Star bread is such a showstopper when it comes to desserts and breads. But it looks so much harder to make than it is. If you can make cinnamon rolls or babka, you can make star bread. Even if you haven’t made bread before, I promise you can do this! This creamy goat cheese, cinnamon and cranberry star bread is going to rocket up your repeat bake list.
This recipe was adapted from my Spiced Chocolate Star Bread, which is equally delicious if you are looking for something not as fruity. Instead of chocolate though, this is filled with creamy goat cheese, cranberries and cinnamon. I was able to find this combination in a prepackaged goat cheese, but if you aren’t able to find that I would go with a cranberry jam or reduction mixed into goat cheese.
While cranberry is often a holiday fruit, this bread would be great anytime of year. I’m positive it would be equally delicious with another fruit like strawberry or raspberry as well.
What is star bread?
Star bread is an enriched dough, like the dough of cinnamon rolls, donuts, and other baked pastries. Traditional bread is made from flour, salt, water and yeast. Enriched doughs vary but include things like butter, milk, sugar and eggs. Star bread includes all four. The added fats make the dough soft and tender vs more lean doughs which sometimes can have crisp or crunchy exteriors and more of a chewy crumb.
Baking Notes and Tips
If your dough isn’t rolling out nicely, cover and let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the gluten to relax a little bit. This will help. It’s also okay if your layers aren’t 100% symmetrical circles. You will pinch all the layers together when shaping.
It will help a lot if the goat cheese is warmer rather than colder. I get mine out right when I start making the dough so that it’s nicely soft and spreadable. I will sometimes squeeze the package before opening, as well.
It’s very hard to over-knead your dough, so if you aren’t sure if it’s ready it’s not going to hurt to let it go another few minutes. Pulling on a small section of the dough and see if it passes the window pane test (the dough should stretch and allow light to pass through rather than just ripping and creating holes).
Goat Cheese & Cranberry Star Bread Key Ingredients
- Goat Cheese – Look at the flavored goat cheeses for a cranberry variety. They are almost always available during the holidays but I have seen them year round depending on the store. I’ve seen both name brands and store brands, but this is the one I see the most often: Montchevre Cinnamon Cranberry Goat Cheese
- Cinnamon sugar – In addition to the cinnamon in the filling, we top the bread with lots of extra cinnamon sugar for both a little crunch and sweetness.
- Milk – Milk is the main hydrator of the dough and is going to add a ton of tenderness to any enriched bread. Extra soft and pillowy!
- 440 g AP or Bread Flour 3 ⅔ cups
- 2¼ tsp Instant yeast
- 1 tsp Sea salt
- 50 g Granulated sugar ¼ cup
- 1 large Egg room temperature
- 1 cup Whole or 2% milk warmed to ~105°F
- 4 tbsp Unsalted butter softened
- 8 oz Cinnamon Cranberry Goat Cheese room temperature
- Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook attached, combine flour, salt, yeast, sugar, egg, and milk and mix until a rough dough just comes together.
- Add each tbsp of butter, one at a time. Waiting to add the next one until the previous is fully incorporated in the dough.
- Mix dough on low until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-20 minutes.
- Remove dough from bowl, shape into a ball. Lightly grease your bowl and place dough in, cover, and allow to rise in a warm spot. Rise time should be about 60-120 min, but dough is ready when roughly doubled in size.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchement or silicone mat.
- When dough is ready, remove from bowl and divide into 4 equal portions. You don't have to, but weighing the dough can help insure your layers are even.
- Shape each piece of dough into a ball and then roll out into about a 10-12" circle. Place the first piece on your baking sheet.
- Using a spoon or offset spatula, spread a good amount of your cranberry goat cheese over the dough, leaving about ⅓" border on the edges.
- Roll out a second piece of dough into another 10-12" circle and cover the piece you just spread goat cheese over.
- Cover the second piece of dough with goat cheese. Repeat process again with third piece of dough.
- Roll out your remaining piece of dough and cover the third layer. Do not spread goat cheese over this layer.
- Place a small round glass or cookie/biscuit cutter into the center of the dough, ut do not press down.
- Using a sharp knife or bench cutter, make a cut from the center (the edge of your glass or biscuit cutter) to the outside. Repeat until you have 16 sections. To keep the sections evenly sized I find it easiest to cut 4 quarters, then cut each of those in half, and then cut each of those in half.
- Take two sections that are next to each other and twist them out and away from each other twice, ending so that the top is facing up. Pinch the ends of the dough together creating a point/seam.
- Repeat this twisting process for all the remaining sections.
- Cover your star bread and let rise for another 30-45 minutes, until puffed up. Preheat your oven to 350°F during the end of the proofing time.
- When your dough is ready to bake, right before placing in the oven, generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Place your baking sheet on the center rack of your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Bread will be golden brown when ready.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating.