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Here is my tested recipe and video tutorial teaching you how to make star bread. This beautiful holiday brunch recipe is surprisingly easy and impresses everyone!

star bread with a hand pulling a section apart

One of the best parts of my summer was visiting Kansas with several other baking bloggers. It was the best experience! We toured wheat farms with Kansas Wheat and baked with Red Star Yeast, one of my beloved partners. There I learned how to make star bread from master bread baker Zoe Bakes; it is one of the most stunning bread creations. Truly a piece of art. Carb art.

cinnamon sugar star bread with hand pulling apart a piece

Star Bread Video Tutorial

I’ve always admired this beautiful bread, but was intimidated to try it. It’s so intricate and looks impossible, right? Had I never watched the process, I would’ve NEVER known how EASY it is!! And today I’m showing you how to recreate this masterpiece in a few simple steps. It’s much easier than you may think, just like my cinnamon roll wreath.

Basically… if you know how to use a knife or pizza cutter, you know how to make star bread.

Star bread dough rolled into a circle on a piece of parchment paper

How to Make Star Bread in 4 Steps

  1. Make a simple 7 ingredient dough and let it rise for 90 minutes. We’re using the same dough from Everything Bagel Pull Apart Bread, but adding a little more sugar and butter since this is meant to be sweet. It’s a small-batch dough recipe, perfect for our star bread. After the dough rises for 90 minutes, punch it down to release the air bubbles. (Watch me do this in the video above.)
  2. Roll out the star bread. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each out into a rough 10-inch circle. Stack them on top of each other with your filling between each. There will be 4 layers of dough and 3 layers of filling.
  3. Shape the star bread. As you saw in the video, this isn’t tricky! Cut any scraps around the edges so you have an even circle. Place a 3 inch round object or bowl in the center to make an indent. This is the center of the star. Using a pizza cutter, cut 16 even strips. Grab two strips and twist them away from each other, then press the two ends together. Your star bread will have 8 points.
  4. Let it rest for 20 minutes, then bake. Cover the shaped bread and let it rest for 20 minutes before brushing with egg wash and baking. Egg wash promises a beautifully shiny and golden star bread!
2 images of star bread with slits cut and brushing egg wash onto assembled star bread before baking
cinnamon sugar star bread

This is a SHORTCUT Bread Recipe

We’re cutting down the rise time, which makes this star bread process even quicker. Shaped breads like pull apart bread or cinnamon rolls, typically require 2 rises. A 1st rise for the dough, then a 2nd rise after the dough is shaped. I found this to be problematic with star bread. The 2nd rise gave the dough too much time to puff up, causing the bread to lose its lovely shape when baked.

Instead, just cover the shaped star bread and let it rest for about 20 minutes before baking. That’s it! Just 20 minutes, the perfect amount of time to clean up and preheat the oven.

  • This significantly cuts down on our prep time. Yay!
  • Promises the bread holds its shape!
cinnamon sugar star bread with confectioners' sugar topping

Star Bread Fillings!

Pictured today is a Nutella star bread and cinnamon sugar star bread. There’s many options when it comes to fillings, but the most important thing to remember is to top each layer lightly. If you go too heavy on the filling, it will spill out everywhere.

  1. cinnamon sugar
  2. nutella
  3. your favorite jam
  4. butter + brown sugar + crystallized ginger (this is how we made it in Kansas!)
  5. apple butter or pumpkin butter
  6. chai spice
  7. butter + cinnamon sugar + walnuts + dates
  8. cinnamon sugar + orange zest + fresh or dried cranberries
  9. savory such as pesto, tomato sauce, cheese, herbs, etc

*Make sure any chunks are very finely chopped.

Isn’t the Nutella star bread pretty? Reminds me of Nutella babka, but easier to shape. Obviously the Nutella variation was very good, but the cinnamon sugar star bread was pure comfort food. Paired with a buttery soft dough, you can’t go wrong with any filling.

Nutella star bread
Nutella star bread on a cream plate

A dusting of confectioners’ sugar completes the star. Looks like a snowflake, doesn’t it? You could also drizzle some vanilla icing on top, raspberry twist bread style.

