Beautiful and delicious star bread, ideal for sharing with friends and family during Holiday season! Filled with raspberry jam and dusted with some icing sugar for that extra-festive look. Use your favourite filling to turn it into sweet or savoury bake!
What makes the star bread so special?
Without a doubt, this is one of the most festive bakes ever. Not only it is beautifully folded into this star/ snowflake shape, but it also tastes utterly delicious and is perfect for sharing.
I have tried and tested many different recipes for this bake, over the years. Some of them worked great, some were a total disasters. This recipe is a bit of a hybrid between the Star Bread recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction and my own sweet dough recipe.
What makes this recipe so great, is the fact that this folding technique is actually easy to follow, but looks super impressive! Also, you can make sweet or savoury versions of the star bread, and there are many different fillings you can use.
I'm using raspberry jam, which completed with a dusting of icing sugar on top, makes it looks super-festive and just perfect for Christmas Day breakfast or brunch.
Tips to a successful bake
As mentioned above, the process of making this star bread is actually easy, but there are few things that can go wrong. Follow the below steps to make sure your bake is successful:
- Use a freestanding mixer - it will make it much easier to work the dough, if you have one of these. Although, it's not absolutely necessary and you can make the dough by hand, it will make it MUCH easier. This dough is very soft and will be quite sticky to the touch, but it is also what gives the bread that extra soft and fluffy texture.
- Use more flour if you have to - this is quite obvious, but worth mentioning. Because the dough is very soft, you will be tempted to add more flour to it. It's OK to add a bit more, just to handle it and shape it into a rough ball. But more flour you add, the denser and less fluffy the texture of your bake will be.
- Shape the dough into rough circles with your hands first - once you have divided the dough into 4 equal parts, roll each one into a ball, then flatten it using your hands and press your fingers into the dough, shaping it to a rough circle.
- Slice the dough with pizza cutter - it's much easier to slice this soft dough with pizza cutter than a knife. If using knife, make sure it's a really sharp one!
- Don't overfill - use about 1 Tbsp of the filling of your choice on each circle of dough. If you overfill and use more, it will become tricky to twist and shape the star bread later.
Don't over-prove your dough
It's important that once your bread is shaped, you don't over-proof it. It only needs about 20 minutes for the second proof. Any longer than that, and you will risk the bread loosing it's shape when it bakes. Resting the dough for longer will also change the structure of the dough.
Make ahead instructions
If you want to make this bread ahead, you can prepare the dough up to step 4 in the recipe. Once it has rested and doubled in size, gently punch the air from it, wrap it tightly in some cling film and place in the fridge for up to 2 days.
When ready to bake, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Gently punch the air out of the dough again, then continue to step 4 of the recipe below.
The dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight, then continue to step 4 in the recipe.
It's not recommended to store shaped bread in the fridge overnight. This could case the bread to rise too much and loose it's beautiful shape later, when baking.
Raspberry Star Bread
- Freestanding mixer with paddle or hook attachment
- baking tray
- baking paper
- pizza cutter or sharp knife
- 8 g dried fast-action yeast
- 50 g caster sugar
- 180 ml milk
- 60 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp salt
- 350 g plain flour, plus more as needed
- 3 tbsp raspberry jam or your filling of choice (see notes)
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 tbsp icing sugar for dusting (optional)
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk until lukewarm. Take off the heat and set aside.
- In a bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with paddle or hook attachment, mix together yeast and sugar (if you do not owe freestanding mixer, simply mix both in a large bowl). Pour the milk over yeast and sugar mix, stir gently and cover with clean kitchen towel. Let it sit for 5 minutes, the mixture will become frothy.
- Add butter, egg, salt and flour and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft, but don't worry, it will come together later on. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, bring the dough together into a rough ball and transfer to clean, lightly greased large bowl. If the dough is super sticky/ too sticky to handle, add a little bit more flour, but only a small amount. Cover with cling film or clean kitchen towel and let it rise for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
- Line the baking tray with baking paper and set aside. Lightly flour the work surface, and transfer the dough onto it. Gently punch the dough to release the air from it. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Use your hands to shape each piece it into rough circle, then use a rolling pin dusted in some flour, to roll each piece into a circle of 10-inch in diameter (don't worry if they are not perfectly round).
- Transfer one dough circle into prepared baking tray lined with baking paper. This is your bottom layer. Spread 1 tbsp of the raspberry jam (or your filling of choice) over the surface. Layer the remaining dough circles and filling on top. The top layer will not have any filling on it, only 3 of the 4 circles will be topped with filling. Use your hands to stretch the dough layers, in case if they loose their shape.
- Place a large dinner plate, similar in size on top of your dough layers, and using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut around it, so you have an even, round circle. Remove any off-cuts. Place a small bowl or an upside down glass in a middle of your dough circle and make an indent. This is the centre of your star bread.
- Next, using the pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut 16 even strips (it's easier to slice it into 4, then each 4 in half, and each half into half again). Using both hands, grab two strips of the dough and twist them twice away from each other (the other way will also work), then press the both ends together to make a point. Your star bread should have 8 points.
- Cover the shaped bread with clingfilm or kitchen foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175 C (160 C fan).
- Lightly brush the star bread with eggwash and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. If it starts browning too much, cover it with some aluminium foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Dust with some icing sugar and enjoy while warm.
- if you don't have plain flour, you can also use bread flour (strong flour). The texture will not be as soft and fluffy, but it will still taste delicious.
- other fillings ideas: Nutella (heat it up slightly in a microwave or a bowl over a pan with simmering water so it has more spreadable consistency), butter and cinnamon sugar (spread 1 tbsp of soft butter on top of 3 of the circles, then sprinkle with mixture of caster sugar and cinnamon), your favourite jam or spread, mixed nuts, dried fruit, etc.
- for savoury version, reduce the sugar in the dough ingredients to 15 g. Use your favourite pesto, tomato sauce, grated cheese and herbs for the filling.
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