Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread is a stunning bread that is also delicious! It always attracts attention on the serving table.
This post will share the recipe (of course), helpful tips to avoid annoying mistakes, time planning, and how sourdough makes it different than other versions.
What is Star Bread?
Star bread is made with an enriched dough. It can be filled with savory or sweet fillings and is made with 4 layers of dough.
It takes some time to put the layers together but is not difficult to make if you follow the steps.
This bread is popular because it is visually stunning! It can be used for different occasions but it is most often made for winter and Christmas celebrations
Benefits and Differences of Sourdough in Jam-Filled Star Bread
Pretty much all the breads I make and enjoy with my family are made with sourdough. Sourdough makes breads more digestible to people with gluten sensitivity. It also creates incredible flavor!
There are some major differences you will see between this sourdough jam-filled star bread and one that is made with conventional yeast. The biggest difference is the timing. The timing with sourdough is about 3 times longer. And due to the shorter fermentation, recipes without sourdough add more sugar and sometimes butter/fat to create more flavor in the shorter timeframe.
Here are the sourdough benefits listed for you:
- Sourdough breaks down the gluten proteins into smaller pieces during the long fermentation which means less stomach and digestive irritation. Learn more about sourdough here or get my free sourdough quick start guide.
- Sourdough breads begin with a starter or levain which is a mixture of flour, water, and sourdough starter that ferments for 6-12 hours on average to develop an incredible intense flavor that enhances every ingredient in the bread!
- Because sourdough breads ferment for a long time, flavor naturally develops as carbohydrates in the bread are broken down into simpler sugars. This means that less sugar is used in the dough formula.
- Sourdough timelines are more forgiving than conventional yeast timelines. Breads made with conventional yeast can overproof if a timeline is missed; which happens easily due to the high amount of yeast organisms and sugar that are added to the dough.
How do you plan your bake?
Sourdough bread making, especially recipes like these requires special planning.
For your planning:
- 8-14 hours for starter preparation
- 4-7 hours bulk fermentation
- 2-5 hours proofing
Prepare the starter the night before*, then if you make the dough in the morning the next day, you can have Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread ready by evening!
However, I know many people like to enjoy treats like this one for breakfast or brunch so here is a timing using a Christmas morning as an example. If you’re making this for another occasion, just replace Christmas with your occasion’s date or name:
- December 23rd (Christmas Adam) evening : Prepare the starter and leave at room temp.
- Christmas Eve morning: Prepare the dough, cover, and leave at room temp to double in volume.
- Christmas Eve afternoon/early evening: Divide and shape the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temp to proof for 2-4 hours (a little shorter than the full allotment due to proofing slowly continuing in fridge and the continued proofing the next morning). Then, put the covered bread into the fridge for overnight.
- Early Christmas Morning (about 30-60 minutes before oven preheating): Take Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
- Christmas Morning: Preheat oven and bake the bread, after it cools enough you can top as you’d like!
This bread dough is very forgiving and rises beautifully and more quickly than some sourdough sweet breads.
Here’s a graphic image you can print out or share to use for reference:
7 important things to know when making Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread
- This recipe uses a 100% hydration starter. This style of starter is familiar to most sourdough bakers making it easier to attempt this recipe.
- The shaping process isn’t difficult but does take some time. Plan your time accordingly so that you can complete the shaping without stress or too much disruption.
- Jam is a wet ingredient and whenever there’s a wet ingredient coming into contact with raw dough, especially over long fermentation, there can be some moisture absorption. We want to mitigate this issue as much as possible so our dough doesn’t get soggy. So the egg white wash on each layer before adding the jam will create a moisture barrier.
- Important: Because we are using an egg white wash with our dough layers and filling, you want to take precautions for food safety. For the jam filling, measure out the amount you need into a separate bowl that can be washed when you’re done. That way the rest of the jar remains safe from contamination.
- Jam type will impact the flavor. For a sweeter flavor, go with strawberry jam. If you like sweet and tart, use raspberry jam. I love mixed berry since it adds more complexity.
