Breads & Rolls

Cranberry Orange Star Bread

Soft and tender brioche dough twisted with a homemade cranberry orange sauce, and topped with a zesty orange glaze. My step by step instructions show you that it is actually VERY SIMPLE! We also loving swapping out the filling for chocolate, nutella, cinnamon sugar, garlic butter and cheese, or a favorite jam. The perfect festive holiday bread! 

cranberry oranges star bread

How to make star bread

Making star bread is way easier than it looks! The original recipe came from my cranberry orange sweet rolls, but after falling in love with the star bread technique, I decided to adopt the festive cranberry filling with this classic holiday bread shape. 

The dough comes together so well and shaping is fun and easy. Detailed instructions are included below, but here’s a sneak peak at what to expect. Just a few simple steps:

1. Make the dough & rise.
2. Roll out the dough. Roll out the dough into three 12″ circles on parchment paper.
3. Layer the dough. Layer like a bunch of pizza crusts. Circle + topping + circle + topping + circle. 
4. Cut. Trim the edges as needed. Make a circle marking in the center using a biscuit cutter or small bowl and make 16 cuts. I like to do this by making 4 even cuts, then dividing each of those sections in half, then half again. 
5. Twist. Twist 2 pieces away from each other, then pinch the two ends together. Do this two pieces at a time and you’ll end up with 8 points. 
6. Bake. Set the dough aside and give it a short rise for about 20 minutes. Just before placing in the oven, brush with an egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar or top with the orange glaze. 

You can also check out my simple bake along tutorial on my Instagram

Divide dough into 3. Roll out each into ~12″ rounds.

Spread a layer of filling on the first round.

Top with another round circle and add more filling.

Add final, 3rd round circle on top. 

Mark a small circle in the center.

Use a pizza cutter or knie to cut into 18 sections.

Independently twist two ends, then pinch together.

Complete twisting and pinching to get 8 points.

cranberry orange star bread, overhead

Star bread fillings

There are so many options to fill and top! In the recipe box below I suggest a few favorites including: 

Nutella
Raspberry jam
Chocolate 

Cinnamon Sugar

Savory like pesto or garlic butter + cheese 

More fun ways to form

close up sweet roll

TRADITIONAL SWEET ROLL

Original recipe found here.

cranberry orange wreath bread

WREATH

I assembled it like babka, but instead of putting it into a loaf pan, I wrapped it into a circle. 

cranberry orange muffin tin sweet rolls

MUFFIN TIN

An orange version with a step by step tutorial found here.

cranberry orange star bread, overhead

Cranberry Orange Star Bread

Lori Vaughn
Soft and tender brioche dough twisted with a homemade cranberry orange sauce, and topped with a zesty orange glaze. My step by step instructions show you that it is actually VERY SIMPLE! We also loving swapping out the filling for chocolate, nutella, cinnamon sugar, garlic butter and cheese, or a favorite jam. The perfect festive holiday bread! 
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk (any milk, but fattier the better)
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups all purpose flour

Filling

  • 6 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp butter

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsbp orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • ~2 tbsp milk or until desired consistency

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Using a stand mixer* with a dough hook, combine the warm milk (not scalding hot, but warm to the touch), yeast, and sugar together. After a couple minutes, you should see the yeast starting to foam - that means its activating!
  • Add your first cup of flour and mix together. Once it's mostly incorporated add the salt, softened butter and eggs. Continue to mix on low.
  • Slowly add the remaining flour. In pouring your last cup, do so slowly, watching the dough. When you've added enough flour, the dough will be soft and just slightly sticky. It will also be pulling away from the bowl. Leave the mixer on for an additional 8-10 minutes to knead.
  • Take your dough hook out, and cover the bowl to let the dough rest and rise for about 45 minutes.

Filling

  • While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. (This filling can also be made days in advance, and even frozen.) Combine all the filling ingredients, except the butter, in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the cranberries begin to cook down and the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Remove from the heat, then add the butter, gently mixing until incorporated. Put in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Place in fridge (or freezer to chill faster) to chill until dough is fully risen.

