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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. Thanks for the recipe and tutorial i just make it and fill with tomatoes sauce and cheese this is will be my breakfast for my fam.. Thanks

  2. So much fun! I made this today since we are quarantined and have plenty of time on my hands. It turned out great despite me rolling the layers a bit thin. I was worried but you would never have known from the finished product. Great recipe!

  3. I made this tonight using chocolate chips and walnuts and it was perfect. 5 stars and I’ll definitely make this again.

  4. This is so beautiful and tasty! I made it with cinnamon and sugar filling and used an icing for the top. Thank you for the video on how to assemble… it helped a lot!

  5. I made this star bread a few weeks ago, and it was really good! I filled it with cinnamon and sugar. It looked really cool! It’s really satisfying to make something that requires very little effort, but looks really hard. I’ll totally try this again, and I’ll try it with a different filling
    next time.

  6. If I could give this more stars I absolutely would! I made it two days in a row and one was savory while the other was sweet. Me and my family loved both of them!! I did the cinnamon sugar filling for the first one, and we made the second one a Hawaiian pizza. The dough rose beautifully I and I never had to add any extra flour! I loved how light and fluffy the dough was. Thank you so much for this absolutely amazing recipe! <3

  7. Hi Sally, recently saw where someone made a star bread and pictured it on a Facebook site. It was made as a nut roll. My question is can I make a nut roll using your recipe for star bread or would I be able to use my nut roll pastry recipe?

    1. Hi Merlyn! We haven’t tested a recipe for a nut roll so can’t say for sure. I fear the nut filling may be too heavy for this light star bread dough, but let us know if you try it!

  8. Great recipe! really tasty. I used cinnamon sugar but I am going to try to make it with my gardens pesto in the summer. Super pretty to!

  9. Hi Sally! So excited to try this recipe. I wanted to put a garlic bread spin on it. Do you think that would work?

    1. Definitely! You could layer butter, garlic and herbs in the layers. Let us know how it goes!

  10. This recipe is the best. My husband and I both work from home and some days really crave some nutella star bread for our afternoon coffee break, so I just break up the recipe throughout the day – take egg/butter out in the morning before work, take a break mid morning to make the dough, at lunch I shape it, then it’s perfectly fresh for the afternoon break. It took a bit longer to make the first time cause I kept referring back to steps/pictures but after that it’s so quick to do. This recipe says “leave at room temperature for 1-2 days” but it does not even last that long in this house!

  11. Made this with cinnamon sugar filling for my neighbor yesterday. Their family loved it. Now I need to make one and try it myself. The dough was very easy to work with.

  12. My first Star Bread ever…I can’t tell you how proud I was of myself. I followed your instructions and watched the video. My boyfriend was impressed with the presentation and taste. Thank you! (Wish I could’ve added a picture)

    1. We’re so glad this recipe was such a hit for you, Carmen! If you’d like, feel free to send us your photo — sally@sallysbakingaddiction.com. We’d love to see it!

  13. I refrigerated the dough. When I rolled it out it stuck to the floured parchment paper. Really hard to get layers off paper or bread onto baking sheet. Any idea what I did wrong
    ?

    1. Hi Pam, if the dough is too sticky to handle, you can add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour, but you want a very soft dough. You can also bake the bread on top of the parchment paper (on a baking sheet), so no need to remove the finished star bread from the parchment until after it is baked through. Hope this helps!

  14. I made this and one layer was homemade pesto and the other was chopped dried tomatoes mixed with a bit of butter and pecorino cheese finely grated. It was so pretty and I brought it to my girls’ weekend wine tasting. We pulled it out during our tasting and the wine folks wanted one !!! I guess I’ll have to bring 2 next year!!

  15. This bread is so beautiful, I want to make it for Christmas! Do you think homemade cranberry jam will work? I love the idea of the red for Christmas! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe

    1. Hi Kathy, a homemade cranberry jam would be a delicious choice! Let us know how it turns out for you.

  16. Hello ! I have an injury prohibiting me from kneading. Could I use my break maker?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Michelle! We haven’t tested this dough in a bread maker (I don’t own one!), but you can use a mixer for kneading the dough. Do you have a stand mixer?

    2. Michelle, I use my bread maker on the dough cycle, works perfectly.
      This bread is always a hit and such a pretty presentation

  17. love this recipe I have a question I want to make a Halloween themed starbread using black cocoa powder how much should I add to the recipe and will this work with 4 layers or should I just use 2 layers the filling is homemade caramel apple

    1. Hi Melanie, We haven’t tested this as a chocolate dough. Unfortunately cocoa powder is a unique ingredient and isn’t an easy swap – so we would have to do more recipe testing to give you a confident answer. You can certainly use cocoa or even melted and slightly cooled chocolate in the filling. If you try anything let us know how it goes!

  18. This is amazing! Have you ever froze it after baking? I’d love to make some for family now and give them to them around Christmas time. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi Colette, absolutely! We recommend thawing in the refrigerator overnight, then warming up in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes if desired.

  19. Awful! I’ve tried making this twice now, and both times have been a total fiasco! The dough is WAY TOO STICKY and impossible to work with, or to roll into anything that even resembles the circle. Such a waste of time and ingredients!

