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This pull-apart star bread is a beautiful, buttery, sugary, and delicious holiday bread that tastes as good as it looks and is actually easy to make. |

Star Bread

  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This pull-apart star bread is a beautiful, buttery, sugary, and delicious holiday bread that tastes as good as it looks and is actually easy to make. 


  • 160 grams milk (2/3 cup)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 3 grams instant yeast (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 grams softened butter (1/4 cup), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (or melted butter)
  • 310 grams all-purpose flour (2 + 1/2 cups)
  • 6 grams salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 large egg (for egg wash)

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar


Make the Dough:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, yeast, and egg until smooth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, butter and salt and mix well with a spatula.
  3. Pour in the wet mixture and stir well to combine until it forms a shaggy dough, scraping down the sides of the bowl (there should be no dry flour particles visible).
  4. Knead the dough on a clean lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until it changes from a sticky shaggy dough into a smooth and soft dough ball. Apply a little bit of oil or butter in your hands if needed.
    • A well kneaded dough is smooth and can hold its shape. Also, when you give the dough ball a firm poke with your finger, the indentation should bounce right back. If it doesn’t bounce back and stays like a dimple, keep kneading for a few minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature (preferably in a warmer area) for 1 hour until doubled.

Shape the Star Bread:

  1. Flatten the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces with a bench scraper. Shape into smooth balls by cupping the dough in your palm and making circular motions. It should take less than 30 seconds to roll each piece into a smooth ball.
  2. Use a rolling pin to roll each dough ball into a 10-inch circle, approximately. Place one dough circle on a piece of parchment paper. Spread 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar evenly on top.
  3. Stack the next dough circle on top and stretch it so that the two dough circles align on the edges. Spread the same amount of butter and sugar on top. 
  4. Repeat the step until 4 layers of dough are stacked evenly with the filling (the top layer will not have any butter or sugar on top).
  5. Place a 3-inch round object such as a round cookie cutter or rim of a glass in the center to make an indent, which becomes the center of the star.
  6. Cut the dough into 16 evenly spaced strips with a pizza cutter or knife. Make sure all the layers are cut through.
  7. Take two strips at a time and twist them away from each other twice, then press the two bottom ends together to make a point. Repeat the twisting until the star bread forms 8 points.
  8. Cover the star bread loosely with plastic cling wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes until almost doubled.

Bake the Star Bread:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Transfer the star bread with the parchment paper onto a large half sheet baking pan. Brush with egg wash evenly on top.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes until the top turns golden brown.
  4. Allow the star bread cool for 10 minutes, then serve. Dust with confectioners’ sugar on top (optional).


Don’t skip steps: When baking bread, every step is essential. So, don’t rush it and don’t skip any steps. Make sure to yourself extra time to make this star bread if it’s your first time.

Storage instructions: Keep star bread at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to one week.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: star bread, how to make star bread, homemade star bread, christmas star bread, brown sugar star bread,