How to make Star Bread! A delicious and fragrant cardamom-infused sweet bread, perfect for Winter Solstice, Christmas morning or the holidays! An easy step-by-step guide.
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~T. S. Eliot~
Here’s a cozy and delicious holiday recipe for Star Bread! What I love about this recipe is not only how beautiful and festive it looks, but how do-able this is. How lovely would this be on at your Winter Solstice gathering or on Christmas morning? The basic yeasted dough recipe is simple and what you add to it, is totally up to you!
Here I’ve added dried cranberries, almonds and cardamom, but feel free to add what you like! Crushed walnuts or hazelnuts with currants or tart cherries. Or pecans and raisins – use what you have!
It’s actually a fun and creative recipe to make and I would imagine that if you have kids who enjoy being in the kitchen with you- this would be a fun one to make together.
It’s surprisingly easy! Allow 2 hours for rising, 30 minutes hands-on time and 15 minutes for baking.
To make the Star Bread – make the dough in a stand mixer, let it rise, then divide into four balls.
Almond paste or jam would be a good filling here too. Once all four disks are seasoned and stacked, place a 2 ½- 3 inch round cookie cutter or bowl or cup in the center to use as a guide. Don’t press down!
Cut 16 strips, leaving the center in tact. Cut in quarters first, then eights, then sixteenths. Like a sunburst!
Take two strips (next to each other), one in each hand, and twist them 2 times away from each other, then pinch together the edges. Look at this photo below.
Gently pinch together the strips to form 8 points in this star.
It really need not be perfect.
Cover and let this rise again while oven preheats.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown! Brush with butter if you like and sprinkle with powdered sugar!
When it comes out, it will dazzle.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or brush with butter.
Serve as a morning bread or with afternoon tea, decorating with fresh cranberries if you like.
On the homefront: It’s winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. It wasn’t until I moved to the Pacific Northwest that this began to have meaning. Here, and as I get older, it becomes more significant, not only in the physical world but in the spiritual world. For most of my life, I’ve resisted darkness, desperately seeking light, in all its forms. Physical and non-physical.
This year in particular has been a lesson in sitting with the darkness that inevitably comes to all of us, in time. Like night and day, winter and summer, it is half of the whole, the half I’ve tended to resist. For many years, I’ve simply not allowed it. Distracting and busying myself. But it keeps surfacing, perhaps waiting for me to have enough courage to face it.
Some days I’m acutely aware of it, as I carefully tiptoe along the steep edge of it, fearing the misstep that will plunge me down into the sinking blackness. Despair. My husband calls it the nightmare box. I’ve fallen off that cliff before (haven’t we all?)- flailing, fighting against it, and in doing so, suffered greatly.
But there is a different way I’m told from the wise ones who have gone before us – the path of acceptance. Witnessing and accepting all parts of myself, the good, the bad and the ugly -my fears, my guilt, my shame, the most hidden of all. Embracing what arises. My prayer to the universe today . . . give me courage to sit with the darkness, and simply allow it to be. No judgment.
Sending you love and courage to embrace all.
How to make Star Bread – a simple, easy step by step guide to making the most delicious cozy winter treat, perfect for the holidays! (Recipe Updated 12/16/2018)
- ¾ cup warm milk (100–110 degrees F)
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons rapid rise or instant yeast ( if using active dry yeast, see notes)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- To make the dough with the instant yeast: Place all of the dough ingredients together in a stand mixer and using paddle attachment, beat on low for 3 minutes. You can also mix by hand, in a bowl to make a soft, smooth dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm spot, for 60 minutes, until it has doubled in size. If using active dry yeast, rising time will take twice as long.
- In the meantime, beat the egg and set aside. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and cardamon and place in a small bowl.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle. Place the circle on a parchment -lined sheet pan, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface, then evenly sprinkle with a third of the spiced-sugar, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup almonds, leaving 1/4 inch of bare dough around the edges.
- Roll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process: egg, spiced sugar, cranberries, almonds, then roll out the 3rd dough circle, add the remaining filling. Roll out the final ( 4th )dough circle, placing it on top, leaving the top totally bare.
- Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter ( or cup) in the center of the dough circle to use as a guide. With a sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the edge of the cutter or cup- to the edge, through all the layers. Look at the photos. 🙂
- Using two hands, 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. ( see photos)
- Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Remove the cup/cutter.
- Cover the star with a thin towel and let it rise until it puffs, about 45 minutes.
- While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg. Bake it for 14 to 16 minutes, until it’s beautifully golden. Test doneness with a thermometer – it should reach 200°F in the center.
- Allow it to cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar or brush with melted butter.
If making dough with active dry yeast – place the warm ( 110F) milk, sugar and yeast into a stand mixer ( or bowl) and mix until combined. Cover with a kitchen towel, let stand until yeast is active and frothy, about 5-10 minutes. Add remaining dough ingredients and beat on low speed until combined and it forms a soft dough. Continue with recipe above.
- Calories: 265
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