Cranberry Almond 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
Author:Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home Blog
Prep Time:160 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Total Time:2 hours 55 mins
Category:dessert, bread, morning bread
¾ cup warm milk (100–110 degrees F)
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
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
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamon (or nutmeg)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
3/4 cup sliced almond ( optional)
Other fillings: almond paste, jams, other chopped nuts…walnuts, hazelnuts, or dried fruit.
Garnish: powdered sugar, melted butter
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’s nearly doubled in bulk. If using active dry yeast, rising time will likely double.
In the mean time, 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 work 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″ of bare dough around the perimeter.
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 again, roll out the 3rd dough circle, add the remaining filling —and roll out the final ( 4th ) dough circle, placing it on top, leaving the top bare.
Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter 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. See 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 cutter.
Cover the star with a thin towel and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, 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 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.
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.