How to Make Star Bread (VIDEO)

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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!

Cinnamon sugar star bread with easy bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 easy bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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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.

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

Star bread dough

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 4 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!

How to assemble star bread

Cinnamon sugar star bread with easy bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 video tutorial on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to make Nutella star bread with easy homemade bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make Nutella star bread with easy homemade bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 danish twist bread style. 😉

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

(So corny, I couldn’t help myself.)

How to make Nutella star bread with easy homemade bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Star Bread

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:

  • 2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast*
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (290g) 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

Directions:

  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.

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.

Recipe Notes:

I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times could be slightly longer.

The top layer does not have filling on it, so only top 3 of the 4 shaped circles.

  1. Cinnamon Sugar: Spread 1 Tablespoon of very soft unsalted butter onto each of the 3 circles. Mix 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over butter on each circle.
  2. 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.
  3. Your favorite jam: Spread 1 Tablespoon of jam onto each of the 3 circles.
  4. 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.
  5. Apple Butter or Pumpkin Butter: Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon onto each of the 3 circles.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Savory: Reduce sugar in the dough to 1 Tablespoon. Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon of tomato sauce or pesto onto each of the 3 circles. (Try my kale pesto!). Top each with a light layer of shredded cheese, herbs, and/or chopped pepperoni.

Method taught by master baker Zoe Bakes!

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Bench Scraper | Marble Rolling Pin | Pizza CutterBaking Sheet | Pastry Brush

Cinnamon sugar star bread topped with confectioners' sugar

116 Comments

  1. Hi Sally!! Love this recipe – thanks so much. I want to make it for my daughters’ class and we have an egg allergy. Thought on an appropriate replacement for both the dough and egg wash? Can it be done??
    Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Stephanie! It can certainly be done. Use a couple Tablespoons of milk or half-and-half for brushing instead of the egg wash.

  2. I have my star bread in the oven right now! Will bring to my parents’ tomorrow for Thanksgiving and I know they’re gonna love it! I did cinnamon sugar and my house smells d-i-v-i-n-e. Thank you for a very clear, thorough recipe and if that wasn’t enough, the video helped me tremendously (especially in the shaping part). I’ve always been intimidated by breads as I’m more of a cake and dessert person but this recipe has become one of my favorites.

  3. Hi, just wonder why is bread flour not used in this recipe since it is a bread? Plain flour in UK technically is in between 9-10% of protein. Does that matter and will it affect the bread if i use plain flour instead of bread flour? Thanks

    1. Hi Amanda! All-purpose flour is more common than bread flour here in the US. Bread flour can definitely be used in most bread recipes including this one (use same amount); the star bread will taste a little chewier.

  4. Hi Sally,
    1. Do i need to do window pane test before sending it off for 1st proof? mixing the dough for 3mins seems short and i just wanted to double confirm because i usually mix the dough for at least 25mins before the first proof and after passing the window pane test.
    2. During the 2nd proof, at 20mins mark – show do we test that it is sufficiently proofed?

    1. Happy to help! No need for the window pane test unless you want to. This is a small amount of dough, so 3 minutes is sufficient. ONLY 20 minutes for the 2nd rise. You are not letting the shaped star double in size; rather, it is simply resting before baking.

  5. Hi!! Sally, love your site!!!!!Your recipes excite me because of their sophistication, ease of execution, and guaranteed deliciousness, real crowd pleasers!!! Thankyou for sharing your taste and expertise, love everything so far… and always must read your site, very exciting….Thankyou

  6. Hi Sally,
    This is my December baking goal! Can’t wait to try it! As always, your detailed directions and advice for breaking up the steps is super helpful. You give directions for making the dough ahead, but I was curious about if you could fill and shape the bread the afternoon/evening before…then put it in the fridge until morning and and bake it then. You mention the risk of the bread losing its shape with a long rise. If it’s in the fridge, would that slow down the rise and, therefore, help the bread retain its shape? If it’s possible to refrigerate the shaped bread and bake it in the morning, would I refrigerate it immediately after filling and shaping? Or would I still let it rise for 20 minutes, then refrigerate? Hope all of my questions makes sense!
    Thanks for your help…and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
    Erin

    1. Hi Erin! You can try to refrigerate the shaped star bread dough overnight, but I fear it would still puff up too much. If doing so, cover tightly and refrigerate immediately after shaping it. (Do not let it rest at room temperature.)

