Soft and fluffy Pull Apart Star Bread with a sweet and sticky brown sugar cinnamon roll centre!
An amazing dessert for your holiday celebrations! A pull apart star bread with a buttery cinnamon sugar filling just melts in your mouth! The perfect holiday treat for breakfast, brunch or dessert!
Normally, people are extremely intimidated when using yeast. Since publishing our Soft Cinnamon Rolls last year, our readers have become yeast converts and LOVING the outcome!
I have broken this star Christmas bread recipe down with easy to follow pictures and guidelines on how to make this stunning bread.
Called a snowflake, star bread or flower bread, it has one thing in common — it’s incredible! And so rewarding when it comes out of the oven. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh bread, warm filling the air to entice everyone who walks through your door!
HOW TO MAKE A PULL APART STAR BREAD
You’re going to start your Star Bread by activating your Instant rise (or rapid rise) yeast in a jug full of warm milk and butter. When warming your milk, you’ll want to reach a temperature of 110°F or 45°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, dip your finger in and it should feel very warm to the touch — enough to want to take your finger out BUT not scalding hot.
Let it stand for 10 minutes until frothy on top.
STAR BREAD DOUGH
Make your dough and knead by hand or mixer until dough is soft and elastic. Once your dough has risen to double its size, prepare your filling, put some music on and get ready for the fun part.
You’re going to divide the dough into 4 separate pieces. Lightly flour a clean work surface and use a rolling pin to roll one ball out into a 12 inch/30 cm disc for a large-ish star or 10 inch/26 cm for a medium-sized star. The best way to decide what you want or need is to start rolling it out and measure as you go. Once your happy with how large your star is, continue on!
Place a plate on top and cut away any excess dough around the plate with a sharp knife. Remove the plate and place the dough disc onto a lined baking sheet. This is your base or bottom layer.
Spread the bottom layer with 1/3 of the softened butter and 1/3 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll out the second ball of dough and place on top of the base. Spread with 1/3 of the filling and repeat! Keep in mind the top dough will not have any butter or brown sugar/cinnamon on it.
TWIST INTO A STAR:
Place a small cup in the middle of the layered dough and very lightly mark a ring in the centre to use as a guide but not enough to create an indent.
Cut the dough with into quarters all the way through to the base with four lines: 3 o’clock, 6o’clock, 9o’clock and 12 o’clock. Cut each quarter into 2 pieces, then cut each of those into 2 pieces so you end up with 16 strands connected to the middle circle.
Take 2 strands that are side-by-side and twist them away from each other with two twists. Do this all around so it looks like the image in the collage below:
Next: Connect the two strands that are twisted away from each other at the ends, pinching the ends together to form a point or seal. Do this with all of the strands and create a your Star Bread!
Brush your Star Bread with egg whites before baking to get that beautiful golden colour and bake in a preheated oven.
Dust with powdered or icing sugar and a light dusting of ground cinnamon…serve warm!
The base of the Star Bread gets so sticky and gooey from the brown sugar spilling out while baking. That would have to be our FAVE part!
Let your guests pull it apart and dunk it in their morning coffee or a warm mug of hot chocolate!
LOVE CINNAMON ROLLS? TRY THESE RECIPES!
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Frosting
Star Christmas Bread
- 200 ml milk (plus 50ml extra only if needed)
- 1 oz (30 g) butter (1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 oz (7 g) instant yeast (1 envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 16 oz (450 g) bread flour, (plain or all-purpose flour are fine to use)
- 2.5 oz (70 g) white granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks refrigerate the whites for brushing
- 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Heat 200ml of milk and butter together in a microwave or saucepan until temperature reaches 110°F or 45°C (warm to the touch). Add the yeast and let stand for 10 minutes, until frothy on top.
- While yeast is activating, combine flour, sugar and salt in a separate bowl.
- Create a well in the centre of the flour. Add the yeast mixture, egg yolks and vanilla into the well. Mix into the flour until combined.
- Knead by hand for 10-12 minutes until dough is soft and elastic. If the dough is too dry: warm up the extra milk, create a well in the dough and add in half of the milk. Knead and if you still feel it's still too dry, add in the remaining amount of milk.FOR A STAND MIXER: Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed until dough is soft and elastic.
- Lightly oil a large bowl with a pastry brush or your fingertips. Place dough into bowl, turning once to coat in the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for about 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size.(To check if dough is ready, gently press two fingers into dough. If an indentation remains, dough has not risen enough.)