Be the *star* of your holiday get togethers with this easy star bread recipe!

(So corny, I couldn’t help myself.)

zoomed in image of star bread

Make Ahead Options

  • Refrigerate dough for up to 1-2 days. Prepare bread dough through step 3 below. After it has risen, punch the dough down to release the air bubbles. Cover the dough tightly, then place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Then, continue with step 5 below.
  • Freeze dough for up to 3 months. Prepare bread dough through step 3 below. After it has risen, punch the dough down to release the air bubbles. Cover the dough tightly, then place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready, thaw the bread overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Then, continue with step 5 below.
Print
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cinnamon sugar star bread with hand pulling apart a piece

Star Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Watch the video tutorial (above) before beginning so you can easily shape this star bread masterpiece. What I love most about this homemade bread recipe, besides its ability to impress EVERYONE, is that the rise times have been reduced. If the bread rises for too long, it could lose its shape. I love a shortcut recipe!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast*
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (60gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (291g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • filling (see recipe note)
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Place the yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until warm to touch, about 110°F (43°C). Pour warm milk on top of yeast/sugar. Whisk gently to combine, then loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will be frothy after 5-10 minutes.
  2. If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. Add the butter, egg, flour, and salt. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Dough will be soft. Using lightly floured hands, form it into a ball. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour, but you want a very soft dough.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl (nonstick spray is fine) and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place in a slightly warm environment to rise until doubled in size, around 60-90 minutes. For this warm spot, I suggest using the oven. Preheat to 150°F, then turn the oven off after preheating. Place the covered bowl inside and shut the oven door. This is your warm environment.
  4. Prepare filling: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and prepare your star bread filling. See all my options in the recipe notes below.
  5. Assemble the bread: Watch the video above to guide you through this step. Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces and, with a floured rolling pin, roll each out into a thin 10-inch circle. Place the bottom circle on prepared baking sheet. If it lost its circle shape, use your hands to form the edges back into a round shape. Top with filling, then layer the remaining circles and filling on top. The top layer does not have filling on it, so only 3 of the 4 circles will be topped with filling. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut any scraps around the edges so you have an even circle. Place a 3 inch round object or bowl in the center and make an indent. This is the center of the star. Now it’s time to cut strips from the edge to the center 3-inch circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut 16 even strips. Using both hands, grab two strips and twist them away from each other twice, then press the two ends together to make a point. Your star bread will have 8 points.
  6.  Cover the shaped bread with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  8. Bake the bread: Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the star bread with egg wash. This ensures a beautifully shiny golden brown bread. Bake for about 25- 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. If you notice the top or points browning too quickly, loosely tent the star bread with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  9. Dust confectioners’ sugar on top and enjoy warm. Cover and store leftover star bread at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Refrigerate dough for up to 1-2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Prepare bread dough through step 3 below. After it has risen, punch the dough down to release the air bubbles. Cover the dough tightly, then place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready, thaw the bread overnight in the refrigerator. (If frozen.) Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Then, continue with step 5. I do not recommend shaping the star bread and refrigerating overnight. Letting the shaped bread sit in the refrigerator overnight risks over-rising and losing its shape.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Bench Scraper | Rolling Pin | Pizza CutterBaking Sheet | Pastry Brush
  3. Yeast: I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times could be slightly longer. Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.
  4. Layers: The top layer does not have filling on it, so only top 3 of the 4 shaped circles.
  5. FILLINGS:

Cinnamon Sugar: Spread 1 Tablespoon of very soft unsalted butter onto each of the 3 circles. (3 Tbsp total.) Mix 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. This is the total amount and you will divide it between each circle. Sprinkle evenly over butter on each circle.

Nutella: Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon of Nutella onto each of the 3 circles. Nutella is difficult to spread onto soft dough, so warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds until it’s a spreadable consistency.

Your favorite jam: Spread 1 Tablespoon of jam onto each of the 3 circles.

Butter, Brown Sugar, + Ginger: Spread 1 Tablespoon of very soft unsalted butter onto each of the 3 circles. Mix 3 Tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger. Sprinkle evenly over butter on each circle.