  7. Hey Sally!
    I’m currently dairy free while breastfeeding my baby. Do you think this recipe would work with a dairy alternative milk like soy or almond? And with margarine or shortening instead of butter? I really want to make this for Christmas and be able to eat it as well!

    Thank you!

  8. Hi Sally,
    Love your site and all your recipes. So much fun and so easy to follow!!
    I am planning to make star bread with nutella and toasted hazelnuts for Christmas morning. Can I make it through step 6 the night before and rest it in the refrigerator overnight. That way it can be popped in the oven first thing in the morning with minimal work Xmas morning. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Wendy! You can try to refrigerate the shaped star bread dough overnight, but I fear it would still puff up too much. If doing so, cover tightly and refrigerate immediately after shaping it. (Do not let it rest at room temperature.)

  9. Hi Sally,

    Great recipe, instructions and video!

    My only question is that you say to serve warm. Is the bread still good after it cools? Would it still be good the next day?

    I want to make some of these breads for my neighbors to give them on Christmas, so I wouldn’t be able to give everyone a warm bread.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jeff! I recommend covering tightly and keeping at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) for 1 day prior to gifting. It’s best eaten and enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Your neighbors can warm it up in the oven if they’d like!

  10. Is whole milk required? I was planning on making this today and just realized it says whole milk. I only have skim on hand, but also have half and half and heavy whipping cream. Can I substitute on of those?

  11. Hi Sally. I have pastrami, garlic butter and cheese between layers so is the baking time different as there is more filling? How do i tell when its baked?

  12. Can this bread be made a day ahead of time, or will it dry out? I’d like to bring it to my doctor’s office, but I don’t have time to make it the day of my appointment. Thanks!

  13. Made this beautiful treat for the day after Thanksgiving breakfast for my family and it just turned out so tasty and identical to your results!
    Everyone loved the appearance and loved the way it tasted.
    Truly one I would make over and over again. So simple!
    Thanks Sally!

  14. Hi Sally I have made these a few times but am looking to triple the recipe! Is it just a simple triple or should I do something more in depth?

    Love this recipe so much! It is gorgeous! Thank you so much! Beautiful during the holidays!!

  15. What’s the best way to prepare this the night before if I want to go beyond step 3 to reduce prep time in the morning? Can I prepare it all the way with the filling and let the dough sit in the fridge overnight? Or would you suggest baking it and just reheating it the next morning? Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Hayley! Letting the shaped bread sit in the refrigerator overnight risks over-rising and losing its shape. You can bake it then reheat it in the morning. 🙂

  16. Hi Sally! I made this bread today and it was so easy and delicious! For the cinnamon and sugar filling, do you use 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon for each layer? I think mine needed more of that flavor, I only used that total measurement for all the layers. Thanks!

  17. Hey there, Sally! Merry Christmas! I am making this, I think, for christmas brunch and am loving the orange cranberry idea. Do you think it would be okay if I replaced about a fourth of a cup of the milk with OJ? I’m really hoping to infuse some orange flavor into the dough. You think? I could also grate additional zest for the dough if you think the juice isn’t such a good idea. Let me know what you think!

    1. Hi Renee, I haven’t tested this wit orange juice , but let me know if you try it. It sounds delicious! You can certainly add some orange zest to the dough or filling!

  18. I JUST made this star bread (no, truly, it just came out of the oven). It looks absolutely gorgeous! And it was so much easier than I thought it would be after having watched the video. I chose the cinnamon sugar bread because I plan on having this as a breakfast treat. Thank you, Sally, for your helpful videos and the easy way you explain everything. You are without a doubt my go-to, favorite food blogger. I’m a baker and it’s nice to know that I can count on you to demystify some of the more difficult looking bakes.

