Holiday Star Bread
For the Dough
- 1/2 (118 ml) whole milk (lower fat milk can be substituted)
- 1 1/4 tsp (1/2 package, 4 gr) active dry or quick rise yeast
- 2 TBSP (25 gr) granulated sugar
- 3 TBSP (42 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp (3 gr) kosher salt or fine sea salt
- 2-3 cups (240 gr- 360 gr) all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 56 gr) butter, very soft or melted
- 1/3 cup (33 gr) granulated sugar
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
For the Glaze
- 1/2 cup (60 gr) powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 TBSP milk
- Hydrate the Yeast: Warm the milk to about 110-115 F (43-46 C). This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave. It should take about 30-45 seconds in the microwave. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir it together. This step is technically optional, but will get your yeast moving a bit quicker. You can just mix the yeast right into the dry ingredients if preferred.
- Combine the Fat & Sugar: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the butter, sugar, and salt with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
- Add the Egg & Liquid: Add the egg and milk/yeast mixture and stir until distributed.
- Add the Flour: Add 2 cups of the flour to the mixing bowl and stir until a shaggy and sticky dough forms.
- Knead: This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be very sticky to start, but will become less sticky as it is kneaded. If kneading in the stand mixer, knead at medium/high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping about halfway through to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Add a bit more flour while kneading to form a dough that is sticky, but workable. It shouldn't stick to your hands or the table.
- Ferment: Lightly spray the dough with oil and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it ferment at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used quick rise yeast and 1-2 hours if active dry yeast was used. A warm spot will speed up the fermentation time.
- Punching: Deflate the air out of the dough by pressing down on it in the center and bringing the edges of the dough over the top.
- Divide: Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. You can do this roughly by eyeballing it, or use a scale to divide it very accurately.
- Roll each piece of dough out into a circle about 1/8" thick, on a very lightly floured work surface. Try to make the circles roughly even in size, however it does not need to be perfect.
- Place one piece of rolled out dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread very soft or melted butter evenly over the whole surface of the dough. Spread 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over top of the butter. Place a second piece of dough over the top of the first. Repeat the butter and then cinnamon/sugar mixture over this piece of dough. Place a third piece of dough on top and again repeat with the butter and cinnamon/sugar. Now top with the last piece of dough, but do not butter or put cinnamon/sugar on top.
- Cut: You are going to make 16 cuts in your dough. You want to make sure that the center of the circle stays in tact. First, cut the dough into quarters, keeping the center in tact. Next cut each quarter into half, again keeping the center in tact. Now cut each piece in half again to make 16 total cuts.
- Shape: Take two pieces of cut dough and twist them away from each other going around in a circle twice. Then pinch the ends together to seal. Continue this all the way around the circle until you have 8 points to your star.
- Proof: Cover the shaped star with plastic wrap and let proof for about 30 minutes until slightly puffy.
- Egg Wash: Brush the loaf with an egg wash (1 egg whisked together with 1 tbsp of water) and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
- Bake at 375 F for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
- Once cooled slightly, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. Add enough milk to make a glaze that can be drizzled. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the bread and serve warm!
If you would like to prep the bread the day before, make the dough and assemble and shape the bread. Cover it with plastic wrap and immediately place it in the refrigerator. It can be refrigerated for 12-14 hours. About 1 1/2 hours before baking, pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature. Then bake as directed.