Holiday Star Bread

This fanciful holiday bread made it into our newest book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it is one of the prettiest, easiest and most sensational breads to make for a family gathering or work party.

This Holiday Star Bread has been making the rounds all over social media, so I decided to try it with some of our no-knead Challah dough. I’m happy to report that it works quite well, and it is not that difficult to make. Most of the recipes online have the same directions for shaping the star, so I borrowed from those when practicing, but substituted pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon just to change things up a bit. We also have a variation with jam, but Nutella or many other fillings would be fun, so if you are interested in playing around with recipe, there is room for your own interpretation. If you do end up making this bread and post on social media, tag #breadin5 so we can see your creations! You can also find us on Instagram at @breadin5.

Holiday Star Bread
2 pounds Challah, Amish Milk Dough or our White Bread Master dough (from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day) (Brioche dough, too) -the enriched doughs will produce a richer bread
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon will work, too)
Pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (if desired)

Divide the Challah into four equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls, and let rest for 20 minutes, covering with plastic wrap.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

With a rolling pin, roll out all the dough balls into 10-inch circles. Place one of the circles on a piece of parchment paper. Brush with some of the egg wash with a pastry brush, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the sugar mixture.

Place another circle on top of the first circle, and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with another 1/3 of sugar. Repeat with one more circle, then place the final circle on top.

Place a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or other round object) in the center of the circle, and then use a bench scraper to cut the circle into 16 equal strips (starting at the circle and out to the end), cutting through all the layers.

Take two pieces of dough, and twist them away from each other twice. Repeat around the whole circle.

Pinch the ends of the pairs of strips firmly together to create the star (you should end up with 8 points).

Remove the biscuit cutter. Transfer the star on the parchment to baking sheet. Cover the star gently with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until a bit puffy. During this time, preheat the oven to 400F. Before putting into the oven, brush the star with egg wash. Bake for 20-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Best eaten the day it’s made.

 



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37 thoughts on “Holiday Star Bread

  1. Very festive and yummy looking: I guess we could make the brioche or challah GF versions as well. Worth a try!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just made one of these, with a different recipe, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Thank you for showing us a way to do it with your dough.

  3. Could you do the second rise (after shaping, before baking) in the fridge overnight? To make it easier & quicker in the morning. Likewise, could you freeze after shaping and do a thaw/rise combo in the fridge? How long would that take?

    Thank you; this looks beautiful!

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      You sure can. You can shape it, refrigerate it and bake after its had a cold rise for about 8-14 hours. Or you can freeze it, let it thaw, let it rise and then bake it. If you freeze it, it will take a very long time to then rise in the refrigerator, so you may want to let it do its second rise on the counter.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. I’d really like to take this to a potluck for work, but it means baking it in the morning. Can I let the rise happen overnight instead of for an hour that day?

    1. Hi Ariadne,

      I would shape it the evening before, cover loosely, put it in the refrigerator, let it rise overnight and bake it in the morning.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Hi Zoë,
    Thank you so much for the reply! One more question…how would you thaw a frozen loaf? Would you thaw it in the fridge overnight and then let it set at room temperature for the 45 mins – 1 hour, until puffy? I’m thinking a frozen version of this would make a nice holiday treat to send home with guests!

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      Yes, but, it may take 60 minutes to rise on the counter, since the dough will be so cold. It would make a great gift.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I saw this on another website a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try with the master recipe and filled mine with pesto. It was fantastic! I made it twice and was distracted the second time and twisted a bunch of the arms the wrong way and it still turned out quite well. Made even easier than the recipe I used because I didn’t habe to go through the process of making the dough since there’s almost always a bucket in my fridge!

  7. Your consistent creativity is just so amazing! I was just trying to figure out how much challah dough to use, and here is your post. Thank you and Happy Hanukah (or Chappy Chanukah, LOL)

  8. Zoe, have you tried making a Star of David Bread? I hope you do.

    Decided not to make sufganiot. Burned my hand taking a pan of matzoh candy out of the oven. No dangerous cooking for me!

    Happy Chanukah.

    1. Hi Judy,

      I have not tried it, but I had the same idea when I saw this star bread by Sarah. I will try it some time.

      Maybe you need a longer scoop to get the doughnuts out of the oil. I have a long tool, so it isn’t scary.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. I’m so impressed with myself turning out such an intricate looking loaf! Thank you for sharing. I’d have never guessed the twisting technique would be so easy.

    A tip for future bakers, don’t go to heavy on the egg wash. If you use too much and don’t leave a bit of dry dough around the edge of each circle then it’ll be too slimy to hold together well when you pinch the points together.

  10. I’m new to bread making and am wondering if I’m keeping the dough in the fridge, do I still leave an opening for gas to escape if it’s more than one night? Also, if I’m making the brioche dough for the Star, is there a certain weight I’m aiming for for the dough? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      It is best not to snap the bucket lid shut, but you don’t want it open more than a hair or it can dry out.

      The star bread recipe calls for 2 pounds of dough, is that what you mean by aiming for a certain amount?

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Do you need to let the dough do a initial rise as bread recipe directs before splitting into 4 for 20 min rise or donyou literally just mix the bread recipe and start with the above directions?

    1. Hi Laura,

      You have to let the dough rise for 2 hours, to allow the yeast to activate, then you can divide the dough and create the star bread or any other recipe from the book.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Hi, just mixed a brioche dough with the mixer. It was very wt so I added 1/2 cup more of flour to the 7 1/2 cups I had in the mixer started to look good, then I glanced over to the other counter and realized I forgot to add the melted butter. Poured it into the batter slowly, but still had a bit of a mess. Wound up adding another cup of flour, total 8 1/2 cups. Finally looked like it should ( I think). Will this be a tougher dough or will it be okay? Only time will tell. Anyone ever forget and add the butter after the dough was mixed?

    1. Hi Mary Lou,

      The dough is very wet when mixing and will set up after it rests and chills, because all the butter will stiffen as it cools. Your dough may be quite tight and may feel dry to work with, but if you let it rest long enough, it should still bake okay. Let me know how it feels tomorrow after it is chilled.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. In the gf recipes that call for corn starch in large amounts, is there anything I can substitute? I don’t like to use so much corn starch in my baking, as it’s getting harder to source non gmo corn.

    1. We had a hard time getting corn out of these recipes, despite much experimentation. The swaps that work are found on page 61 of our book–but that’s not going to help you. You could start trying partial swaps, or combination swaps for other powdery starches or GF flours, but as I say, we were frustrated. On the other hand, if you can tolerate a little density, or are willing to settle for flatbreads only, you could end up with something acceptable. For our books, the doughs have to be multi-purpose, including working well for sandwich loaves and other lofty breads. The flatter you’re willing to accept, the more leeway you’ll have.

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