    Happy holidays to you and yours!!

  19. I made this for my family’s Christmas morning breakfast. It turned out beautifully… just like your pictures. I always appreciate the make-ahead directions, and that’s what I used, so that I wouldn’t have as much to do in the morning. I drew a 10-inch circle on parchment paper, and rolled the first layer straight onto the parchment. With the other layers, I rolled them onto my pastry board that I sprayed with non-stick spray so that the soft, sticky dough could come up easily. Although my layers didn’t match up perfectly at first, after shaping with my hands and using the penciled circle on the parchment as a guideline, it ended up looking like a nice round circle. I didn’t trim any of it with a pizza cutter. This is not overly sweet or too sugary. It’s a delicious, and turns out perfectly. My sons said it was worth making again, and I’m eager to try other flavors. Thanks for another great recipe, Sally. 🙂

  20. I used the make ahead recipe to make it easier to finish on Christmas morning. Do you think you could make the whole thing and form it and then refrigerate over night? Or would that mess up the second rise and make the bread too dense?

    I made two batches – one sweet and one savory. For the sweet, I added orange zest to the dough and filled with brown sugar, orange zest, and cranberries. The smell of the dough with orange zest was perfect. We needed some extra brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. For the savory, I put some dried oregano and basil in the dough and filled with tomato pesto and cheese. My family was impressed and everyone loved the taste! The dough was fluffy and tasty. I will definitely be making this recipe again!

  21. Hey Sally! Quick question: I’m planning to make this this weekend, and need to make 2 stars. Is this recipe ok to be doubled in one batch, or do I need to make two separate batches? Thanks! (Also, I’m planning on refrigerating after step 3 for one night…not sure if that will affect the answer or not.) 🙂

    1. Hi Abbie! I strongly recommend making 2 separate doughs. Working with more dough than written risks over-mixing, over-kneading, and over-rising.

  22. My mother thought it would be a good idea to bring this star bread to the dinner we are having after church tonight. I wanted to make it, so that’s what happened. It’s a close second to something I have made that looks hard, but was super easy. Since we are going to dinner I made it savory with pesto and parmesan cheese & a tsp of herbs added to the dough. My mother says it smells heavenly all I smell is “stinky” pesto. Funny how one person’s treasure smell is another person not so pretty smell. I know everyone is going to love it. Thanks for this recipe, I loved making it even if I will not be eating any of it.

    1. Hi Meredith! Letting the shaped bread sit in the refrigerator overnight risks over-rising and losing its shape. You can bake it then reheat it in the morning.

  23. Hi Sally! I tried my hand at this gorgeous star bread. My dough was much more fragile than yours and kept tearing as I rolled it out. Admittedly, I always have trouble with dough, but I’m trying to learn! I’m wondering if you have suggestions on where I might have made errors? I didn’t have whole milk so substituted with half 10% cream and half buttermilk. I also weighed my flour, using 290g, instead of going with the volume measurements. 2 1/3 cups of my flour (spooned and levelled) weighed 330g, and I thought the extra 40g might make the dough too tough. Regardless of my dough woes, the bread is now resting and I know it will be insanely delicious like every single recipe I have tried from your website. I baked your orange cranberry bundt cake before Christmas and it was declared by all who tried it to be one of the most delicious things they had ever tasted!

    1. Hi Lisa, in step 2 was your dough super sticky? If so you could have added 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour. How was the final product after you baked it?

      1. Thanks for responding! Yes the dough was super sticky. Next time I won’t be afraid to add a bit of extra flour. The bread baked beautifully and I’m told it was delicious – I gave it away and didn’t get to taste it for myself! I did however bake a scrap of leftover dough into a cinnamon roll and it was tender and delicious. Thanks again for responding and for this awesome website!

  24. Hello Sally,

    Beautiful recipe and such an easy tutorial too! Could you tell me how wide this star bread would be when baked? I soo want to try this but my oven is a mini 18 litre thing not a big device. Appreciate the help.

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