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. Stephanie

    Can I use a substitution for dry milk. I cannot have dairy and have coconut milk powder, would that work for this recipe?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Stephanie, coconut milk powder tends to impart a noticeable coconut-y flavor, which is not what you’re looking for in this recipe. Instead, omit the dry milk powder and use your favorite plain, unsweetened dairy-free milk (almond, soy, rice, coconut, etc.) in place of the water. No other adjustments are necessary. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Ina

    Hi. I really really want to try this recipe but it’s hard to find unbleach flour in my country. I don’t have problem finding all purpose flour, bread flour or whole wheat flour. Can you help me please. Tq.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No worries, Ina. If bleached all-purpose and bread flour is all that’s available, use that. Just keep in mind that different brands of flour absorb different amounts of liquid, so it’s a good idea to hold back 1/2 cup or so of your flour and just sprinkle it in as needed. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  3. Kate

    Loved baking this, the dough was a joy to work with. The bottom came out a bit soggy but next time I will try baking on the bottom rack. I would like to add raisins too… Would it be better in the filling or mixed in with the dough?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ooh sounds like a really nice addition, Kate. Raisins in the filling will be absolutely delicious! Annabelle@KAF

  4. Suzanne

    Is there any way to make this with Nutella/chocolate hazelnut spread? Would it stay put during the rise and/or bake or be a disaster? I promised a Nutella filled coffee cake to someone…

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      A chocolate hazelnut spread is a delightful way to fill the layers of this star bread. Coat the first three dough rounds with a thin layer of the spread (resist using too much to prevent a mess), and then top off the stack with the last layer of dough and bake as directed. Your friend is going to be in for a treat! Kye@KAF

  5. Jennifer Irwin

    I finally found time to make this beautiful and delicious bread. I was surprised how easily it came together even on the first time I tried the recipe. I used bread flour and a tangzhong starter from the Japanese Milk Bread recipe https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/japanese-milk-bread-rolls-recipe and I was amazed by how light and moist the final product turned out, even after the bread was fully cooled (thanks for that tip PJ! – https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2016/07/10/cinnamon-rolls/) Also, to save time in the morning, I made the dough the night before and allowed it to proof overnight in the fridge (step 3 of the recipe). I am definitely going to make this one again and again.

    Reply
  6. Peggy

    Since we’re confined to the house because of the cold, (we’re in our 70’s), this would be great recipe to try. Could I sprinkle finely ground pecans or walnuts over each layer and about how much would you suggest I sprinkle on each layer???? Thanks for helping breaking the cabin fever and winter boredom. King Arthur to the rescue every time!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You sure could, Peggy, though we might be more inclined to used finely diced, rather than nuts that are finely ground into flour, so that the layers of dough can still adhere to one another. We don’t have an exact amount to suggest, but just keep in mind that the dough needs to be easily cuttable and twistable, so a light sprinkling of nuts would be easier to work with than a heavier one. You might also consider toasting the nuts lightly before adding them in order to bring out the most flavor. Hope this helps and happy baking! Mollie@KAF

  7. Carol

    Could you use dry buttermilk powder in place of the dry milk powder or would it change the flavor and/or texture of the dough?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It might add a very slight bit of tang, Carol, but it shouldn’t affect the texture at all, so go right ahead if you prefer! Mollie@KAF

  8. Suzanne

    Wow!
    This is so easy to make and SO tasty!
    Everyone is impressed with this little beauty and I have had more than one person ask me how I did it.
    One comment: “What is this sorcery?!”
    Anyone who asked was directed to this page.
    Because I mean, come on. Everyone needs to know about Cinnamon Star Bread.

    Reply
  9. Marian

    I take the bottom out of my 10 inch non-stick tart pan and roll the dough circles on top of it, that way I get uniform circles that are easy to flip. I’ve made several of these, including 2 with a pesto filling. All were gorgeous and very popular.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      That is a great idea, Marian, thank you for sharing! I have taught people who were having a hard time getting a round pizza crust to drape it over the greased back of a stainless steel bowl in similar fashion. Susan

  10. Pamela K James

    I made four of them. They were incredibly easy and fun to make. And DELICIOUS.
    I made vanilla bean icing to be dipped or drizzled upon serving. We gave one to the local firehouse getting a rest from working the Thomas Fire in CA. Another went to the local NICU for the nurses on the floor on Christmas morning. The third given to a friend whose husband is in an Alzheimer’s facility, and we kept the final delicious giant cinnamon roll four our Christmas enjoyment. My son liberally drizzled icing in the pattern of the star and it was just that much more beautiful and yummy.

    Reply

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