Apple Butter or Pumpkin Butter: Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon onto each of the 3 circles.

Chai Spice: Spread 1 Tablespoon of very soft unsalted butter onto each of the 3 circles. Mix 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar with 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground ginger,  ground cardamom, and ground allspice. Sprinkle evenly over butter on each circle.

Butter + Cinnamon Sugar + Walnuts + Dates: Spread 1 Tablespoon of very soft unsalted butter onto each of the 3 circles. Mix 3 Tablespoons packed brown or granulated sugar with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 2 Tablespoons each finely chopped walnuts and pitted dates. Sprinkle evenly over butter on each circle.

Cinnamon sugar + Orange Zest + Fresh or Dried Cranberries: Spread 1 Tablespoon of very soft unsalted butter onto each of the 3 circles. Mix 3 Tablespoons packed brown or granulated sugar with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons orange zest, and 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh or dried cranberries. Sprinkle evenly over butter on each circle.

Savory: Reduce sugar in the dough to 1 Tablespoon. Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon of tomato sauce or homemade pesto onto each of the 3 circles. Top each with a light layer of shredded cheese, herbs, and/or chopped pepperoni.

Method taught by master baker Zoe Bakes!

Keywords: star bread

using a metal sieve to add confectioners' sugar on top of cinnamon sugar star bread

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Ani, 2% milk would be fine, but the dough may not be as soft or rich.

  1. My 11 year old made this all by herself ( with a little bit of assistance ) turned out wonderful. Will be making this again for sure.

    1. My husband and I love this recipe! It’s our go to showstopper for holiday brunches. We were asked to make it for Easter — do you have any recommendations on a lemon filling?

      1. I’m so glad you love this bread! Try 1 Tbsp of lemon curd onto each of the 3 circles. (Same as you would with Nutella or jam.)

  2. Thanks for the great recipe! As an Iowan 4-H’er, I entered this bread into the county fair two years ago and qualified for the Iowa State Fair. I received a blue ribbon! I am still making this recipe for my family to enjoy. It’s a blue ribbon bread!

  3. Made this with the filling from NYT Cooking’s chocolate babka recipe, and it was delicious. Basically a sweetened ganache: heat .75 c cream, .5 c sugar & pinch of salt on stove, simmer til sugar fully dissolves, about 5 mins. Pour over 8 T unsalted butter, cut up small, 6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate, and 2 t vanilla. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temp before filling the bread. Half is enough to fill the bread; we drizzled more on after.

  4. Thx for the recipe and instructions. It’s impressive and tasty except the edges. How to make the edges not so dry?

    1. Hi Stella, If you try this again, feel free to loosely tent the top if the edges are baking before the center.

  5. Made this today and it was perfect for our Epiphany celebration! I made it with the cinnamon sugar filling and it was the perfect amount of sweetness.

  6. Not sure I’ve ever commented but this recipe is a favorite of mine! Ive made it both by hand and with the kitchenaid and both turn out wonderfully.
    I love raspberry jam or cinnamon & sugar!

    1. Hi Lynda, We don’t recommend it. We haven’t tested it but you can try a vegan butter such as the Earth Balance brand. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. I have tried this with the Earth Balance brand with an even amount of the plant based butter and it turned out beautifully.

  7. I finally made your recipe this morning and it is divine! Very easy with excellent instructions. I filled mine with an orange cream cheese frosting and walnuts, and sprinkled some maple sugar on top before baking. Thanks!

  8. This is the 2nd recipe from this site that came out far too wet if I follow the instructions. It was unworkable until I added another 1/3 to 1/2cup flour, at least. I weighed the ingredients intitally. Are the weights off, or do you live in a vary dry area? It came out very tasty after the additional flour, but as written it was a batter, not a dough.

    1. Hi Jen, There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air or the brand of flour you’re using. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency.

  9. Sally’s Star Bread was so delicious and a lot easier than expected to make! Made it with the cinnamon sugar filling. Will be trying chocolate or Nutella next! 10/10!!

