Imagine a piece of warm-from-the-oven cinnamon-swirled bread topped off with a schmear of creamy butter icing. Sort of like those treats you get at Cinnabon. But so much better. And this one is a showstopper. Offer this beauty in all its star glory to your family and friends for an unforgettable presentation. I found the original recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. After tweaking the directions a bit and adding the delicious butter icing, I’m ready to share it with you.
Once the dry ingredients are sifted together (great way to ensure that they are well combined) the water, butter & vanilla are incorporated. This can be done by hand just until it all comes together into a ball of dough. Be sure that the water is warm …it helps to activate the yeast.
The dough will need to rest in a warm spot for about one hour. Then the fun begins. Wait until you see how easy this is to create. Really. The dough is divided into four equal portions. I find that it is helpful to weigh the dough ball (620 grams) then measure each smaller portion into exact portions of 155 grams each. That way there’s no guesswork.
Each dough ball is rolled out into a circle measuring about 10″ in diameter. If you have a 10″ springform pan, use the base as an aid in measuring each circle.
Press down slightly to leave a light impression. Check to be sure you have a full circle. Then use the springform base as a guide to remove the excess dough.
Each layer is brushed with a thin layer of egg wash, then coated with a hefty layer of cinnamon sugar. You’ll end up with three coated layers, topped by a final dough round.
Place a round cookie cutter (or upside-down drinking glass) measuring around 2 1/2″ to 3″ in diameter in the center of the circle. Press down gently to make an impression in the dough. Be careful …you are just making an impression, not cutting through any of the dough. Then, using a very sharp knife, cut through the layers of dough from the outer edge of the circle impression to the outside edge creating four quadrants. Then cut each quadrant into four equal strips or wedges.
Using both hands, carefully lift two adjacent dough strips to the outer edge of the inner circle. Twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Pinch the outer edge together to form a bond between the two wedges. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough. When finished, you’ll have eight swirled star points.
While the formed star bread is resting, begin the preparation of the butter icing. The milk and flour are heated until they become a thick white sauce that will be added to the creamed butter. Be sure to allow time for the white sauce to cool completely before adding it to the icing.
The butter icing is totally optional. This cinnamon bread is delicious on its own, especially with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. But with a bit of this icing on top …well, we’re talking a whole new level of deliciousness. Like I said before …look out Cinnabon. Let the competition begin.
Give the rested star bread a final egg glaze and pop it in a hot oven. In about 15 minutes, you’ll be so happy. And so proud of yourself.
There’s just one problem …this is almost too pretty. You’ll feel bad cutting into it. No worries. Now that you see how easy it is, you know that you can always make another one.
cinnamon star bread & french vanilla icing
Perfect addition to your brunch offerings.
Cinnamon Star Bread
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces / 284 grams)
- 1/4 cup potato flour * (1.7 ounces / 46 grams)
- 1/4 cup dry cultured buttermilk blend or nonfat dry milk (1.4 ounces / 40 grams)
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons)
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- confectioners sugar, for serving
French Butter Icing
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (or Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (8 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon Star Bread
In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, dry milk, yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar & salt. It is important to sift the ingredients to prevent lumps in the bread dough.
Add the softened butter, lukewarm water & vanilla extract. Mix well to combine by hand or mixer. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot for about 60 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each one into a ball and place them, covered, on a tray for about 15 minutes.
Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon. Set both bowls aside.
On a piece of parchment paper, roll one piece of dough into a 10" circle. Brush the entire surface lightly with the beaten egg. Evenly sprinkle with one-third of the cinnamon-sugar (about 3 tablespoons), leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the perimeter.
Roll out another 10" circle and place it on top of the 1st cinnamon coated circle. Brush it with egg, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Repeat the process with the 3rd circle. Finish with the 4th circle, leaving it bare on top. Reserve the remainder of the beaten egg to brush over the star once it's shaped.
Place a round cookie cutter (or upside-down drinking glass) measuring around 2 1/2″ to 3″ in diameter in the center of the circle. Press down gently to make an impression in the dough. Be careful …you are just making an impression, not cutting through any of the dough. Then, using a very sharp knife, cut through the layers of dough from the outer edge of the circle impression to the outside edge creating four quadrants. Then cut each quadrant into four equal wedges.
Using both hands, carefully lift two adjacent dough strips to the outer edge of the inner circle. Twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Pinch the outer edges together to form a bond between the two wedges. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough. When finished, you’ll have eight swirled star points.
Transfer the formed star on the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy about 45 minutes. While it is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Brush the star with a thin coating of the beaten egg. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s nicely golden with dark brown cinnamon streaks. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. If desired, sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar and serve with a dollop of French Butter Icing.
French Butter Icing
Place milk and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly until mixture thickens to a creamy texture. Remove from heat and place a piece of parchment or waxed paper directly on top of the sauce to prevent skin from forming. Cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla. Once combined, add the cooled white sauce and continue beating until light and fluffy. Alternatively, a hand-held mixer can be used.
NOTE: To frost a large cake or layer cake, double this recipe.
- Potato Flour is found in most well-stocked food markets. If not available, you can substitute with 1/2 cup Instant Mashed Potato Flakes. They would be added after the other dry ingredients are sifted together.