- Punch dough down, cover and let rest for an additional 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- While dough is rising, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Get your butter ready, make sure it is softened and spreadable. Then, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
DIVIDE INTO STRANDS:
- When dough is ready, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Lightly flour a clean work surface and use a rolling pin to roll one ball out into a 12 inch/30 cm disc.
- Place a plate on top and cut away any excess dough around the plate with a sharp knife. Remove the plate. Place dough disc onto prepared baking sheet.
- Spread dough with 1/3 of the softened butter and 1/3 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. This is your bottom layer (the base).
- Roll out the second ball of dough, like above, and place on top of the bottom layer. Spread with 1/3 of the butter and brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.Repeat with the rest of the dough, layering each with butter/sugar/cinnamon. (The top dough will not have any butter or brown sugar/cinnamon on it.)
SHAPE INTO A FLOWER/STAR:
- Place a small cup in the middle of the layered dough and very lightly mark a ring in the centre to use as a guide.
- Cut the dough first with four lines: 3 o’clock, 6o’clock, 9o’clock and 12 o’clock. Cut each quarter into 2 pieces, then cut each of those into 2 pieces so you end up with 16 strands connected to the middle circle.
- Take 2 strands that are side-by-side and twist them away from each other two times. Connect the two strands at the end, pinching the ends together to form a point. Do this with all of the strands and create a star flower!
- Cover star bread loosely with a damp cloth or towel and let rest one more time for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Beat egg whites leftover from the yolk and brush whites evenly over the surface of the bread.
- Bake bread for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and golden.
- Decorate with powdered sugar (confectioners sugar or icing sugar), and a little ground cinnamon.Serve warm!
I made this last year. I split the recipe and made 2 stars from 1 mix. They came out beautiful and perfect size for what I needed. Making again this year. Thanks and Merry Christmas all.
This looks amazing! I’m a little confused by some of the comments about making before hand. Can you prepare and assemble the star and refrigerate for up to two days before baking it? Thank you in advance!
Jennifer E Austin says
Can you substitute Bob’s Gluten Free 1 to 1 flour?
I’m having a hard time with the yeast. Do i stir it or leave it one top of milk and butter?
Give it a quick stir through, then leave it to froth/activate. If it doesn’t, it may be old or passed due? Or may have been stored in warm temperature instead of the refrigerator (if already opened). Yeast can be quite tricky. Try to use fresh if you can.
Carol Stevens says
I tried this yesterday a nd it worked great. I had never tried this kind of bread before. Thanks . It looked so pretty too.
Julie C says
Just baked this on a whim today and it came out perfectly. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. This is such a showstopper and beautiful alone without the powdered sugar or icing! Absolutely delicious too. Not too sweet. Cannot wait to have another piece for breakfast with my coffee!
I tried this recipe and it came out perfect! Brilliant piece of bread to look at and absolutely delicious!! Am super proud. Thank you for this recipe. I wish I could post a picture.
I was wondering if the bread can be made with a egg and milk free dough?
Carl Kennedy says
Could you add in apples for a “twist” on it?
Recipe worked wonders! I’ve never made one and felt inspired to bake something festive and outside my comfort zone. Turned out perfect and delicious. Can’t wait to make different fillings with this.
Wondering if you can make the dough, or the whole star, ahead and freeze?
This was the first recipe I’ve tried from your website to make it. It turned out beautiful and delicious.
Can’t wait to try othere recipes.
Thank you for the detailed recipe.
Krista Kotsovos says
This looks so good! I usually make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and do it the night before, refrigerate, proof in the oven with hot water, etc. I’m wondering if I could freeze this BEFORE the bake step, like make it up to the point where the star is twisted/made, then frozen for a few days, thawed overnight in the fridge and then proceed on with the proofing in the oven step? Just wondering because usually when I’m making something like this it’s for guests and I would love to get things done in advance so I can enjoy my guests while at the same time spoiling them!
Halima McDonough says
Hi Karina! I made this today for My Son’s girlfriend who arrived early this morning from San Francisco. It was a huge hit. I will be making this again! Thank you!!!?
You’re most welcome Halima!
I just want to clarify, because I was a little unsure fromm a couple of your replies to comments above regarding preparing this ahead of time. Am I right in thinking that there are two options for how much you leave to do for the day of:
1. Assembly and baking. (All other steps except for assembly and baking completed a day or 2 previously and refrigerated.)
