I kept seeing various versions of this pretty pull-apart star bread and had to make one for myself. 😉 It’s so pretty and deceptively simple.
There are savory versions out there, but this variation of a classic cinnamon bun was the first choice for my crowd. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I weighed the dry ingredients and used fine sea salt. I made the loaf a day in advance and it was still tender, moist, and delicious.
Yield: One Star Loaf, about 8 servings
For the Dough:
- 2 cups (241g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (46g) potato flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) or 1/2 cup (46g) dried potato flakes
- 1/4 cup (28g) nonfat dry milk
- 3/4 cup + 2 to 4 tablespoons (198g to 227g) lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
For the Filling:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
To Make the Dough:
- Sift the flour, potato flour, and dry milk through a strainer; this is an important step to prevent lumps in the dough. (If you’re using instant mashed potatoes rather than potato flour you can skip this sifting step.)
- Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 60 minutes, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk. (I used a proofing oven.)
To Shape and Bake the Loaf:
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. (I used a scale.) Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
- On a lightly greased or floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle.
- Place the circle on a piece of parchment, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface, then evenly sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar, leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the perimeter.
- Roll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process — egg, cinnamon sugar, dough circle — leaving the top circle bare.
- Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide. With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.
- Using two hands, pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips.
- Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Remove the cutter. ( Removed the cutter before joining the strips, which may have given the star an uneven appearance.)
- Transfer the star on the parchment to a baking sheet.
- Cover the star and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes. (I used a proofing oven.)
- While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F, preferably on convection.
- Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg.
- Bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s nicely golden with dark brown cinnamon streaks; the center should register 200°F on a digital thermometer.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve warm or at room temperature. (It could also be served drizzled with a confectioners’ sugar glaze, if desired.)
- Store any leftover bread, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.