4.91 from 31 votes

Cinnamon Star Bread

Cinnamon star bread on a marble countertop

This beautiful cinnamon star bread recipe is shockingly easy to create. It’s perfect for so many occasions—from holiday breakfast to a regular old Saturday brunch. The beauty of this easier-than-it-looks recipe is that you can play with the flavors to match your mood, sweet or savory! You’ll find the recipe and some variations below.

This recipe is an adaptation of one from my in my book Holiday and Celebration Breads in Five Minutes a Day using this White Bread Master Recipe. You can watch me make this in the Breakfast Basics episode (Season 2, episode 2) of Zoë Bakes on Magnolia Network!


This episode is now streaming on Magnolia Network on discovery+ and will be released on cable later this year.

Cinnamon Star Bread

Cinnamon Star Bread

This cinnamon star bread looks complicated and fancy, so you'll be surprised at just how simple it is to make!
4.91 from 31 votes


Enriched Dough

  • 7 1/2 cups (1,065 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (10 grams) yeast
  • 1 tbsp (17 grams) kosher salt
  • 3 cups (680 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup oil

Star Bread filling and finish*

  • 2 lbs enriched dough
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • Soft butter for brushing


Enriched Dough

  • Mix the flour, granulated sugar, yeast, salt, water, and oil in a 6-quart lidded container or a 5-quart stand mixer. Allow the dough to double in size, about 2 hours.

Shape Star Bread

  • Divide 2 pounds of the enriched dough into four 1/2-pound pieces. Store the rest of the dough in the refrigerator for another use. Roll the pieces into balls, and let rest for 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined. In another bowl, prepare the egg wash by beating the egg with a tablespoon of water.
  • With a rolling pin, roll out the dough balls into 12-inch circles. Place one of the circles on a piece of parchment paper. Brush with some of the egg wash using a pastry brush, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  • Place another circle on top of the first circle, and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with another 1/3 of cinnamon-sugar filling. Repeat with one more circle, then place the final circle on top.
  • Place a small bowl or biscuit cutter, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, in the center of the circle, and then use a bench scraper to cut the circle into 16 equal strips, cutting through all the layers.
  • Once you’ve cut all of the strips, remove the biscuit cutter and add a final layer of egg wash to the top to create a nice golden-brown crust.
  • Take two pieces of dough and twist them away from each other twice. Pinch the ends of the pairs of strips firmly together. Repeat around the whole circle to create the star (you should end up with 8 points).
  • Transfer the star on the parchment to a baking sheet. Cover the star gently with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour, until a bit puffy. During this time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with soft butter using a pastry brush. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rate and Review!

  • If you've made this recipe, please leave a rating and review! I love to hear how you've adapted my recipes to your own tastes, so please share how it went for you. It helps other people find my recipes. Thank you!


*Link to my Cranberry Raspberry or Pesto Filling Recipes!
Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Sweet and Decadent Baking for Every Occasion” by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg © St. Martin’s Press 2018. Provided courtesy of Zoë François. All rights reserved.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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53 thoughts to “Cinnamon Star Bread”

    1. Hi Toby, Zoë doesn’t love using gluten-free flours for breads, but pretty much anything else can be swapped for King Arthur Measure for Measure. S he suggests using a recipe designed to be gluten-free because bread is a different beast. I hope this helps!

  1. I noticed that step 8 said to preheat the oven but no mention of preheating a cookie sheet / baking stone like she did in the video, do you need to preheat a stone but not a cookie sheet?

    1. Hi Molly, that’s right! You would only need to preheat the stone but not a baking sheet. Cheers!

    1. Hi Cait, you can use a neutral oil that stays liquid, like vegetable oil, safflower oil, etc. Even olive oil works if you like the taste. Just avoid coconut oil since it behaves more like butter.

    1. Hi Cindy, if you completely replace the AP flour with whole wheat it will end up quite dry. Zoë suggests substituting 1/4 of the flour with whole wheat because if you replace more than that you will likely need to make other adjustments. If you do try it, please come back and let us know how it went!

  2. 5 stars
    I need to make this in advance for a Sunday brunch but will not have time to make it Saturday or Sunday morning. Can I bake it and then freeze it, thawing it out in time on Sunday?

    1. Hi Verena! This is best freshly baked, but you can assemble (up to the point of baking), cover and refrigerate the day before and then bake the next day. I hope this helps!

  3. 5 stars
    What a lovely treat, we will make this star bread again! I only used 3/4 of the dough and let my kids have 1/4 to fiddle with and make their own creation. It turned out great, even though I forgot to let it rise the last time after I had cut and twisted the dough. Still turned out great!

  4. Can you put this together the day before it is needed, leaving it unbaked in the refrigerator? In the morning, pull it out and bake it? If so, how would the instructions differ?

    1. Yes you can! Cover and refrigerate and then in the morning let it come close to room temperature on the counter before baking. It will likely take 45+ minutes. This will ensure it still has a lighter texture. Enjoy!