Assembly

  • Divide the dough into 3 even sections, one section for each piece of parchment or wax paper. Roll out each section to be about a 12" circle.
  • Spread a nice even layer of filling on the first circle, leaving about 1/2 inch on the ends (like a pizza crust).
    Transfer the second rolled out circle from the parchment paper to the first circle now topped with filling. Spread the second half of your filling on top of that second circle.
    Transfer third rolled out circle from the parchment paper to the second circle now topped with filling. It will look like 3 pizza crusts on top of each other with filling in between.
  • Trim the edges as needed to remove any hanging/uneven parts to keep an even circle. Using a biscuit cutter of small bowl about 3" wide, make a gentle marking in the center. Outside of that circle, cut 16 even sections with a pizza cutter. I like to do this by making 4 even cuts, then dividing each of those sections in half, then half again. 
  • Hold a piece in each hand and gently twist each one away from each other, then pinch the two ends together. Do this two pieces at a time and you'll end up with 8 points. 
  • Set the dough aside and give it a short rise for about 30 minutes. Just before placing in the oven, brush with an egg wash (an egg whisked together with one TB of water).
  • Transfer to baking sheet. I keep it on the bottom parchment paper layer for easy transfer. Bake at 350℉ for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. If some points are browning too quickly, you can gently cover with aluminum foil.

Glaze

  • Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together until combined well. This can also be stored in fridge until ready to use. Drizzle over baked rolls. Enjoy!
  • Enjoyed at room temperature or warm. To reheat, turn oven on to 350° F, cover with foil, and heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until warm.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD??
Yes, you can prep this ahead in lots of ways! The filling and glaze can be refrigerated for a week in advance, or frozen for 3 months.
You can also prep the dough in advance. The dough from the first rise can be placed in the fridge overnight and then assembled the next day, OR you can assemble the star, cover and refrigerate overnight and then bake the next day after letting it sit out for about 30-60 minutes to come back to room temp and get puffy. 
MORE FILLING OPTIONS:
  • Cinnamon Sugar: Combine 1/3 cup packed brown sugar + 1 TB ground cinnamon and spread on top of softened butter
  • Chocolate Spread: Combine 4 oz of chocolate and 2 TB butter. Melt together until smooth. I also love this chocolate spread from my chocolate babka recipe.
  • Jam: Use about 1/3 cup of jam of choice
  • Nutella: Use about 1/3 - 1/2 cup
  • Pesto or garlic butter + cheese
MORE GLAZE OPTIONS:
  • Powdered sugar
  • Basic icing: Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1-2 TB of milk
  • Cream cheese frosting: Beat together 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Add milk to thin out if desired. 
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DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Tag @loskitchenco on Instagram and 
hashtag it #loskitchenco

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Eydie
Eydie
3 months ago

This recipe looks to be delicious, in addition to being festive and surprisingly easy. Thank you so much for sharing.🙏💯

Barbara
3 months ago
  • I have been studying this recipe since receiving it an hour ago, lol! Two questions- do you suggest fresh squeezed orange juice or store bought? Also, in summary/ intro the final dough rest is 20 minutes before baking but below in the body of the recipe, it reads “Set the dough aside and give it a short rise for about 30 minutes. Just before placing in the oven, brush with an egg wash (an egg whisked together with one TB of water).” So 20 versus 30 minutes. I can always split the difference!
Barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  Lori

Thank you!

Barbara
3 months ago

Can you tell me how much one 12” star bread filling is used in this base cranberry-orange recipe? I will be making multiple star breads and fillings so I need to know how much is used in one so I can measure it out from the larger batch. Thank You!

Barbara
3 months ago

I do not have a stand mixer, only a hand mixer. I do have an old, unused bread machine. I’ve been thinking about getting a Bosch mixer universal or Nutrimill Artiste, but it isn’t in the budget right now! Never knew about them until I saw your Instagram post. Now, I can’t stop thinking about them! Your recipe calls for the stand mixer *. The asterisk makes me think you were going to add a footnote. Could you offer discounts on mixers or alternatives to “stand” mixer?

Barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  Lori

Thank you!

A C
A C
2 months ago

5 stars
My dough was a little tight, not as soft as I’m used to. Did I asd Too much flour?

carla
carla
2 months ago

5 stars
I am going to make this for our Christmas Brunch. Sounded difficult, until I saw the pictures. So easy and looks delicious.