This SHOWSTOPPING Gluten Free Star Bread is everything you'd want in a Christmas bread and more. It's beautiful, yes, but more importantly it tastes phenomenal!! And the texture. I can't even. Stuffed with almond cream AND raspberry jam, it's the perfect bread to serve on Christmas morning 🎄
I am forever trying to find other uses for a lot of my gluten free doughs. Ultimately, I'd like to have a few master doughs--one sweet, one lean (meaning little to no fats or sugar), one middle of the road, one super soft, and one more sturdy and stiff. From there, I should be able to make all the gluten free bread I want.
I rarely make a full recipe of cinnamon rolls. I think because I like a variety. So with the rest of the sweet dough, I'm always thinking "what can I make?" Donuts? Hawaiian rolls? Apple fritters? Beignets? Sure, sure. ALL of those are fabulous. But if you know me, I like to try new things.
As soon as I saw this star bread, I KNEW exactly what I was making! And boy was I happy!!! Aside from it being SHOWSTOPPING, this bread was exactly what I was missing in my gluten free baking repertoire.
What is Star Bread?
I'm not sure exactly where it originated, but I first saw star bread in this book by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. They are only the most amazing creators of bread in 5 minutes a day, which I now practice in my kitchen when baking gluten free bread.
But it Looks So Complicated!!
It does look like the most complicated bread to make, doesn't it? But here's a secret--it's not!!! If you can roll out dough (and by now you should be able to), you'll have no problem making this gluten free star bread.
And once you make one, you'll want to make it with every possible filling you can think of! There are so many ideas rolling around in this head of mine, I can't even stand it. Haha!
What are the Ingredients in This Bread?
The ingredients vary, based on what flavors you want, but the dough for the bread is the one and only gluten free cinnamon roll dough. It's made with:
- Kim's gluten free bread flour blend -- you must use this for success. I can't say it will work without my blend.
- Yeast and baking powder -- for the proper rise.
- Salt -- flavor enhancer and helps boost rise by slowing down fermentation.
- Sugar -- for sweetness and to boost the yeast for proper rise and texture.
- Milk -- if you're dairy free, you can use almond, coconut, or another dairy free milk.
- Eggs -- essential for proper texture and rise.
- Butter -- if you're dairy free, try coconut oil or butter alternative, such as Earth Balance.
How to Make Star Bread
It's actually kinda fun to put the dough and filling together and create such a wonderfully impressive bread! Here are the easy steps:
- Make half a recipe of dough, or make the whole recipe and put away the other half for another use (there are PLENTY of ideas on this site!).
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece into an 8 to 9-inch circle.
- Position one round onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread ⅓ of almond filling onto round, followed by ⅓ of raspberry jam. Repeat this two more times.
- Add the final round of dough on top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, just to firm up again.
- Place an object that is about 2 inches in diameter in the middle of the dough rounds (a biscuit cutter or glass works great). This will just be a guide as to where to cut.
- Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut from the middle to the outside edge at four points, then another, followed by four more and a final four, for a total of 16 cuts.
- Starting with two side-by-side cuts, twist each cut away from each other and then pinch each twist together at the ends to create a point. If the dough begins to tear, just keep going.
- Go around the entire circle and repeat the same thing. At the end, you should have an eight-point star. Remove the glass or biscuit cutter from the center.
Cover the star and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 30 minutes. You just want it slightly puffed, not doubled in size. Otherwise, it may distort.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, brush the star with an egg wash consisting of one egg and one tablespoon of water. Bake the bread for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool until only slightly warm. Serve the bread warm or at room temperature.
Tips for Making Gluten Free Star Bread in Advance
This bread is so perfect for Christmas morning because it can be made in advance.
To make in advance before baking, put star bread completely together prior to the point of allowing it to rise. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. You can do this up to 3 days in advance. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator and allow to rise a little longer than 30 minutes before baking as instructed.
To make in advance after baking, bake and allow to cool completely. Wrap in foil and keep at room temperature for up to two days. When ready to serve, place in a preheated 350-degree oven, still wrapped in foil, for 15 minutes.
What Other Flavor Variations Can I Make?
The possibilities are really endless when you start thinking about different flavor variations. Here are just a few ideas:
- Cinnamon and sugar -- brush the layers with a little butter and then sprinkle each with cinnamon and sugar.
- Strawberries and cream -- spread layers with a cream cheese mixture (like this one) followed by chopped strawberries.
- Nutella -- spread each layer with nutella.
- Mexican chocolate -- spread each layer with one third of a mixture of 1 stick of softened butter, ½ cup (100 g) of granulated sugar, ⅓ cup (35 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle one third of 3 ounces (1 ounce on each layer) finely chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate.
- Double almond -- double the amount of almond filling and spread the almond cream followed by finely chopped sliced almonds on each layer.
- Honey walnut -- mix ½ cup (1 stick or 57 g) softened butter with ½ cup (170 g) of honey. Spread one third of this on each layer followed by finely chopped walnuts.
Don't Forget About the Savory!
Star bread isn't just for sweet bread! Here are some ideas for savory fillings:
- Pesto -- spread each layer with pesto followed by a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
- Pizza -- spread the layers with a thick pizza sauce, such as my copycat pizza hut pizza sauce) followed by a sprinkling of finely shredded mozzarella cheese. After brushing the top with egg wash, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Italian seasoning.
- Spinach dip -- mix up your favorite spinach dip recipe and spread it on the three layers before twisting away!
With just a little pre-planning, you can have this showstopping gluten free star bread on your Christmas breakfast table in no time. And you'll wow everyone with both the look AND the taste!!
Showstopping Gluten Free Star Bread
- ½ recipe ultimate cinnamon roll dough
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 4 tbsp (½ stick or 57 g) butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (113 g) almond paste
- ¼ cup (35 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or any other blend of choice)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ teaspoon orange flower water or orange extract (optional)
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Make the dough according to the recipe instructions through step 2.
- Before removing dough from fridge, make the almond filling. Process the butter, almond paste, flour, egg, and extracts in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
- Remove dough from fridge and knead until smooth on well-floured surface. Divide dough into four equal-sized pieces. Roll each out into about an 8-9-inch round.
- Begin by placing one round on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread with ⅓ of the almond filling, followed by ⅓ of the raspberry jam. Add another round of dough on top and continue with another third of the almond filling and raspberry jam. Place the third round of dough on top and finish spreading the final third of both almond filling and raspberry jam. Top with the final (fourth) round of dough.
- Place a small (2-inch in diameter) biscuit cutter or glass in the middle of the dough to use as a guide. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut from the outside of the glass or biscuit cutter to the outer edge of the round. The best way to do this is make two cuts across from each other, then another two across from each other, and so on until you've made 16 cuts (kind of like cutting a pie).
- Twist two pairs of cuts away from each other and then pinch them together at the most outer edge of the round to make a star point. You will end up with 8 star points.
- After all the twists and points have been done, remove the biscuit cutter or glass and cover the star bread with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for only 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together egg and water for the egg wash. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the bread with the egg wash. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.