If you’re looking for a fun and beautiful appetizer or dessert for the holidays, this Star Bread is it! It’s a yeast dough filled with raspberry jam, almond extract and lemon juice. The raspberry filling gives this star bread a beautiful color that’s perfect for the holiday season.
When I first saw Star Bread I thought it was gorgeous! I also thought it would be very difficult to make. I envisioned my star bread looking like a child had attempted it.
This is not the case at all! Star Bread is actually, surprisingly easy to make. I would encourage you to give it a shot and impress all your guests! The star bread dough is pretty similar to cinnamon roll dough.
What is Star Bread?
Star Bread is a pull apart bread that is layered with a sweet or savory filling. It’s a yeasted dough that is proofed, layered, spread with filling, shaped into a star then baked for 20-25 minutes.
Star bread dough is very similar to cinnamon roll dough. So if you’ve made cinnamon rolls before then you should have no problem making this dough. It’s really quite simple as long as you follow the directions.
Shaping the dough into a star is easier than you think. Follow the instructions and photos and you’ll have it done in no time!
Can I make Star Bread ahead of time?
The best answer to this is no. Star Bread is really at its best quality when it’s fresh out of the oven or shortly after.
By all means, if you have leftover star bread, keep it and tightly wrap it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it slightly before eating it to make bread soft again.
But if you’re serving it to your family or guests you’ll want to serve it as soon as it is made.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Whole Milk – This is what you’ll activate the yeast in
- Butter – Butter will go into the star bread dough, unsalted is best
- Yeast – Yeast makes the Star Bread rise
- Vanilla Extract – Vanilla gives a great base flavor to sweet baked goods
- All Purpose Flour – This is the base and structure of the star bread dough
- Granulated Sugar – Sugar helps the yeast to activate
- Egg – Egg will go in the dough and be brushed on top before baking to get a beautiful golden brown crust
- Kosher Salt – Salt brings out all the flavors. Please do not substitute table salt, it’s not the same
- Raspberry Jam – Use a good quality raspberry jam or homemade
- Almond Extract – Almond and raspberry are a match made in heaven
- Lemon Juice – Use fresh lemon juice not concentrated
- Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar gives the star bread a nice light dusting on top for looks, a snow appearance if you will
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook – This is how I do this particular recipe although, you can knead by hand if you don’t have a mixer. This is the mixer that I use!
- Oven – I like to proof my dough in the oven (turn it to 150°F then shut it off and place the covered dough inside with the door shut) and you will also need the oven to bake the Star Bread
- Rolling Pin – The dough will be cut into 4 equal sections and then rolled out. You can use an old school rolling pin or a marble rolling pin
- Pizza Cutter – I like to use a pizza cutter to make cutting the strips a breeze
- 3 inch round Diameter – I used a mason jar for this. It’s just to make a circular impression in the middle of the dough before cutting the strips
- Thermometer – I use a thermometer to double check the milk temperature to make sure that my yeast activates properly. Too cool and it won’t activate, too hot and it will kill the yeast. I use a digital thermometer like this
- Large Sheet Trays – The Star Bread is pretty big so you’ll need a large sheet tray. Here’s what I use at home!
Tips for the best Star Bread
- Use a thermometer to temp your milk. You want to make sure you have it at 110°F-115°F to activate your yeast properly
- Use a ruler to measure to the center of the star bread dough to ensure you’re placing the circle right in the middle
- Do not over bake, you’ll end up with dry star bread
- Do not over knead the dough
- If you’d like to add toasted sliced almonds to the filling or on top after the star bread has baked, it makes a nice addition
- After you roll all 4 circles out, fill them and layer them then trim the edges with the pizza cutter to make your circle round again. If you’re anything like me you can’t roll out perfectly round dough to save your life
- Make sure the dough is rising in a WARM place. Not hot but definitely not cool. I like to turn my oven on to 150°F then shut it off, place the covered dough inside there with the door shut
- Eat the Star Bread immediately or shortly after removing it from the oven for the best quality
How to make Star Bread
Warm your milk to 110°F- 115°F, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer then whisk in the sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the milk, cover with a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.
