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This beautiful Star Bread looks gorgeous on the holiday table. The soft dough is layered with tart homemade cranberry filling.
I used to be so intimidated by any kind of bread that required using yeast. It’s can be so temperamental (or so I thought) and I was sure I’d get the rising times all wrong.
Well guess what-it’s really not that bad. Bread dough can be very forgiving. And soft, enriched doughs are delicious no matter if they end up a little “under proved.” (Said in my best Paul Hollywood accent.)
So whether you’re a new bread baker or an old hand, give this delicious Cranberry Star Bread recipe a try! It’s layered with a delicious tart filling that belongs on any holiday table.
Ingredients for Cranberry Star Bread:
- flour-nothing special, just plain old all-purpose flour will do
- active dry yeast-you can measure it out if you buy it by the brick, or use one packet
- sugar-the yeast needs to eat!
- milk-warmed up to 110 degrees to help activate the yeast (I always test mine with a thermometer to make sure I don’t overdo it and kill the yeast)
- cranberries-fresh or frozen will work
- orange juice (or lemon will work, too)
- optional icing for the top: powdered sugar, vanilla, orange juice and butter
Steps for making star bread (it’s not hard, I promise!)
1. Make the dough
Start by placing the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the mixing bowl and stirring together. Then add the warmed milk and eggs to the flour mixture. Mix and knead (using the dough hook) for about 7 minutes.
Transfer the dough to another bowl, cover and let it rise until doubled in size. This is the tricky part-there’s no set answer for how long it will take. It all depends on how warm your kitchen is. Typically, this should take about 1-2 hours.
2. Make the cranberry filling
While the dough is rising, make the cranberry filling. Add cranberries, sugar and orange juice to a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and cook until the berries split.
Blend with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender/food processor and blend carefully to avoid burns. The cranberry sauce should be about the thickness of gravy, but will thicken as it cools. (Which it can do as the dough rises.)
3. Shape the dough
Start by removing the dough from the proving bowl and shaping it into a rough loaf. It doesn’t need to be perfect-just even enough to then slice into 4 equal sections.
Roll each dough ball on a lightly floured surface into a 11-12” circle. Place the first circle onto a baking greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. I find a pizza pan is perfect for this.
4. Create layers
Add 1/3 of the cranberry sauce to the first layer of dough. Spread it evenly across the dough all the way to the edges.
Repeat the layers until the last layer of dough is on top. Place a biscuit cutter, jar lid, or some other circle in the center to use as a guide for cutting.
5. Cut and twist to create the star shape
Start by cutting the dough circles in fourths. It’s easy to do this using a pair of kitchen shears, but you can also use a knife. Next, cut each quadrant into fourths again. You should end up with 16 strips coming from the center.
Take two wedges next to each other, and twist them away from each other 1 ½ turns. Press the ends together. Repeat around the circle until all wedges are turned and connected/tucked in. You can watch how to do this in the video below.
Finally, brush with egg wash to get that golden color when baked. Now let it rest for 30 minutes.
While the star bread is resting, preheat the oven. If you want to top it with icing, you can also make that at this time. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cool. Leave it plain, drizzle with icing, or dust with powdered sugar.
Other delicious cranberry recipes you’ll love:
- Cranberry Jalapeno Dip
- Crockpot Express Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Apple Butter
- Crockpot Express Cranberry Applesauce
- Cranberry Punch
Cranberry Star Bread
- 4 cups flour
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups cranberries can use fresh or frozen
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup orange or lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon orange juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon melted butter
- 4 cups flour, 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, ⅓ cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon saltIn the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and stir to combine. Fit stand mixer with dough hook/spiral
- 1 cup milk, 2 eggsWarm milk to about 110º degrees, and add to flour mixture. Add eggs and milk to stand mixer
- Turn the mixer to 2 and mix until combined. Continue mixing to knead dough for 7 minutes
- The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl as it kneads, but still be tacky. If dough is overly sticky, add a small amount of flour to reach the desired consistency
- When dough is done kneading, remove bowl from mixing and dough hook, shape into a ball, cover, and let rise until doubled in size. This should take 1-2 hours depending on your kitchen temperature
- 2 cups cranberries, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup orange or lemon juiceWhile dough is rising, combine cranberries, sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan
- Bring to a simmer, and simmer until cranberries split. Blend with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender/food processor and blend carefully to avoid burns
- Cranberry sauce should be about the thickness of gravy, but will thicken as it cools. Let sauce cool while dough rises
- When dough has risen, divide into four evenly sized balls. Roll each dough ball on a lightly floured surface into a 11-12” circle
- Place a circle onto a baking greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. I find a pizza pan is perfect for this
- Spread ⅓ of cranberry sauce onto circle of dough
- Top with a second dough circle, and repeat
- Repeat with the third dough circle, then top with the last circle
- Place a small circular object (about 1-1 ½ inches) like a small biscuit butter, jar lid, or glass in the center of the circle of cinnamon bread to use as a guide
- Use scissors to cut dough into quarters, from the edge, up to the circle guide. Next, cut each quarter into quarters-You should end up with 16 wedges around the circle
- Take two wedges next to each other, and twist away from each other 1 ½ turns
- Press ends together. Repeat around the circle until all wedges are turned and connected
- 1 eggBrush with beaten egg and then let rest for 30 minutes
- While the cranberry bread rests, preheat oven to 350º
- Bake cranberry bread for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool
- 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon orange juice, ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 Tablespoon melted butterWhile bread cools, combine icing ingredients until smooth, adding extra powdered sugar, or orange juice as needed to achieve a thick drizzle, or spreadable icing as desired, and drizzle/spread over cooled cranberry bread,