Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong: Challenge #16

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You want to bake something extra-special for the holidays. A real show-stopper, as delicious as it is gorgeous.

One big challenge: these weeks from mid-November through the end of the year are incredibly busy. Who has time to research, decide on, bake, and — fingers crossed — end up with said show-stopper?

You do.

Trust me, I’m the last person who wants to take time — LOTS of time — to produce Instagram-perfect baked goods right now. Thus I recently approached Cinnamon Star Bread with a healthy dose of skepticism.

“Anything that looks this striking has to involve all kinds of fussing,” I think. And reading the instructions reinforces my belief: rolling four 10″ disks of yeast dough, stacking, cutting, twisting, pinching… blech!

But, obedient soldier that I am, I set aside a morning to perform my duty: make Cinnamon Star Bread for this blog post. Sigh.

And by the time I pull my gorgeous loaf out of the oven, I realize I haven’t cussed once. Those four dough disks? Rolled and patted out like a dream; they ranged from 11″ to 9 1/2″ in size, yet the bread still looks great: perfectly symmetrical.

That stacking (simple), cutting (scissors make it easy), twisting (like wringing a washcloth) and pinching (thumb and forefinger) — no problem. Despite my initial misgivings, not a SINGLE THING about this bread is hard.

Except waiting long enough to take a photo before ripping into it.

Because, friends, not only is this loaf gorgeous; it’s your best cinnamon bun dream come true. Multiple layers of cinnamon-sugar encased in tender bread beg you to pull apart, slice, or nibble. Each warm and aromatic bite is better than the last.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

So you think you can’t make this bread? Think again. If I, a woman without a single “crafty” gene (e.g. sewing, scrimshaw carving, making porcupines out of pretzel sticks and kiwi fruit) can make this bread — so can you.

Gather your confidence, and your ingredients:

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

First, measure the flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Or even easier, weigh it (you’ll see its weight in the list above).

Next, 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.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 60 minutes, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, gather your filling ingredients:

1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar*
1 tablespoon cinnamon*
*Or substitute 1/2 cup Cinnamon-Sugar Plus

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflourOn a lightly greased or floured work surface (or piece of parchment), roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle. 

As I said, don’t worry about making the circle exactly 10″ wide, or even totally round. Just do your best; rising and baking will cover any shaping faux pas.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

If you’ve rolled on your countertop, place the circle on a piece of parchment. Brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Evenly sprinkle with one-third of the cinnamon-sugar (a 3 scant tablespoons), leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the perimeter.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflourRoll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Brush it with egg, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Repeat the layering process — egg, cinnamon-sugar, dough circle — leaving the top circle bare. Reserve a bit of the beaten egg to brush over the star once it’s shaped.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter, can, or drinking glass 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.

Or do like I do: I press the round cutter in the middle down just enough to leave an imprint and remove it. Then take a pair of scissors and cut from the outside edge of the dough to the center, stopping at the line left by the cutter. It helps to first cut the dough into four quadrants; then to cut each quadrant into four (hopefully even) wedges.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour Using two hands, pick up two adjacent dough 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.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflourPinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Don’t be fussy; just pinch and pull to make somewhat flower-like “petals.” 

Remove the cutter, if you haven’t already.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour 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.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflourBake 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.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflourRemove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Bask in the glow of your family’s admiration. Who knew you were such an artist?

Baking gluten-free?

We’ve got you covered. Unlike many gluten-free yeast doughs, the dough for our Gluten-Free Cinnamon Star Bread is wonderfully shapeable. Give it a try, and see what we mean!

Make & freeze

This bread can be baked and frozen up to 1 month before you’re planning to serve it. Once it’s cool, wrap it airtight and store in the coldest part of your freezer, preferably away from the door. To prepare it for serving, thaw it overnight, still wrapped, at room temperature. Place it on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes, until it’s warmed through.

We don’t recommend shaping the unbaked loaf, then refrigerating it overnight before baking; much of the cinnamon filling drains out and puddles around the loaf. Better to bake the loaf completely, then rewarm just before serving.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Elegant, simple — and unbelievably easy. Take the Cinnamon Star Bread Bakealong challenge to see how it's done. Click To Tweet

Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That shouldn’t be a problem, Fiorella, just use regular milk in place of the water. There’s no need to add any extra flour to make up for the loss of dry ingredients. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  1. Dyanne

    Great instructions!! Just made this and it came out awesome. Note: I had potato flakes that I ground up in my food processor to make potato flour so I could sift (did the same with the powdered milk)

    Reply
  2. Anna

    Can I substitute canned coconut milk (full fat) for the dairy? (Butter and dried milk). I can’t have any dairy for a while (newborn is very sensitive to it, darn!)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Aww, well thankfully, you can still enjoy this treat, Anna! Replace the water in the dough with any dairy-free milk, and the butter with a dairy-free butter for best results. We like Earth Balance baking sticks especially. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  3. Lenore

    Try this with preserves as the filling…Delicious!
    I remember PJ at King Arthur Flour when I would visit from Michigan (and still do go every summer). She was always helpful.

    Reply
  4. Mary

    I’ve made this several times and it’s turned out beautifully (almost) each time. The one time it didn’t work very well was Christmas morning in my sister’s new and unfurnished home. I packaged the dry ingredients in plastic bags to bring in my suitcase, bought eggs and baking sheet and parchment paper on location, started the dough rising in a hotel room, then took it to her new kitchen. That’s where things fell apart. Nothing rose. It didn’t occur to me until 90 minutes into the process that the marble counter top, while exquisite, is naturally cold. Then I discovered that her oven has a ‘proof’ setting and that worked to get the dough to rise. Soon the house was filled with the wonderful odors of bread and cinnamon baking. Better late than never! I don’t think her teen-aged sons waited very long for this to cool before devouring it.

    Reply
  5. Maggie kearney

    Oh so easy to make and oh so good! The most requested by my family & friends. This bread freezes really well so I’m able to make them up ahead of time. I have requests for Easter!
    I thought a read a recipe for this bread but made with pesto and possible pecorino. I believe the dough needed tweaking. Can anyone post it if available??
    Thank you!
    Maggie

    Reply
  6. Natalie Eaton

    I was really intimidated by this recipe when I first saw it. After reading through the comments on how easy it was, I decided to go for it. The 1st time I made this I didn’t have powdered milk and substituted the water with 2% milk. I did 1st rise in fridge night before. I wanted to bake this the morning of and take it to my dad who lives an hour away who was recovering from major surgery. I’m sure this is what contributed to a smaller dough to begin with, however I was able to improvise on the size and it worked out just great. My circles were about 8-9″ The 2cnd rise did have some seepage, so I just brushed this on the top along with final egg wash. I was worried about a sour flavor from the overnight rise.. Thankfully, it was very tender and super sweet.. everyone raved how yummy it was! Not only was this the most beautiful bread I’ve made, it was way more forgiving than I imagined! My only question is if I wanted to use my KA cinnamon, would I omit the egg? Thank you, for this wonderful recipe. I love everything I’ve made on the bake along, but this is my favorite! Thanks, Natalie

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Natalie. The egg is really there to get the filling to stick to the dough, so omitting it may make things sprinkle or seep out a bit. You could try using a thin layer of water or milk to get it to stick if it isn’t grabbing onto the dough by itself. Annabelle@KAF

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