2. Just baking. (Assembly completed beforehand , refrigerated, and on the day you want to serve it, you let it sit out for 30 minutes before baking.)
Hi Therese! Yes that’s correct.
AMELIA LOPEZ says
Can’twait to make this with my step granddaughter she asked me to make this. Everyone input helped to answer my question in re: if it can be made day before and baked the next day thank you for great recipes
Tom Rothschild says
This looks great! I look forward to making it.
I’m considering adding currents and chopped walnuts to the filling. Not traditional, I realize–but do you think it would work? I assume the nuts would have to be chopped small so the star points would twist properly.
Hi Tom. Absolutely yes! Crushed nuts and chopped currents would work really well and taste amazing mixed through the brown sugar syrup! You should have no problem twisting it. Please let me know hoe you go!
Wow your star bread was a big hit ,also made it with puff pastry with Nutella for. My grandson ,thank you for sharing
You’re very welcome Joan!
Sally Doran says
This is seriously good. I thought I would test it before serving it in Christmas morning. It went together quite smoothly and came out of the oven exactly as pictured. My kitchen smells wonderful. Since it is supposed to be served warm, my neighbors are enjoying it at cocktail hour as am I. Such are the sacrifices we make!
Sally that’s so wonderful! I’m so glad you tested it out. Oh I’m jealous! Enjoy every piece Xx
I’m sorry I called you Karen in my previous message.
No problem at all! Enjoy your weekend!
Can you make the dough in advance (and keep it in the fridge overnight) and bake it the next morning? I don’t think I will get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to start preparations and be patient for the dough to rise so that my sleepover guests can enjoy this deliciously looking bread at around 9 or 10 o’clock… 😉
Hi Barbara! Absolutely! The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Prepare the dough through to Step 2 in the RISE section. Punch dough down, cover and refrigerate. On the day of baking, uncover and let it sit out for about 30 minutes to get the chill out. Continue on from PREPARE FILLING (the assembly)! Give yourself about 30 minutes to roll the 4 pieces flat and twist it into the star. I hope that helps!
Thx for the quick reply and very helpful tips!
I’ll let you know how it was – IF I make it, because I’ve already got a serious long list of things I want to make, bake and cook 🙂 .
I wish you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!
My grandaughter is allergic to milk protein. Could this work with almond milk?
Hi Mary! Yes it should work fine! Use regular sweetened almond milk. Enjoy!
Mary England says
It was perfect with almond milk and clarified butter. Thank you very much!
We are always looking to change recipes so that they isn’t any milk bovine protein at all. It doesn’t always work as well but this one was just great!
Carol R says
Thank you for the detailed instructions and photos! I’m going to try this and if I can make it look as wonderful as your photos, I’ll be bringing it for a morning gathering over the holidays.
You’re very welcome Carol! I hope it’s a huge hit! Please let us know how you go!
Cheryl Vannorren says
Can this be frozen, and reheated?
Hi Cheryl! Yes it can! Enjoy X
Bake first or freeze the dough?
Is there an answer here? Can I freeze the raw star and then defrost and bake on the day I want it?
This looks amazing! Could it be prepared ahead of time and then baked another day?
Hi Maria! Yes it can be! If you prepare it right up to assembly (twisting it into a star), let it sit out for about 30 minutes to get the chill out, then bake. I hope that helps!
WANDA ALDERSON says
I have tried to pin this recipe but for some reason it will not. I wanted to make this and not have to print all of those pages. Could you please check this and see if it is complete to pin.
Hi Wanda. It’s pinning for us. I’m not sure what the issue could be on your end.
To print, click on the Print Recipe link at the top of the page or in the recipe box. It will not print the entire post, only the recipe. I hope that helps you.
Patricia Mann says
Hi Karina! I have never seen this recipe before, it looks amazing. My question is, since money is tight this year for me, I wanted to make something for each of my families to enjoy. I was thinking of serving them on new cookie sheets with cookies made from letter cookie cutters spelling noel at the top and bottom of this star as a gift. My question is would I have to give it to each of them to bake themselves and sprinkle powdered sugar on it or can I assemble it all, even with brushed egg whites and confectioners sugar on it so all they do is pop it in the oven? I will be doing all these stars the day before I gift them. Thank you so much!
Karen C. Malone says
I wonder how this would work with pie crust? Different texture for sure, but the design would still be wonderful (although not as fluffy) and the filling just as delicious.
Or dough made in a bread machine….
Hey Karen! Yes you could definitely do this with pie crust or puff pastry.