Rosy Red Cranberry Star Bread

Rosy Red Cranberry Star Bread

Prepare to play tug-of-war with my fun star-shaped Christmas bread.

At our house, Christmas was incomplete without freshly baked bread. The alluring aroma drifted into our rooms and beckoned us to come for breakfast.

I wanted to continue the childhood tradition in Dubai by whipping up something spectacular and grandiose.  Gazillion ideas whirled in my mind.

However, when my eyes fell upon this pull-apart star bread, it was love at first sight. I felt my fingers tingle in anticipation as I marveled over its intricate design.

After a few nutritious tweaks and artistic twists, I conjured this stylish star bread.

So what’s inside this beauty?

My super soft and fluffy pull-apart star bread contains all-vegan baking staples and a sweet, sticky filling. With careful twists, I ensured that its cranberry insides oozed out. It creates an alluring look amidst the berry-special garnish and sprinkled icing sugar.  Yum!

What Can You Expect?

  • An easy and simple recipe
  • No refined sugar.
  • Dairy-free ingredients
  • Vegan

Baking Tips to Create the Perfect Homemade Star Bread

Whether you are baking bread for the first time or not, some baking tips can go a long way. They help you avoid mishaps and smoothen the process.

Here are a few rules to follow:

Basic Baking Tips

Measure ingredients on a weighing scale for more accuracy. If it is unfeasible, use calibrated measuring utensils instead.  Also, keep things at room temperature before baking. It prevents distortions caused by mixing hot and cold items.

Proofing

  • Cover your dough tightly to let the yeast rise properly.
  • Remember that proofing takes time.
  • Schedule your baking accordingly.

Rolling Technique

  • Use a heavy rolling pin to roll the dough into thin and even circles.
  • Make sure each rolled layer is flat.
  • For better results, dust your countertop and dough with flour. It will prevent your dough from sticking.

Creating the Start Shape

  • Slice the dough into 16 equal strips to get the distinct star shape.
  • Get the perfect strip by dividing the circle into even quarters.
  • Use a pizza cutter to slice each quarter into a half.
  • Slice those wedges into two even sections.

Spreading Strategy:

Using a standard spoon or butter knife can lead to tears. I use an offset spatula (designed for frosting desserts) to spread the filling without compromising the delicate dough.

Also, avoid overspreading the filling, or else it will spill out of the bread.

Can You Store the Star Bread Dough?

Yes, you can make the star bread dough ahead of time by refrigerating it after step 6.  Make sure that the dough is wrapped tightly in a cling film with no room for air to pass. Also, punch the dough again before you divide it into four equal portions.

What about leftovers?

Store your leftover star bread at room temperature in an airtight container. It will stay fresh at room temperature for 1-2 days. You can also refrigerate it for 4-5 days if you want.

In both cases, dab it with water and reheat it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. You can also pop it in a preheated oven (with a temperature setting at 200°C). Heat it for 5 minutes (or until it’s warmed thoroughly).

Tasty Hacks: Homemade Star Bread

Want to put your creative spin on this baking venture?

Not a Fan of Cranberries?

No worries! You can stuff the bread with cinnamon butter, peanut butter, alternative fruity jam or plain cinnamon sugar.  You can also whip up a chocolate ganache for a rich, chocolaty filling.

Craving Something Savory?

My star bread tastes delicious with a savor filling too,

Here are three combinations you can work with:

  • Sundried Tomato Pesto
  • Olive Tapenade Spread
  • Rocket Pesto Spread

Spread the pesto across each layer according to the recipe. Do make sure that the filling is not too chunky or wet.

Take your bread baking skills to another level with this star-quality dessert. Remember to add #joyfulhomecooking to share your dessert diaries with me.

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Cranberry Star Bread

Become a star baker by serving this whimsical cranberry star bread. The fluffy, pull-apart bread tastes divine and comes with a variety of fillings. These delicious qualities make it the perfect companion for festive gatherings and special occasions.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins + Proofing Time: 1 ½ hour
  • Total Time: 2 ½ hours
  • Yield: 8-10 people 1x
  • Author:
  • Joyce Mrad

Scale

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plant-based butter (softened)
  • 1 cup almond milk (warm)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast

Cranberry Jam

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water + 1 tsp hibiscus powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Homemade Cranberry Jam

  1. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add maple syrup, vanilla extract, cranberries, water, and hibiscus powder.
  2. Boil the mixture until the cranberries start bursting (approx. 6-8 min).
  3. Use a spoon/potato masher to crush the remaining cranberries.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. If you want a smoother texture, you may blend the jam for a minute or two to reach the right consistency. Taste the jam and adjust its sweetness by adding more maple syrup.
  7. Pour it into a large mason jar.
  8. Set aside for 4 hours (or refrigerate overnight).*

Vegan Star Bread

  1. Sift and mix the dry bread ingredients (i.e. the salt, flour, yeast, and sugar) in a large bowl.
  2. Add butter and plant-based milk into the mix.
  3. Use a stand mixer for kneading the mixture for at least 8 minutes (or until the dough forms). The perfect dough forms into a smooth and non-sticky ball. **
  4. Grease another bowl with oil and place your dough inside.
  5. Cover the dough and proof it for 1 hour.
  6. Once proofed, punch the dough to remove air bubbles.
  7. Pull the dough apart and divide it into equal 4 portions.
  8. Dust the countertop with flour and roll the first portion into a circle with a 10” diameter. (Keep the remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying)***
  9. Spread the cranberry jam (2 tbsp) inside the circle while leaving a 1” gap at the edges. This forms the base of your bread.
  10. Repeat the previous step with the remaining portions by placing each new layer on top of the base before spreading the jam. You should have 4 layers of circles and 3 layers of filling. ****
  11. Take a 2 ½” cookie cutter/lid and make a dent in the center. This sphere serves as the center of your star.
  12. Use a pizza cutter/knife to slice 16 slits across the dough.
  13. Twist two adjacent strips of the dough outwards twice and then pinch their edges to seal them. Continue this until all the slits are twisted.
  14. Proof the dough for ½ an hour.
  15. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  16. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper before placing the bread.
  17. Gently brush the top of your bread with milk to get a glistening look.
  18. Seal edges before popping your bread in the oven. Otherwise, the filling might spill all over the baking sheet. *****
  19. Bake for 15-20 minutes (or until it turns golden brown).
  20. Dab freshly baked bread with butter. (Optional)
  21. Let it cool before sprinkling it with icing sugar and other berries.

Enjoy!


Notes

*Refrigerate overnight to save time.

**You can knead the dough with your hands to reach the right texture.  Your dough should be soft, sturdy, and moldable.

*** Dried dough becomes too stiff to twist, which is very inconvenient for the next step.

**** Do not spread the cranberry jam on the top layer. Make sure that it’s not too thick or chunky (or the bread might lose its shape).

***** Pinch each pointy edge of the star to ensure it doesn’t open in the oven.

Keywords: Homemade star bread, cranberry star bread

 

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