cinnamon star bread
I took a shot at making this bread from the King Arthur Flour recipe, and it's a winner. Soft, perfectly sweet, and she's quite the looker. It does contain some less common ingredients like potato flour and dry milk. I made it as written below, but see the notes in the recipe for substitution ideas.
Don't be intimidated by the shaping. It looks complicated, but once you figure out how to make one paired point, it's all gravy, baby. You basically take once strip in each hand and twist the strips away from each other a couple of times, then squish the ends together to make a point. You can do eeet!
Cinnamon star bread (adapted a bit from King Arthur Flour)
Serves 8-12 * can prepare ahead of time and bake in the morning
3/4 c (plus 2-4 Tbsp extra) lukewarm water to make a smooth dough
1/4 c (2oz or 57g) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 c (8 1/2 oz or 241g) all-purpose flour
1/4 c (35g) dry milk (like this or other non-fat dry milk)*
1/4 c (46g) potato flour**
2 tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten***
1/3 c cinnamon-sugar****
* Or you could try substituting regular milk for the water
** This is available in the specialty flour section, you know with all the gluten-free alternatives and whatnot. Or you could use 1/2 c instant mashed potato flakes
*** To make this egg-free (due to my daughter's allergy), I used a couple Tbsp of heavy cream
**** I made my own by mixing 1 c of extra fine granulated sugar (or regular granulated works) plus 2 Tbsp of cinnamon and whisking together. I'm storing the rest for future bakes.
What to do
1. Combine all the dough ingredients and mix until you have a smooth dough. (I use a Kitchen-aid mixer with the dough hook).
2. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. It should nearly double in bulk.
3. Divide the dough into 4 roughly equal parts (I used a scale to make sure they were about equal). Roll them in a ball shape.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball out into a 10" circle. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper.
5. Brush the dough circle with egg (or heavy cream) and sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on the top. Leave a 1/4" margin around the edge.
6. Roll out the next ball of dough to a 10" circle and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process - egg, cinnamon-sugar, dough circle - leaving the top layer bare.
7. Place a 2 1/2" to 3" round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide. With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.
8. Using two hands, pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips.
9. Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Remove the cutter.
10. Cover the star and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes. (Then place in the refrigerator overnight if not baking immediately).
11. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
12. Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg (optional). Bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, until it's nicely golden with dark brown cinnamon streaks; the center should register 200°F on a digital thermometer.
13. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.