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!
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.
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. Full video tutorial is below in the recipe card.
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.
How to Make Star Bread in 4 Steps
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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!
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.
- cinnamon sugar
- your favorite jam
- butter + brown sugar + crystallized ginger (this is how we made it in Kansas!)
- apple butter or pumpkin butter
- chai spice
- butter + cinnamon sugar + walnuts + dates
- cinnamon sugar + orange zest + fresh or dried cranberries
- 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.
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.)
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.
- Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: serves 8
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Watch the video tutorial (below) 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!
- 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 (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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover the shaped bread with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- 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.
- 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Bench Scraper | Rolling Pin | Pizza Cutter | Baking Sheet | Pastry Brush
- 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.
- Layers: The top layer does not have filling on it, so only top 3 of the 4 shaped circles.
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
Reader Comments & Reviews
Could I substitute reduced fat milk if I don’t have whole milk on hand? This looks amazing – can’t wait to bake!
Hi Kersten, you can certainly give it a try, but the bread won’t be as soft and rich. For best results, we recommend whole milk if possible!
Delicious and relatively simple recipe. I used raspberry jam to simplify things, but I think it would be better with one of the other fillings described.
Hi love that you add the ‘weight’ of some ingredients like flour. It is so much easier and way more accurate. I measured the flour both ways (cups and grams) and I was off when I measured with my measuring cup. So thank you. Recipes turn out better
Hi Sally! I’ve made a number of your recipes and they always turn out so delicious. I have a question about soft/wet dough, though! In your video your dough was able to be shaped into a ball and picked up quite easily… my dough is SO soft that it doesn’t hold a ball shape…. but I don’t want to add too much more flour. Is it just a matter of kneading it until the gluten develops? I measured the flour by grams so I was certain about the ratios.
Hi Courtney! Add flour 1 Tbs at a time just until you can handle the dough with more ease.
I made this recipe with a savory filling – caramelized onions, cheese and herbs with butter. Came out delicious and soft!! I don’t have a stand mixer and did it all by hand. My suggestion would be to add a note on how long to knead by hand as well, and what changes to make if you’re not using a hand mixer. I just mixed everything and left the dough to proof. Maybe the dough could’ve used some initial kneading. Yet, the recipe is full-proof! Amazing addition to holiday baking list!
I am thinking of making this for breakfast on a special day, but was wondering if instead of letting it rise for 90 minutes in the morning there was a way for it to rise overnight, perhaps in the refrigerator? If so, how long should it rise for? Thanks!
Hi Rachel, We do not recommend shaping the star bread and refrigerating overnight. However, after step 3 you can refrigerate the dough overnight. See the make ahead directions in the recipe notes for details.
Absolutely loved making this bread! Can’t believe how easy it was and how amazing it tasted! Used garlic and herbs as the filling, but want to try a sweet filling next time. Thank you for this recipe!
I made a version of the chai spice filling (my family can’t have cinnamon) and it was wonderful. Served with poached pears and lightly whipped cream for New Year’s Eve breakfast, final blow out before January and it’s soups kick in!
I’ve used oat milk and it works perfectly!
Fantastic! I made it with Nutella. It was delicious and fairly easy to make. It is a total show stopper and makes you look like a really fancy baker!
This is such a great special occasion recipe! I made it for Christmas last week and it was so impressive looking and delicious. I used the cinnamon sugar filling and it was almost like a lighter, less dense version of a cinnamon roll. I also loved being able to prep and refrigerate the night before so there was less work needed on Christmas morning. My husband is already asking when we can have it again to try with different fillings!
Perfect recipe for a baker using yeast for the First time! Tried it with Apricot Jam. Mmmm Mmmm! Thank you so much Sally. Will be making this bread again with more variations.
Would a be able to substitute 2% milk in replace of the whole milk? If so, would I be able to use 2% milk in your other bread recipes that also call for whole milk?
Hi Elsie, 2% milk would be fine, but the dough may not be as soft. Same as most other dough recipes 🙂
It’s me again Sally. I made 20 of these beauties this week, then froze them. My concern is that by the time i got some to the freezer, they were a bit hardened on top due to the egg wash. When i thaw them, how can i get them soft again? I’m worried. Help LOL. This bread is a knock out beauty. I love the recipe and appreciate your help. Merry Christmas
20!?! That’s amazing, Beth!! After the finished bread is frozen, we recommend thawing in the refrigerator overnight, then warming up in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes. The outside should soften back up during that time in the oven. Enjoy!
