This Cinnamon Pull-Apart Star Bread might look fancy, but it’s actually quite easy to shape. I love that you can see the layers and layers of cinnamon sugar in between the bread. It totally reminds me of the infamous cinnamon rolls from the mall!
Tang Zhong Method is a natural way to make soft and fluffy bread (making a roux). Best of all, the bread will stay soft even after a few days.
Ingredients for the TangZhong:
¾ cup water
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Ingredients for the Bread Dough:
3 oz lukewarm whole milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for the Egg Wash:
1 large egg
2 teaspoons milk
Ingredients for the Cinnamon Sugar:
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
No nutrition information available
To Prepare The TangZhong:
In a small saucepan, whisk water and flour until no big lumps. Heat mixture over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spatula. When mixture turns into a soft/wet dough consistency and translucent, and reached 65°C (149 °F), remove from heat and let cool completely.
To Prepare the Egg Wash:
In a small bowl, whisk both ingredients until well combined.
To Prepare the Cinnamon Sugar:
In a small bowl, whisk together both ingredients until well combined.
To Prepare the Bread Dough:
Add the yeast into the warm milk along with 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir well and set aside for 5 minutes to let it proof. The mixture should be bubbly and smells yeasty. If not, your yeast might not be alive and you will need fresh ones.
In the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the cooled TangZhong, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, kosher salt, vanilla, the yeast mixture and 2 cups of bread flour; knead for 5 minutes. (Please read manufacturer’s instruction for dough hook. My machine kneads at speed number 2.)
The dough should pull off the sides of the bowl, if it’s too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Next, add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time.
I usually alternate by adding a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of the remaining flour. Until the dough is shiny and pulls off the sides of the bowl. Depending on the humidity and moisture in your ingredients. You might need an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
Let the stand mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes is up, turn off mixer and take a small piece of dough and test the elasticity. When pull the dough between fingers, it should be soft, yet strong, elastic, and translucent.
When dough is ready, knead it a few times to form a ball. Take the dough out from the mixing bowl. Grease the bowl with a little non-stick spray, move the dough around in the greased bowl to moisten both top and bottom of the dough. Place the dough ball back into the bowl, seam side down. Cover the mixing bowl with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
When the dough doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and gently knead the dough a few times to release the gas. Place a piece of plastic wrap on a kitchen digital scale and weight the dough. Do a little math and divide the total weight by 4.
With a pastry cutter, roughly divide the dough in 4 equal parts. Weigh each one to make sure they are divided evenly. Then, fold the edges of each portioned dough downwards to form a tight ball. Place them seam sides down back into the mixing bowl. Cover with the plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 portion of dough into a 10-inch circle. Place the circle on the prepared baking sheet and brush a thin coat of egg wash on the surface. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the cinnamon-sugar (about 2½ tablespoons), leaving a ¼-inch border.
Roll out the 2nd circle the same size and place on top of the filled dough. Repeat the process with egg wash and cinnamon sugar, leaving the top dough surface without egg wash or cinnamon sugar.
Place a 2-inch round cookie cutter in the center of the dough. With a sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge of the dough. Make sure to cut through all the layers.
Using both hands, pick up 2 adjacent strips and twist the away from each other twice so that the top is facing up again. Pinch the pairs of strips together at the edges to create a pointy corner for the star shape. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough.
Cover the star loosely with w plastic wrap, then cover with a clean kitchen towel to avoid the dough getting dry. Place in a warm place to proof for another 45 minutes.
While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Brush the star with the remaining egg wash. Bake for 22 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Slightly cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.
Amy’s Note: If you have leftover bread, wrap it up tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. It stays fresh for several days. To reheat the bread for serving, unwrap and place it on a baking pan, loosely tent with a foil and place in a preheated 350 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Or a quick 20 seconds with 1 strip of bread in the microwave.