Ch. 38: A Five Star Cinnamon Star Bread

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There are those recipes that you just see everywhere but never feel the inclination to make. These star type breads often come to mind- being whipped up with store-bought puff pastry and simple fillings. I think I’ve reached that point in my baking journey where I often pass those over in hopes for more of a challenge. One recipe I found in my frequent search was for Cinnamon Star Bread. Now if you’re in the world of food videos like I am, you’ll know this isn’t some novel concept. Just about every food channel on Youtube has a version of this- from savory to sweet, homemade to store-bought. This series is about me testing my skills a bit, so I didn’t want to bore any of you with a star bread made from some store-bought puff pastry (*scoff) so I went the homemade route, hoping to redeem myself from previous bread issues.

KAF is pretty good about testing their recipes thoroughly, so I had little apprehension about this. Like their other bread recipes, it starts off by combining all of your ingredients. They do add an extra step of sifting the dry, which is great because milk powder tends to clump up when exposed to moisture. Again, I made the swap of potato starch for potato flour which worked like a charm. The only anomaly is the amount of water, as KAF puts a range of   cups plus 2-4 tablespoons (198g to 227g). I’m a stickler for precision when it comes to bread baking, so I went somewhere in the middle with 220g. Always remember that the more water you have in your dough, the softer the finished bread will be. KAF is pretty general in terms of how the dough comes together. I’ve learned from experience that a good 7-8 minutes in a mixer with the dough hook attachment at medium speed works best. The dough won’t exactly clear the sides of the bowl, however it should be quite elastic and only slightly sticky. It then rests for about 45 minutes. The now puffy dough is punched down and divided in four, before each portion is shaped into balls. You don’t have to go too crazy here, as the shape will only make it easier to roll out later on. Those rolls rest for 15 minutes before the real fun happens. 

The assembly of this “loaf” starts off by rolling out a ball of dough into a 10” diameter circle. The key is to only use as little flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick. I found it near impossible to get a perfect circle, but really it doesn’t matter too much. That dough circle is placed on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet before it’s brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, leaving the edges bare. We then repeat that process twice, stacking on the rolled out dough squares and adding our filling. At the end of it, you’ll have three layers of filling and four layers of dough, with the top layer untouched. We then place a glass in the middle and cut out 16 strips, forming this sun pattern. Now, with two hands, you grab two adjacent strips and twist away from each other twice before bringing them back and securing with a pinch. KAF is pretty light with the instructions, so I ended up following a little how-to from Bincy Chris, just swapping out her recipe for the KAF one. I guarantee you that even if they don’t turn out perfect, the finished product will look amazing– so trust me. That dough is then proofed before it’s baked. 

This is probably one of the prettiest things I’ve made this lock down. The little star/ petal things look so good, with the cinnamon swirl poking out. The loaf got a deep golden brown which is great for looks and flavor. And really, apart from a quick video I had to watch (purely for my own self-assurance), it wasn’t too difficult to put together. Mine didn’t quite bake up in 15 minutes as the recipe stated. I tinted it with foil after the first 15 and then let it continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes to make sure that center was cooked. In terms of flavor, it’s very reminiscent of a cinnamon roll, though it’s not quite as sickly sweet as some recipes. The interior is soft and pillowy, while the edges are a bit crisp from the sugar. I can see this being served with cream cheese frosting to dip as a fun little alternative to the classic. Really, I can’t get enough of it. Five out of five stars. 

Full Recipe | Method from King Arthur Flour

https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/cinnamon-star-bread-recipe

Star Bread technique from Bincy Chris:

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