Don’t let the pictures fool you.
Baking the strawberry star bread looks complicated when it’s actually not. Mine was not perfect, yet it still turned out to be a mesmerizing show-stopper.
So, as you read the blog and make the bread, don’t worry if the twists are not just right or the dough breaks off. The strawberry star bread works beautifully, even in all its imperfections.
It’s a gift from Santa you didn’t know you needed. It’s fun, and it’s easy. Plus, the smell of freshly baked bread and yeasty goodness cheers you right up. And God knows we need a heavy dose of jolly this year.
How to make strawberry star bread?
I made a vegan star bread, which means instead of butter, I used coconut oil. Cow’s milk was substituted with almond milk and regular white sugar with raw sugar. You can, of course, use any milk and sugar that takes your fancy. The recipe for this dough has been adapted from The Pioneer Woman.
Preparing the dough
- Bring milk, oil, and sugar to a bare simmer. Use medium heat and do not let the mixture come to a boil. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, take it off the heat.
- Let the mixture come to a lukewarm temperature, then add in the yeast.
- Wait till it is frothy and bubbly, then whisk in your flour.
Make sure that the flour is well combined. Then place the dough in a bowl, cover it and let it proof.
When do you know the dough is ready to be used? Give it a finger poke. If the dough bounces back, it needs more time. If the indentation stays, it is ready to work with.
- To the risen dough, mix baking powder, baking soda, salt, and a tad more of the flour.
Since it is jittery, shivery cold here, my dough was ready to be shaped at this point. If you’re in a warm place or making the dough ahead of time, please wrap it tight and refrigerate it. Chilling makes it easier to handle the dough.
Shaping the dough
I utterly failed to factor in the size of the bread when making the dough. That’s why it is less a Christmas star and more a supernova.
In case you’re using the exact measurements, I mention, please divide the dough in half to make 2 star breads.
- Take one half of the dough and make 4 equal balls from it.
- Roll each ball into a 7-inch circle.
- Place one circle on a Silpat lined tray and then spread strawberry jam on it. This becomes your base.
- Carefully overlay the next 7-inch circle on top of the base. Again, spread a thin layer of strawberry jam and cover with the third 7-inch circle.
- Repeat the jam layer and then place the last 7-inch circle.
With very gentle hands, press the layers together, so they adhere to each other. You don’t want to bear down too hard. The jam will ooze out the sides. Cut and shape the edges to get an even circle.
Repeat the same process with the leftover half of your dough.
Twisting the star bread
Take a small bowl and place it right at the center of the stacked layers. Press slightly so that the bowl leaves an indentation. This circle is your guide. You cannot cut the dough beyond the mark.
- Take a knife or a pizza cutter and make 4 cuts from the base till the mark. Each cut is spaced equally apart, making quarters.
- Next, cut each quarter one more time. You will now have 8 strands or strips surrounding the center circle.
- Finally, cut each strip one more time to get a total of 16 strands.
This process helps create strands that are equal in width. You can also visualize the stacked layers like a clock that has 16 hands instead of 12. Then keep making cuts at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock till 16 o’clock.
- Pick two adjoining strands, twist them away from each other and then pinch their ends to create one point of the star.
- Repeat the twist, and pinch steps with all the remaining strips until you have 8 star points.
Baking the strawberry star bread
Let the shaped bread rest for 10 to 15 minutes for 2nd proofing. Don’t let it rise too much, or else the bread will bake into a misshapen blob.
- Brush the bread with cream or milk. (Egg wash if you’re not making a vegan version).
- Sprinkle some baking pearls, although this is an entirely optional step.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Let the bread cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack, ready to be served.
Variations of the recipe
The quintessential breakfast bread for Christmas morning, you can take the star bread recipe in just about any direction your tastebuds desire.
It’s very versatile, lending itself from sweet to savory flavors.
As a riff on the classic cinnamon rolls, butter the dough circles, sprinkle them with brown sugar, and then liberally dust with cinnamon powder.
How to make savory star bread?
Pick any filling you like. Spinach and feta are a great choice.
The bread practically begs to be baked as a savory with pesto. Or ditch the pesto, and use cheese and garlic, or even sun-dried tomatoes.
What flour to use for making bread?
I prefer wholewheat flour for this recipe, but all-purpose flour will work as well. You can also try half all-purpose and half whole wheat.
What jam can you use for the bread filling?
Besides the strawberry, I made a teeny, tiny star bread with some really delicious homemade apple jam. So that’s one choice you have, others are:
- Raspberry jam
Serving the strawberry star bread
And as I sit down to write the blog with a cuppa and a still-warm pulled apart piece of the bread as company, my mind, body and soul thank me.
I recommend serving this bread with a dressy twist for any meal or snack. It is sure to disappear in a flash. If you’re planning an intimate Christmas dinner within your family bubble and want to bask in some oohs and ahhs, then give the bread a whirl.
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Strawberry Star Bread
- 1 cup Almond Milk you can use any milk of your choice
- 1/4 cup Coconut Oil you can use any vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup Raw Sugar you can use regular sugar
- 1.5 tsp Dried active yeast
- 2 cup Wholewheat Flour you can use all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Wholewheat Flour
- 1/3 - 1/4 cup Strawberry Jam you can use any fruit jam and adjust between 1/3rd - 1/4th cup depending on your filling preference.
- Heat milk, oil, and sugar in a small saucepan. Don't let it come to a boil. Take off the heat and cool.
- When this mixture is just warm, sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.
- Whisk in the 2 cups of flour. Cover and place in a draft-free place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
- Now add in the extra 1/4 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Mix well. The dough is now ready for use immediately. You can refrigerate it for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
Assembling The Star Bread
- Divide the dough into half - this recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves of the star bread.
- Place the dough on a well floured surface, working with one half at a time. Divide the dough mound into 4 equal pieces.
- With a rolling pin, roll out each of the quarters into a circle of about 7 inches. Make sure the surface is floured to avoid the dough sticking.
- Starting with one of the dough circles, top it with the Strawberry Jam. Place the next circle on top and do the same. Repeat this process once more with the third circle. The fourth circle will be placed on top of the stack without any filling added on top.
- Place a small round bowl of about 3 inches in the centre to make an indent - this is now the centre of your star bread.
- With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut even strips from the edge to the centre circle. Cut 16 even sized strips.
- Once the strips are cut, you will be assembling the twists by hand.
- With both hands, twist two strips at a time into a rope like shape. Press the ends together so that they do not fall apart while baking!
- At the end of this process, the star bread will have 8 points. Refer to the images to understand the process more clearly!
- Repeat this process with the second half of the divided dough.
- Bake each at 200 C for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- You can then serve warm as is, or dust with powdered sugar. Store it wrapped in cling film or foil, to maintain moisture! Cover and store the strawberry star bread at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days.