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

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.

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

86 Comments

All Comments

  1. Sally, this is pure holiday genius! Side note- after trying your choux pastry for the first time this past weekend, I seriously cried when it turned out correct! You have given me so so so much inspiration and helped me become a talented baker. Your instructions are always spot-on and you make the most intimidating things (like this bread!) Seem so simple that anyone can do it. I just wanted to thank you, yet again, for being the amazing role model you have become for me <3 and I see plenty of loaves of this in my holiday future!! Only question I have is– if you decide to go savory (hello pesto and sun dried tomato sprinkled with grated parmesan!) do you alter the dough recipe at all? I know you said you increased the sugar here because it's meant to be sweet, but, would it change at all if you go savory? Thanks lady!!

    1. What an incredibly kind and sweet message, Angela! I appreciate it so so so much. Thank you and congrats on mastering Choux Pastry!

      See my recipe note about the savory option. Reduce the sugar in the dough to 1 Tablespoon. And please let me know how your Star Bread turns out!

  2. I make cinnamon buns like 10000x times over the holiday season, so it’s only logical to try this one instead this year!

  3. I have never commented before, but just had to this time. I have baked bread, and many of its relatives, all my life. I grew up with a mom who made every piece of bread we ever ate and I have kids who will hardly look at a store bought loaf. I am so impressed with this recipe. The finished product looks so amazing, like it must have been produced by a master chef. I just cannot believe how truly simple it is to make. Thank you so much for posting this. I just love checking in on your blog every few days to see what wonderful new treats you are featuring, and I am never disappointed.

    1. What a kind message, thank you so much! I hope you’ll try this recipe- you’re right, it’s so much easier than it looks 🙂 Let me know what you and your kids think!

  4. I love when you do videos. It makes me want to try the recipe right now.
    I would never have attempted to try this without watching the video.
    Thank you.

  5. I just made it. Had to improvise a little because my oven stopped working, but managed to make it in the toaster oven. I did Nutella filling and it turned out great. It’s a keeper recipe!!!! thank you for the idea

  6. Oh my, when I saw this I said right, no way I could do this. Then watched your video and you make it look so doable. I cook a lot and used to make lots of homemade bread, rolls, and cinnamon rolls. This is stunning! Love your videos Sally! Thanks for all your hard work on your blog.

    1. So sweet, thank you for your positive comment Charlotte! Please let me know if you try this recipe- I’d love to know what you think 🙂

  7. I made this a couple of years ago when it was highlighted on the King Aurthur Flour website and it was so easy! People were so impressed by it! Thanks for the reminder, I’ll have to make it again!

  8. Hi Sally,
    I was wondering if you can use any bread dough recipe and shape it like this star bread? I make focaccia dough using sourdough starter discard, flour, salt, & yeast, and I thought I might try layering that with olive oil & rosemary & a light sprinkle of Parmesan. What do you think?

    1. Hi Tammy! It depends on the focaccia dough. Make sure it’s a rich dough with plenty of olive oil. A leaner dough, without fat, wouldn’t necessarily work as well holding this shape. Let me know how it goes!

  9. O.M.G.!!!!!! It’s THAT SIMPLE? Hard to believe! Thank you so much for the video. The two things I am most intimidated about are pie crust and working with yeast. I’m DETERMINED to make homemade bread this season (thanks to you). My family loves cinnamon rolls. Can you recommend which one of your recipes is the best for a beginner? And any other tips/thoughts? Sally, I have stopped looking at other blogs for my baking needs since about 2-yrs ago. You are such a precise and stellar communicator and teacher, your recipes never fail in my kitchen – THANK YOU! Our family appreciates you. Can’t wait for cookie palooza 🙂

  10. You make things look so doable, Sally! So glad you posted a video or else I would’ve said no way I’m trying that! This might just end up on the Thanksgiving menu for this year!

  11. Hey Sally! Do you think you could mix this dough without a standing mixer? I only have a hand mixer with beater attachments and my two hands – what do you recommend?

    Thanks so much! This recipe looks beautiful.
    -Jennifer

  12. hi there. my dough is very soft and it had small breaks when i twisted it. what do you think i did wrong or what can i do to keep this from happening ? love your blog and that you are doing videos!

    1. Hi Sarah! The dough may not have risen long enough. If it keeps breaking, cover the dough and set it aside for 15 minutes. Letting it rest will help make shaping easier.

  13. I’ve never been disappointed by one of Sally’s bread recipes and loved the look of this, so gave it a try on the weekend for a community bake off…
    I used a pre-made dip (roast tomato, feta, basil & cashew) for the filling and it was such a simple recipe but looked, smelled and tasted amazing!
    This beautiful bread won me first place and $100 for best savoury dish 🙂

    1. Hi Jessica! Yum! Almond paste should work just fine as the filling. You can even warm it a little on the stove so it’s a spreadable consistency.

  14. What a fun idea! I’m concerned that the smaller the strips, the much 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 me know how it goes!

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Reviews

  1. I love to bake bread, and so when I saw this recipe, I knew that I had to try it. I made this today, and OMG it is incredible! It not only looks beautiful, but it also tastes SO good. Even though it looks intimidating to make, it was actually really easy, and the dough is quite forgiving. Thank you for sharing your recipe for this gorgeous bread, Sally!

Questions

  1. Could this recipe be adapted to make mini/individual breads? Was thinking gift ideas hehe. Also just wondering why bread flour is not used and all purpose is. I love your cinnamon loaf bread, so just had me thinking. Looking forward to trying this!

  2. Hi, Sally! Do you think I could do this with cheese, herbs, and butter, but not sauce for a savory star bread? Thank you.

  3. Hi Sally. Where do you get the Red Star Platinum Yeast? I’ve used it before, at your recommendation, but can’t find it locally anymore. Are you able to find it locally or do you order it online?

  4. Hi Sally,

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I’ve never been disappointed in any of the recipes I’ve tried from you! What would happen if 1% milk was used instead of whole milk?

    Thanks for your help!

  5. Hi sally!
    I’m curious about the difference between cinnamon buns and this bread, aside for the shape. Can you explain? Thank you!

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