Add the butter, egg, salt, vanilla and flour then using the dough hook attachment knead it for 3 minutes on low speed. The star bread dough should form into a ball and be soft but not too sticky.
Add a little flour if the dough is too sticky. Place the star bread dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel then let rise in a warm spot for 60-75 minutes. I like to turn my oven on to 150°F then shut it off and place the covered bowl of dough in the oven with the door shut.
Meanwhile, make the raspberry filling. Whisk together the raspberry jam, almond extract and lemon juice. Set filling aside until needed.
Once the dough is done rising, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down to let the air out of it then cut it into 4 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball with your hands.
Roll out 1 of the dough sections into a 10-12 inch circle then place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread 1/3 of the filling over that layer then roll the second piece of dough out and lay it directly on top of the first piece.
Repeat this process until all 4 layers of dough are stacked on top of each other. Do not spread filling on top of the 4th layer of dough. Trim the edges with a pizza cutter until you have a fairly even circle.
Measure with a ruler (or eyeball) to the center of the bread. Place your 3 inch diameter object directly in the center of the dough and press down firmly. Do not press all the way through the dough.
Using a pizza cutter cut directly through the dough in one direction down the center, skipping over the middle circle. DO NOT cut through the middle circle. Now cut a line directly down the center of the dough in the opposite direction without going through the middle circle.
You should have 4 even sections at this point. Cut each of those 4 sections in half with a pizza cutter, again not going through the middle circle. Now you have 8 even sections.
Cut each of those 8 sections in half to end up with 16 even strips. Now lift up 2 strips next to each other, twist outward 3 times then press the ends together to form a point.
Repeat with the rest of the strips until you have 8 points to your star bread. Cover the Star Bread with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot. (on top of the oven while it preheats, turning one time halfway through)
While the Star Bread is rising preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the Star Bread with egg wash then bake it for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Star bread is best served right out of the oven or shortly after. Enjoy!
If you make this Star Bread recipe please leave me a rating and/or review!
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- stand mixer
- dough hook
- large sheet pan
For the Dough
- ¾ cup whole milk 110°F-115°F
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2¼ tsp active yeast equal to 1 pkg
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temp
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
For the Filling
- 25 oz raspberry preserves
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the Top
- 1 egg to eggwash crust
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar for dusting
Making the Dough
- Warm the milk to 110°F-115°F and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer
- Whisk in the sugar until dissolved then sprinkle the yeast over the top
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes until yeast is frothy ( I usually turn my oven on and set the bowl on top of the stove but not too close to the heat)
- Add the butter, egg, vanilla, salt and flour the the frothy yeast mix and turn the mixer on low for 3 minutes with the DOUGH HOOK attachment
- The dough should be very soft but not too sticky. If it's too sticky add a tablespoon of flour
- Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let rise for 1 hour ( I turn the oven on to 150°F then shut it off and place the bowl in the oven with the oven door shut)
- After 1 hour remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down to release the air then cut the dough into 4 equal parts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Roll 1 piece of the dough into a 10-12 inch circle (doesn't have to be perfect you'll trim it at the end)
- Place the first layer of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread ⅓ of the filling over the dough all the way out to the edges. Roll the second layer of dough and place on top of the first then repeat the process until all 4 layers are stacked. You will not put a layer of filling on top of the final piece of dough
- Using a pizza cutter trim around the edges to make your circle even
- Using a 3 inch circle, place it in the middle of the dough and press down firmly but not all the way through the dough
- Cut the dough directly down the middle but DO NOT go through the center circle. Then cut down the middle of the dough going in the opposite direction. You should have 4 equal sections now
- Cut each of those 4 sections in half so you have 8 equal sections. Cut each of the 8 sections in half so you have 16 even strips
- Grab the bottom of 2 pieces of dough next to each other and twist outward 3 times. Press the ends together to make a point. Repeat with the rest of the strips
- Cover the dough with a kitchen sheet and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot
Making the Filling
- While the dough is rising make the raspberry filling by whisking all 3 ingredients together
Baking the Star Bread
- Egg wash the top of the raw dough then bake it for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly then dust with powdered sugar
- Serve warm or room temp, enjoy!