Soft and fluffy Star or Snowflake Pull Apart Christmas 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 CHRISTMAS 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.
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!
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!