Cinnamon Star Bread: a holiday show-stopper

Looking for the ultimate in fancy holiday sweet breads, guaranteed to impress? Who better than our catalogue recipe developer/food stylist, Charlotte, to create the bread of our dreams!

This stunning Cinnamon Star Bread is blowing people away with how pretty it looks and tastes, and also how deceptively easy it is to create.

Seldom do I make things that are ACTUALLY difficult to make. I don’t have the patience. Rather, I look for those recipes whose finishing touches really set them apart (and make me look awesome!)

Charlotte really pulled out all the stops on this sweet loaf – and she was kind enough to recreate her steps so I could share them with all of you!

This pull-apart style holiday bread is a show-stopping riff on a classic cinnamon bun. As it bakes, the cinnamon-sugar filling caramelizes and gives the bread a wonderfully sweet and crunchy coating, while the interior remains soft and tender.

To make the dough:
3/4 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
2 teaspoons instant yeast, SAF Gold preferred
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup potato flour or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

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.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflourGently deflate the dough, and divide it into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.

Prepare your filling ingredients while they rest. In one small bowl: 1/3 cup Cinnamon-Sugar Plus, or your own mix of cinnamon sugar. In another small bowl: 1 large egg, beaten until frothy.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflourOn 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.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflourRoll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process with the remaining two pieces of dough — egg, cinnamon sugar, dough circle — leaving the top circle bare.

You won’t use all the egg. Save what’s left; you’ll need it later.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflourSet a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide; don’t cut through the dough! With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflour
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.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflour
Remove the cutter. 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.

While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

How to make Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflour
Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg.

Bake the star 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.

Cinnamon Star Bread via @kingarthurflour
So there you have it – easier than you thought, right?! And almost too pretty to eat!

We hope you bake and enjoy this lovely bread with your friends and family this holiday season.

Please, bake, rate, and review our recipe for Cinnamon Star Bread.

Print just the recipe.

Gwen Adams

Gwen Adams grew up in northern New Hampshire, on top of a mountain, surrounded by nature and not much else. After graduating from Lyndon State College in 2010, Gwen sought a career that combined her passion for writing with her love of baking. She found ...


  1. Evan Boucher

    Is there a way to make this in a quarter-sheet pan? I, unfortunately, have yet to come across affordable housing that has a normal-sized oven…

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That’s a good question, Evan. In the recipe, we recommend rolling out the rounds of dough so that they’re 10″ in diameter. A quarter sheet pan measure 13″ x 9″ x ¾”, so the star bread won’t quite fit. (The final star ends up being about 14″ in diameter once it has risen and is baked.) You might want to try dividing the recipe in half and making a half-sized star. Or you could prepare a full batch of dough and make two stars; let one rest in the fridge while you bake the first. If you decide to opt for this technique, you might want to make 1.5x the filling to ensure you have enough to layer it on nice and thick. Bake the half-sized stars for about 10 to 12 minutes. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can use 1/2 cup of instant mashed potato flakes in place of the potato flour, or you can use 1/4 cup of real mashed potatoes. Adding these ingredients helps keep the dough moist and tender. If you’re not able to use either of these, you can try using almond flour, which should make it buttery and brown nicely, or you can simply omit it. Your bread might be slightly less soft than it otherwise would be, but it will still be delicious. Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We don’t see why not, Barb. If you want to incorporate them into the dough itself, we’d recommend adding them towards the end of the kneading process. You could also finely chop them and lightly sprinkle between each layer. However you do it, we hope you enjoy this tasty treat! Mollie@KAF

  2. Barbara Brown

    You guys never fail to inspire me! I am going to try this technique with my challah dough, and make a six-pointed star, for our upcoming Chanukah celebration.

  3. Bonnie Auslander

    Hi, I’m wondering if I can substitute the dough for the Japanese milk bread/ soft cinnamon rolls on your site. I have bread flour in the house and no AP (usually it’s the other way around!).

    Also, one of the photos shows nothing under the biscuit cutters used as a guide yet there is dough in the final photo before baking. Weird, right?

    Thanks for all your hard work–love your recipes and products!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Bonnie, the light in the photo may hide the dough in the center in the first few pics, but rest assured that it is there the whole way through. If need be, you could make this dough with bread flour too. It may be a little chewier, and you may need a bit more liquid to account for it, but it will still be quite tasty. You can even take a read through our blog article about subbing the two flours for more tips. Mollie@KAF

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