    1. Hi Shiloh! The fillings listed in the recipe notes are the only fillings we have tested and can confidently recommend. Caramel may be too wet and seep into the dough, but let us know if you give it a try!

  10. This is a lovely recipe! I have made it twice. I prepared it a few days ago and the outcome was different from the first time. After 2/3 through the baking time the points started to split. I ended pushing them together and trussing them with toothpicks, which seemed to “do the trick.” Do you have any ideas what I did wrong? Thank you for any help and I use your other recipes all the time!

    1. Hi Becky! To ensure that your points stay assembled correctly, make sure to really pinch the two sides of the point together so they seal into one point. And avoid using too much flour when rolling the rough out because flour on the surface of the dough will keep the two sides from sticking together. Hope these tips will help for next time!

  11. I made this tonight! My daughter and I absolutely loved it! Super easy recipe to follow. I did it with Nutella and it turned out amazing! 10/10

  12. I can’t wait to try this! I’m not sure this question has been answered yet… For making ahead could I assemble the whole thing and then freeze before baking? I see you recommend not to refrigerate at this point. Would love to make ahead to give as Christmas morning gifts for some friends.

    1. Hi Tracy! We don’t recommend freezing the shaped bread – it would be best to freeze the dough, then thaw and shape the bread before shaping (see recipe notes for details).

    2. Tracy, I just saw your comment and wanted to let you know these freeze great once already baked and then can thaw overnight /warm the day of serving. I made 37 for Thanksgiving and have 55 orders for Christmas already. They are definitely a hit! Good luck with making them and happy holidays!

    1. Hi Antonia, you can use bread flour but the bread won’t taste as soft and light.

  13. If I wanted to make smaller ones, such as a 4”-6” single serve, what would you suggest for a change in baking time?

    1. Hi Kathy, What a fun idea! I’m concerned that the smaller the strips, the more difficult it would be to twist them. Try making 2 smaller breads. Cut the dough in half, cut each into 4 pieces, then roll each out into 5 inch circles. The bake time will be shorter. Let us know how it goes!

    1. Hi Roma, We haven’t tested this recipe with an egg substitute but let us know if you try anything.

  14. Mine’s in the oven now and we can’t wait to try it! My bread dough rose very well and I filled it with cinnamon sugar.

      1. Is it okay to make the whole thing the night before to serve the next morning? Will it still be fresh?

      2. Yes, absolutely! Cool completely and leave covered at room temperature overnight.

  15. I saw this recipe this morning and knew I’d have Star Bread by the end of the night. I was so determined to make this, that even after I failed my first attempt at the dough, (I didn’t add enough flour and it was terribly sticky), I made a new batch and waited ANOTHER hour for it to rise Call me crazy but Sally’s recipes have me addicted.
    Anyways, I made the Star Bread with Nutella and it was absolutely delicious. I’m not sure if it looked better or tasted better!! Next time i will be going the savory pesto route. Thank you so much Sally!!! If anyone wants to follow me, I add all of the recipes I’ve done from Sally on my IG. Kaysconfections530

  16. I was nervous to try this but couldn’t believe how beautful it turned out. The directions and video couldn’t be better! Any tips for reheating? I want to bring this to a party but would like to make it earlier in the day.

    1. Hi Kristen, Thank you for trying this recipe! You can serve this at room temperature or warm the bread up in a 300 degree F oven to your liking. Enjoy!

  17. I used a Nutella filling. I made icing and put it in a little bowl to the side. I added 2 extra tablespoons of flour to make for a workable dough.. I didn’t use a pizza cutter to trim the edges. Just kind of made it back into a circle with my hands.

    Overall, it turned out good, I think. I do have a question about texture. It wasn’t a soft and airy bread (think soft dinner roll), but I wouldn’t call it a crusty loaf either. It was somewhere in between. Does that sound about right?

    I did have to roll each layer of dough out multiple times because I rolled it out too thin at first so it kept breaking. So I am wondering if I overworked the dough at all?

    The texture wasn’t terrible. Just wanted to inquire.

    1. Hi Amanda, This should be a soft dough. It’s possible that you overworked the dough.

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