It’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Munich! The Christmas markets have opened, filling the city streets with cute little wooden huts and the air with the beguiling aromas of Glühwein and roasted almonds.
Everywhere you turn it seems like there are tinsel and fairy lights and the sound of Christmas carols floating in the air.
With Christmas around the corner, I’ve got baking on my mind, though this wonderfully festive Cinnamon Star Bread recipe is so tasty and so beautiful that you won’t want to save it just for the Christmas season!
What is Cinnamon Star Bread?
It’s like your favourite Cinnamon rolls, but bigger and more beautiful! Layers of sweet, enriched yeast dough are spread with cinnamon and sugar, then stacked, cut and twisted into a gorgeous star-shaped design.
Is star bread difficult to make?
Not at all! This is a super forgiving recipe, and the clever twisting of the dough makes it look much more complicated than it actually is.
To make my Cinnamon Star Bread recipe you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- Flour: Plain or all-purpose flour are both suitable for this recipe.
- Milk: I always use whole milk for baking, as it ensures a golden brown crust and soft, pillowy bread.
- Yeast: In Europe, we commonly use fresh yeast for baking. Active dried or instant yeast is suitable too, though you may find the dough needs an extra few minutes to rise.
- Butter: I always use unsalted butter when baking, that way I can control the salt content in the final product. If using salted butter, omit the extra salt from the recipe.
- Sugar: For a clean design I use white sugar in this recipe, though you could add a little brown sugar to the filling for extra caramel flavour.
- Cinnamon: The star of the show! If you like, add a little mixed or pumpkin spice for a wonderfully aromatic bake.
How to make Star Bread
Making star bread has four main steps:
- Different star bread fillings: This dough makes a delicious savoury star as well. Try it with pesto instead of cinnamon sugar, or pizza sauce and lots of grated cheese – delicious!
- Different shapes: This simple dough recipe can be used to make different shapes, you can make a big tray of cinnamon rolls, or use a similar method to make Chocolate and Hazelnut Babka!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It is summer where I am and I am finding the dough really hard to manage. Any tips?
Working with dough and pastry is always a bit easier in a cool kitchen. If you are in the southern hemisphere and enjoying summer, it’s worth cooling the dough for 15 minutes in the refrigerator before you start to work with it.
This loaf is huge! Can I halve the recipe?
This recipe makes a great big loaf with 8 generous portions. If you like, split the dough in half and make 2 smaller stars, or just one and save the rest of the dough for another batch – it will keep for several days well covered in the fridge – just bring it back to room temperature before baking.
Cinnamon Star Bread Recipe
for the enriched dough:
- 250 ml (1 cup) whole milk
- 21 g fresh yeast, or 7g active dry yeast / instant yeast
- 500 g (1 lb.) plain or all-purpose flour, separated 300g / 200g (3/5 & 2/5)
- 50 g (4 Tbsp) white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 50 g (½ stick) unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 large egg, beaten
for the filling:
- 50 g (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 100 g (8 Tbsp) white sugar
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
for the egg wash:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tbsp whole milk
- powdered / icing sugar, for dusting
- PREPARE YEAST: Heat the milk gently in a small saucepan until it is just warm. Remove from the heat, sprinkle or crumble the yeast over the warm milk and set aside.
- KNEAD DOUGH: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook fitted (see note 1) combine 300g flour, sugar and salt. While mixing, add the softened butter and egg, then give the milk and yeast mixture a stir and pour it into the bowl. Run the mixer on medium speed until the ingredients are combined, then with the mixer on low speed add the remaining flour. Knead for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes the dough should be moving freely around the bowl of the mixer, and only lightly sticky. If it is still a little liquid or sticking to the sides of the bowl add one tablespoon of flour and knead for another minute.
- LET DOUGH RISE: When the dough has finished kneading, shape it into a ball - it should feel soft, springy and elastic - don’t worry if it’s a little sticky, this is normal, just dust it with a little flour if it makes it easier to handle. Place the dough ball back in the bowl, cover it with a clean cloth or some plastic wrap let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour until doubled in size.
- DIVIDE DOUGH: When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, flatten out the air and divide it into 4 equal pieces. I find it useful to weigh the dough so that my pieces are as even as possible. Roll each into a ball, then cover again and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, line an oven tray with baking paper and whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the filling.
- ROLL DOUGH: has rested, roll a piece out into a 25cm / 10-inch circle. Place it on the baking tray, brush generously with melted butter, leaving a 1cm border around the edges, then sprinkle with ⅓ of the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough layers, leaving the top layer plain.
- CUT AND SHAPE DOUGH: Place a small water glass or similar in the middle of the dough circle to use as a guide. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into quarters (leaving the middle under the glass intact!), each quarter in half again, and each eighth in half again (see pictures) to give you a total of 16 equal strips, a bit like a flower. Remove the glass, then pick up two adjacent dough strips, twist them away from each other twice, then seal the ends by squeezing them together firmly. Repeat with the remaining dough strips.
- SECOND RISE: Cover loosely with a cloth and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
- GLAZE DOUGH: When the dough has risen for the final time, pinch the ends of the points together one more time, then beat the egg and milk for the egg wash together in a small bowl and brush the dough all over.
- BAKE: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and risen. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before dusting generously with powdered sugar and serving.
Note 1: While an enriched yeast dough like this is easier to make with a stand mixer, you can make it by hand too! Because the dough starts off very wet, you will need to use a wooden spoon to ‘knead’ it until it starts to come together. After that you can knead as normal, using a small amount of extra flour if it is very sticky.
Imperial and cup measurements are approximate. For best and most accurate results I use and recommend a digital kitchen scale like the one below.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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