    2. 5 stars
      I made this for Christmas morning and it turned out fantastic. I did put it together the night before and placed it in the refrigerator overnight and baked it the next morning. The sugar mixture did weep and I soaked that up with papertowels prior to baking. This was a great alternative to cinnamon rolls (which I traditionally bake every Christmas). It was lower in sugar and less goopey sweet than my cinnamon roll recipe. It was a huge hit for our Christmas morning brunch! Thank you!!!

  5. 5 stars
    In her Star Bread video Zoe lists 8T unsalted butter melted, but in the recipe above she listed 1/4 C oil. Which is it? Also, please clarify the # of cups of water. Thank you.

      1. 5 stars
        It is her Cranberry Raspberry Star Bread on YouTube sponsored by Platinum Yeast. Thank you for your quick response.

  6. I notice the recipe calls for oil but it doesn’t look like Zoe adds it in her show in Season 2. Can the oil be left out and still turn out fine? I’m new to the bread making world. 🙂

    1. Hi Tammy, if you leave out the oil the dough will probably be too tough. You could substitute with melted butter if you prefer. Hope this helps!

  7. 4 stars
    I have made it twice and it looks and tastes beautiful! I did notice that while rising, after shaping, the brown sugar liquifies and seeps all over parchment. Am I doing something wrong?

    Thank you!! Mary

    1. Hi Mary,

      You are not doing anything wrong. Sugar melts and it happens. You can also use other fillings that don’t melt like cream cheese and jam or almond cream. So glad you enjoy the recipe!

  8. Tried the star bread recipe. Was not as nice as Zoe’s but it was delicious! Maybe next time I make it will look as good as Zoe’s ☺️

  9. Hi. Can you tell me what else does Zoe use this dough for? Thank you and I hope this show goes on forever!

      1. Hi Stephani, I have the Holiday Bread book and from the ingredients, I see that this bread is using the white bread master recipe, but the book says that 1/3 cup sugar is 85 grams as opposed to 67 grams listed here. I’d love to know which one is correct. Thanks in advance!

        1. Hi Gretchen! Either one will work. People have used both and had success with both! It is a difference in style for different publishers for weight of ingredients. Enjoy!

  10. 5 stars
    I made the star bread with almond and raspberry jam. GREAT.
    I froze the other half of dough. Now how do I use it?
    Defrost in fridge….then what?

  11. 3 stars
    Is this recipe, Star Bread, on air or a video?
    I would love to try this recipe but the technique is slightly confusing to me.

    1. Hi Yvette, yes Zoë demonstrates the technique in Zoe Bakes season 2 episode 2, Breakfast Basics. You can also see it demonstrated here. Cheers!

  12. Good morning
    I enjoy watching “ Zoe Bakes” on Sunday.
    This recipe looks wonderful
    I’d like to make this star bread, but only make enough dough for the actual bread, not to have left over. Is there a recipe for a single bread recipe? Thank you very much

    1. Hi Sarki! It won’t be exactly the same size, but you could halve the recipe for the enriched dough to make just 1 star bread. Enjoy!

  13. Zoe’s recipes often call for kosher salt. Can you provide the brand she uses? Diamond Crystal and Morton’s aren’t interchangeable. Thanks for your help,

      1. Thanks! I am about to try a couple recipes from Zoë Bakes Cakes and this information is really helpful.

        1. Yes, it will work! If you’re measuring it in grams you can use the same amount as the recipe calls for. But if you’re using a measuring spoon you should add a bit more Diamond Crystal. I hope that helps!

  14. Can you clarify the amount of water needed in this recipe? The recipe calls for 3 cups (380 grams). This is confusing, three cups of water would be about 700 grams.

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you for catching this. You are correct. It should be 680 grams, not 380. I have updated the recipe to reflect this!

  15. Can you kindly tell me how long this dough will last in the refrigerator, and if I want to make just one Star Bread, do I cut the recipe in half?

    1. Hi Pat! Enriched dough lasts in the fridge for about 5 days and can be stored in 1 lb portions in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. It won’t be exactly the same size as Zoë’s, but you could halve the enriched dough to make just 1 star bread. Happy baking!

        1. Hi Michele, because the enriched dough recipe isn’t exactly four lbs of dough and 2 lbs is what this recipe calls for. I hope this helps!

          1. Hi Jenna, sugar and butter melt, so it’s just the nature of this type of recipe. It’s similar to cinnamon rolls, which have that layer of melted sugar/butter at the bottom of the pan when you take them out. If you’d like to try something else, Zoë said anything you might put in a danish is likely a great fit for this recipe. Cream cheese and jam, nutella, almond cream and jam are all good filling options here. Enjoy!

        1. Hi Deana, As it sits, the sugar starts to dissolve and you’ll have weeping. So, you can do it, but the filling won’t be it’s best that way. Happy baking!

        1. Hi Linda, after you mix the enriched dough and it sits on the counter for about two hours, that is when you can refrigerate for later use. Just be sure to use it up within 5 days.

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