    1. Too bad you were that disappointed. Understand your experience, but I just kept adding flour, a few tablespoons at at time, until it was just enough less sticky to be able to handle. Worked perfectly!
      Ted

    2. Dear Anna
      Sally did say if it was to sticky to add more flour.
      Sorry u had hard time, mine turned out beautiful.
      Keep trying, its usually the user and not the recipes.
      Sally is very knowledgeable,and her recipes are the very best!!!!!!

    3. Mine was VERY sticky too! And hard to work with .. had to add a lot more than the recipe suggested

  20. Do you know if I can use a cow milk alternative like Oat Milk, etc? Should it be unsweetened if so?

    1. Hi Emmy, Any plain unsweetened non dairy milk should work here. Let us know if you give it a try!

  21. Haven’t tried it yet, but I do want to caution folks to make sure they’re using jam, not jelly. I made that mistake…the jelly was pretty slippery and made the loaf really hard to shape. Looks a bit of a mess, but I’m sure it will be delicious!

  22. Hi, Sally! Love this star bread and it’s been a success every time I’ve made it but today I tried to make it ahead of time and skipped step 3 and put it away in the fridge after placing it in a greased bowl so it’s missing that first rise. How do I remediate this? Thanks, again!

    1. Hi Lizzy, did the dough rise at all in the refrigerator? When you take it out of the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature until double in size and then continue with the recipe.

      1. Thank you, Sally! The dough rose very little in the fridge because it was only in there for a few hours. After I performed your oven trick, it came out more elastic than normal and resulted in a slightly smaller star bread but tasted just as delicious. So grateful for your recipes! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  23. I just realized I have four store-bought ten-inch pie crusts in my fridge. I know how we feel about store-bought and I know this bread is not pie dough, but would it work if I layered them and filled them and baked it following these instructions? Or would it fall apart if I tried to use them for this?

    1. Hi Ethan! We haven’t tried that so can’t offer any advice – maybe doing a quick search for a recipe that uses pie dough would be helpful? Let us know what you try!

  24. Hi Sally and team 🙂

    Thank you so much for the love and attention to detail you put into all of your recipes. They are all absolutely delicious, and so easy to execute well 🙂
    I particularly love this recipe! It’s always a home run with guests 🙂 I was curious, the points of my star always seem to “unravel” during the baking process and don’t look quite as clean as yours. I was wondering if maybe I’m taking too long to shape the dough and if this is resulting in the points of the star puffing up too much before going into the oven. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?
    Thank you again!
    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah! So happy to hear that you love this recipe, it’s a favorite of mine as well. 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!

  25. We make a different recipe each year to hand out to friends on Christmas Eve. Do you have any tips for making 10 Star breads?

    1. Hi Debra, We recommend making each dough separately and not doubling or tripling this recipe.

      1. Made this for the first tîme and it turned out beautifully! Did the cinnamons sugar and wow the bread was light and delicious! My husband was impressed with how it looked! Lol! Thank you for allowing me to be creative with your help!

  26. Made this last night. The recipe is straight-forward and easy to follow and the video is especially helpful. It was fun to prep and bake. Filled ours with apple butter. The results are far beyond the time and effort I expended. Now that I have a successful test under my belt, I will bake another one next week for a family Christmas brunch.

  27. Help! I did something deeply wrong, though I think I followed the instructions to a T (but I know it must be me, because Sally’s recipes always turn out perfectly!). The dough remained too sticky despite adding 5ish tbsps of additional flour and kneading in my kitchenaid mixer. I eventually put it in a greased bowl without being able to shape it into a ball because I was concerned that adding far too much flour or continuing to knead in the mixer would result in tough or dry dough. The dough doubled beautifully, but is still so sticky that there’s no way I can even cut it into pieces, much less shape or roll out layers. I’m mid-process, so I punched the dough down, tried to fold sides of the dough in on themselves, covered the dough, and stuck it in the fridge. I’m hoping it will somehow become less sticky overnight. Any thoughts on whether this might be salvageable in the morning, or tips? I’m in California and it’s winter, so my kitchen is about 68 degrees without much humidity. Even if no one sees this before tomorrow, it may be useful to read any ideas for future bakes. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jenni, There are many factors that go into the consistency of bread dough, even down to the brand of flour you use. If the dough is too sticky to handle, you can add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour at a time until you can shape it, but you want a very soft dough.

  28. I would like to use almond filling. What are your thoughts and what is the best way to store after baking?

    1. Hi Cheryl, We haven’t personally tried it, but we have had other readers report using almond paste as a filling with rave reviews! After baking you can cover and store leftover star bread at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Enjoy!

  29. I’m looking forward to trying this, wonder if nutella AND cinnamon sugar would be a good combination?? Also, if I’d like to make it the day before (for the next day’s breakfast), would warming it in the oven the next day taste almost as good as freshly baked?

    1. Hi Emily, That would be very sweet, but of course it depends on your taste buds! Yes, you can make this the day before, keep covered at room temperature, and warm it up in the morning. Let us know if you give it a try!

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