A naturally leavened holiday classic, this sourdough star bread is simply filled with butter and cinnamon sugar, but the possibilities are endless. It’s surprisingly simple to make, with just layering and twisting!
Photography by Alexandra Daum.
This sourdough star bread is the prettiest, festive bread! It’s also super simple, with no kneading or difficult shaping needed.
Our sourdough version features a butter and cinnamon sugar filling, so it’s a bit like a giant, special cinnamon roll. It’s the perfect pull-apart bread to make for the holidays.
Tips and Notes
You can cut around the edges of the dough to create a more perfect circle, but it’s extra work for no reason. After twisting and sealing, you don’t notice whether it was fully round or not.
Use a very sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the strips in the dough. A dull knife will rip the dough rather than go through the layers smoothly.
Make sure to twist the pieces away from each other, not toward. When twisting toward each other, you end up with pieces of dough that stick up and burn during baking.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, see our post on how to stretch and fold sourdough.
Don’t overfill the layers. A tablespoon or two of filling, thinly spread, is plenty. Too much and you’ll just have a messy star bread.
The dough only rests for half an hour, instead of a longer second ferment period, because if it’s left to rise for too long then it loses the nice shape while baking. 30 minutes is ideal for both best texture and appearance.
More Filling Ideas
- finely chopped chocolate
- nutella or another sweet spread (like sweet macadamia nut butter)
- peanut butter
- jelly or jam
- for a savoury version, use a salty cheese and add garlic
- sweetened cream cheese (combine with jam!)
Change up the fillings to suit your preference (see above for ideas).
If you’re not very confident with sourdough, you can use up to 50% bread flour. That being said, this dough is extremely easy to work with and feels just like a sweet yeast dough.
Use vegan butter and milk for a dairy-free version.
Topping with icing sugar is optional, just festive. Leave it off if you don’t like it.
More Sweet Sourdough Recipes
Sourdough Star Bread
- Small saucepan
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Tea towel
- Parchment paper
- baking sheet
- Small dish
- pastry brush
- Digital kitchen scale
- 180 grams whole milk
- 100 grams sugar
- 60 grams butter, room temperature
- 100 grams active starter, 100% hydration
- 1 large egg, room temperature, plus more for wash
- 450 grams all-purpose white flour
- 5 grams sea salt
- 50 grams butter, melted
- 90 grams sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan until just simmering.
- Add the sugar and butter to a large mixing bowl, and pour the hot milk over top. Stir until the butter has melted.
- Check the temperature with your finger. If the mixture feels hot, let it cool until it feels just warm to touch.
- Add the starter and whisk to combine. Whisk in the egg.
- Add the flour and salt, then stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
- Do three rounds of stretches and folds, once every 20 minutes, over the course of an hour. The dough should be very smooth and easily form a ball when finished.
- Cover the dough tightly with a tea towel and a plate and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, either continue with the next steps, or refrigerate up to 10 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 4 equal pieces.
- Tuck the edges under each piece to form balls (they don't need to be perfect).
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter for the filling and mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
- Place a ball onto a floured surface and roll into a circle, about 25cm (10 in.) in diameter.
- Place the circle onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Top with a third (30 gram or 2 tablespoons) of the cinnamon sugar in an even layer.
- Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, adding butter and sugar between each layer. Don't top the final piece with butter.
- Once the layers are finished, gently press a small dish into the centre of the dough circle (about 6cm / 2 in. is ideal).
- Cut 16 equal strips of dough, only cutting to the edge of the circle imprint in the middle of the dough. Start by making quarters to make it easier to see the sizing.
- Take two strips of dough and twist them away from one another, doing two twists, then tucking and sealing the ends under themselves. Repeat until all of the strips of dough have been twisted.
- Cover the bread and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Brush the top and sides of the bread with egg wash, and then bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a dark golden colour.
- Cool before dusting with icing sugar (optional) and serving. Leftovers are good for a day or two, stored in an airtight container.