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. FM

    First time I made it exactly as the recipe. It was very good. Second time I substituted filling of cinnamon and sugar with tahini, sugar and chopped walnuts. It turned out really delicious. Thank you for this recipe.

    Reply
  2. Ganga

    Can I make 2 smaller stars (approx 5 inch round ) out of the dough? Will there be any change in baking time.
    I wanted to bake it smaller because i plan to gift it and my gift box size is smaller than 10″.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No problem, Ganga! They’ll probably bake faster so start checking them about 10 minutes earlier to be safe. Annabelle@KAF

  3. Susie Johnston

    The recipe for cinnamon star bread turned out great. Like Mary posted on Jan 11th, the bread turned out just like the photos. The step by step information in the blog was very helpful. I didn’t have dry milk on hand so I used 1/4 cup of whole milk and just reduced the amount of water. One other minor change, I melted the butter like I usually do for other bread recipes. I had a lot of cinnamon sugar left over. Perhaps I was too light on the amount I coated each layer. I always use KAF Vietnamese Cinnamon; it has such a rich flavor.

    Reply
  4. Panettone

    I made this bread for the second time this morning and it was delicious both times. I was a little skeptical that it would be done in just 12-15 minutes but 14 minutes was just right. I did find it helpful to move the rack in the oven up one level to keep the bottom from getting too brown.

    Reply
  5. Liz

    I’m sitting eating a slice of this as I write, it took a good amount of time with rising and everything, but well worth it! It’s delicious and looked just like the pictures. I subbed out corn starch for the potato flour 1:1 and added just about 2 tablespoons of extra flour as the dough was quite sticky, and it turned out incredible!

    Reply
  6. natalie eaton

    Thank you for such a fast reply on subbing milk for water. I have made this before, and have made the day of, and frozen with great success. My dad requested this for my visit tomorrow, as he LOVED the one I made for his birthday last year. I prefer not to wake up at 4 a.m. to bake this..as the travel time is a few hours. I don’t see how freezing it today just to take it out tonight to thaw over night, to re warm tomorrow. What would be the best way to store it until tomorrow. I imagine it will be finished by 4 or 5o’clock today. I plan to be at his place tomorrow around noon. After it’s completely cooled, can I just wrap tightly in plastic wrap to warm up once I’m at his place? I don’t want it to sweat..or dry out. Any suggestions would be helpful. THanks in advance! I really appreciate all the help you have given me, and am learning that baking is not nearly as frightening as I once thought! 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can definitely wrap it up to reheat later, Natalie! A few minutes in a 350°F oven will warm it up and re-crisp the edges so it’ll taste perfectly fresh. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  7. Donna

    I made two of these for coffee hour at church. Although they were a bit difficult to make, they were beautiful as well as delicious. Everyone was duly impressed. I must admit I did check out the photo instructions which proved to be very helpful.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Natalie! You sure can swap out the water called for with milk if you don’t have any Baker’s Special Dry Milk on hand. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

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