If hand mixing the dough. Should I use a metal hand mixer or a spoon? And how long for?
I’m on my second attempt as the first didn’t rise 🙁 all my ingredients were newly bought but I’m definitely a novice baker!!
Hi Beth, If you don’t have a dough hook we recommend mixing this dough by hand (spoon instead of a hand held electric mixer).
Would this be ok if I used goat cheese and cranberries?
Hi Lily, That sounds delicious! You may wish to roughly chop the larger cranberries first. Let us know if you try it!
I made this today and it turned out wonderful, thank you. How long does it last? Refrigerated? Frozen?
So happy you love it, Beth! Cover and store leftover star bread at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Trina, when I froze the bread, the outside became hard as a rock. too much egg wash? How do I soften it back up?
Hi Sally and Stephanie!
Yesterday I stored my yeast and sugar together in an airtight container and put it in the fridge. Do you think that this would impact my bread in any way?
Thank you so much!
Hi Emily, I think the dough should be just fine. Let me know how you like the star bread!
This bread is amazing! I’ve had it on my “baking bucket list” for quite some time, but was always too intimidated by how impressive-looking it is. Surely it must be difficult? Not at all! Your video tutorial was so helpful, and it was so easy to make! I used the cinnamon and sugar filling – I can’t wait to try other variations!
This recipe turns out such an impressive and delicious sweet bread! Your recipe is beautifully written; so clear and easy to follow. I watched the video first, and it was very helpful in understanding how to shape the bread. I will definitely be perusing your other recipes.
Delicious! The recipe is so easy to follow and i’m so glad the measurements are in grams too!
Wow Sally mad this today I think I over stuffed it lol but it still came out pretty and tasted wonderful! I tried a cherry jam and almond paste with a little cinnamon just because . I will definitely be dong this recipe again and with variations. Thank you!
Thank you for your recipe, very easy steps to understand from the video, it was so amazing and delicious! I made the filling with cinnamon sugar and raisin, super!
I decided I’d live to tackle this beautiful bread and gift to friends and family this holiday. When I googled it, your recipe popped up and I said to myself “YAY, LOOKNNO FURTHER!” Your recipes really are the holy grail. I appreciate that more than you know. What q wonderful, straightforward recipe.
Can I use bread flour or cake flour instead?
Hi Heather, you can use bread flour but the bread won’t taste as soft and light. I don’t recommend cake flour.
Thank you for the quick reply!!☺️
Hi! This recipe looks amazing, and I’m thinking of making it for Thanksgiving but with a twist. I made your pumpkin cinnamon rolls recently, and loved the combination of the pumpkin dough and the filling. I was hoping to make a similar thing, but in star bread form. Can pumpkin be added to this recipe to make a pumpkin dough? What adjustments would I have to make to the recipe? Thanks so much!
This may be a sacrilege but I depend on time saving hacks because I work full time. I made a Purple Ube version if this using a 1 lb loaf of Rhoad’s frozen bread dough and it turned out perfectly!. Seven hour rise time in a bread pan from frozen as directed. Divided loaf into 4 equal parts. Rolled out each into 8 inch rounds and layered my Ube jam on the first three layers. Cut, twist, pinch, eggwash and baked at 350 for 25 minutes. Spectacular presentation and taste. Half the work and prep time. Priceless.
Thank you so much for this recipe. It was delicious and so much fun to make! I’m just curious, I’d love to make and deliver this to family and friends this holiday season, but I’m not sure how they would reheat it with the confectioner’s sugar on top, or if you would even recommend this. Do you have any suggestions? I’m thinking of making the cinnamon sugar version 🙂
Thank you, again!
Hi Sarah, You can deliver it without the sugar on top. I love gifting things like this with a little tag for reheating instructions. Yours can say something like “Warm the bread up in a 300 degree F oven to your liking and then if desired dust with confectioners sugar before eating.”
This should be 5 star hands down. Makes for a great presentation and so easy to pull apart and eat.
This is such a showstopper! The video makes makes it 100% approachable and the results are phenomenal!
I have made this star bread before using the cinnamon filling, it was delicious.
Although i have a question:
Is there another chocolate option besides nutella that i may use?
Do you have any recipes for a kind of chocolate sauce that will go well as a filling in this sweet bread, or will normal melted chocolate do?
P.s congrats on baby #2, i hope all is well with you and your family.
Hi Ariffa, You can simply use melted and slightly cooled chocolate between the layers!