutes (resting time for the dough before shaping adds an additional hour.


Yield: one 10-12 inch round loaf, 8 "star point" servings.


INGREDIENTS:


1 cup warm whole milk (warm means you dip you finger in the milk, it is very warm, but NOT hot.


1 tablespoon active dry yeast


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg, at room temperature (bring the chilled egg to room temp by placing the egg in a very warm water bath. By touch, the water will be very warm, but not hot enough for you to need to remove your finger.) I love these little tricks we learn along the way, they will serve you well as you explore baking.


Add Optional bread flavoring to mixture before adding flour and salt:

For sweet breads: 1/2-1 teaspoon flavor extract...do this, it really adds to the nuanced flavor of the bread. I only add PURE extracts, some examples; vanilla, maple, ...a little bit goes a long way.

For savory breads, add some ground savory seasonings, black pepper, cumin, thyme, oregano.


3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour. I prefer King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour.


1 teaspoon salt


The layered filling:


Here is where you get creative. The most important thing is you want a filling that can be spreadable in a thin layer, and then sliced and twisted. HAVE FUN WITH THIS creative culinary aspect.


Filling Ideas:


Smooth jams and jellies, melted chocolate, spiced butters, savory pestos, chili pastes...use enough to thinly spread on the bread rounds 3 times.


Egg Wash for top of bread:

1 large egg

1-2 teaspoons water


Optional: For sweet bread, after baking, dust with granulated or powdered sugar.


Method:


Make the dough


In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook attachment, add warm milk and yeast. With a wire whisk, gently whisk the yeast and milk together for a few seconds. Let stand for 15-20 seconds, until foamy.


Add the melted butter, sugar, and egg. Mix in any optional flavor extracts to the the mixture.


Add 2 of the 4 cups of flour and salt on top of the wet dough. Mix on low speed for a few minutes, then cup by cup add the rest of the flour. Increase the mixer speed to low medium, mixing as dough begins to form. If dough remains sticky, add additional flour, in stages, until dough starts to form a ball, and starts pulling away from the bowl.


In a separate medium bowl, lightly oiled, place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then a dry kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size, approximately an hour.


After the rising, punch down the dough. Place it on a lightly floured surface.


Shaping the dough:

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces...



Roll each piece into a 10-12 1/4 inch discs.




Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Line a half size baking sheet with parchment paper. Begin assembling bread on the paper.


Place down first disc, then spread with a thin layer of your chosen filling, here I am using blackberry jam. Place second dough disc on top of the first, then layer with filling. Top with third dough disc, again spreading the disc with filling. Place final fourth disc on top.


Place a 3 inch cookie cutter in the center of the dough, lightly making a slight indentation, but do not cut the center circle all the way through.


Using a very sharp knife, make clean cuts of the dough, first into quarters, leaving the inner circle intact (don't cut the inner circle).


Divide and cut out four slices within each quarter. Wipe any filling from the knife as you cut, so the filling doesn't smear onto each cut. You should now have 16 triangles.



Gently and slightly separate each triangle to prepare for the shaping.



Gently grab two of the triangle strips, and twist them three times away from each other, then pinch the two ends together.

Place the parchment with the dough onto a 1/2 size sheet pan, then brush with egg wash.


Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with sugar.


And there it is, you did it!



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