- Toppings for this bread can be adjusted to your preferences. A simple dusting of powdered sugar is a nice touch that will showcase the beautiful shaping and layers. A simple glaze icing adds more flavor and moisture–this glaze can be tart with lemon zest or make it sweet with vanilla extract in place of lemon zest. I love chopped pistachios on top of the icing as a finishing touch for the texture they add and flavor!
- You can make other star bread variations with different fillings. See the next section for inspiration!
See this short video for an example of star bread shaping:
Star Bread Filling Variations
Here are a few more ideas of how you can use different filling variations:
- Cinnamon sugar filling–see my Sourdough Cinnamon Twist Wreath Bread for filling recipe
- Cheese and bacon or cheese and herbs. Vary the cheese and herbs for more variation! Combine cheddar and chives for a sharp savory treat or Italian cheese and rosemary for a complex mellow savory flavor.
- Chocolate filling made with 100g softened butter, 2-3 T. cocoa powder, 50g sugar mixed into a thick, spreadable filling.
- Chai Spice filling featured in my Chai-Spice Star Bread recipe in Celebrate with Bread Baking
Share your bake with me
If you’re getting ready for Good Friday and Easter and want to bake alongside your sourdough besties, use the share button to make sure they have this recipe.
After you try it, send me a note, leave a review comment, or tag me on facebook or instagram @livingbreadbaker
I enjoy seeing how you share this bread for the holiday with your family and friends. I’m glad I can be a part of your special holiday in some small way.
Need more help?
I’d love to support you with my books or online courses.
Along with my Once-a-Week No Knead Sourdough online course, I also have a Intro. To Sourdough online course if you are ready to gain a solid foundation for sourdough, the traditional way, to learn all the basics, language, techniques, and the process from start to finish to make sourdough bread.
The foundations of Intro. to Sourdough will help you to branch out to special occasion recipes like this one because you become familiar with sourdough starter care, sourdough timelines, and the general process and steps.
Or check out more Easter recipes here.
I love the way star bread looks. It is so beautiful and the shaping process is so satisfying as this shape comes together. It is also delicious!
I made a few versions in my books, Everyday Bread Baking and Celebrate with Bread Baking. This Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread is a combination of the simpler dough recipe from Celebrate with Bread Baking and the easy jam filling method from Everyday Bread Baking.
I used raspberry jam to fill mine, but any thick jam would work. I love the tartness of berries contrasted with the sweet vanilla glaze, if you choose to add that on top.
This bread is still delicious, even the next day from the moist layers of jam. It reminds me of a danish pastry.
Living Bread Baker posts mentioned
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Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread
- Food Scale
- Saucepan or Small Pot
- Rolling Pin
- Rolling Pizza Cutter or Large Knife
- Flat Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Small circle biscuit cutter
- Pastry brush
For the starter
- 15 g sourdough starter
- 100 g water
- 100 g all-purpose flour
For the dough
- 180 g warm milk, divided
- 15 g white cane sugar (or honey)
- 200 g active, prepared starter
- 28 g Unsalted Butter, softened
- 380 g Bread flour (all-purpose is okay)
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 g salt
For the filling
- 1 egg white, whisked
- 160 g berry jam
- zest of one lemon optional
For the topping (optional)
- 60 g Powdered Sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 30-40 g finely chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds, or pecans)
- Make the starter: 6 to 12 hours before mixing your dough, mix ingredients for starter in a bowl. Cover and let activate. It will double in volume and become full of bubbles.
- Warm milk: Measure out at least 180 grams of milk into a saucepan (some will evaporate while it is heated). Heat milk over medium heat until you begin to see steam rising off it or reaches a temperature of 115 to 120º F.
- Scale: Add 180 grams of the warm milk to the mixing bowl. Add the sugar, and 200 grams starter. Allow the sugar to dissolve. (Remember to use the scale’s tare function to remove the weight of the bowl and previous ingredients to only weigh the current item added) Add the softened butter and flour.
- Mix: Mix ingredients until a shaggy dough is formed, then add egg yolk and salt. Continue mixing dough using the spoon and a dough scraper to scrape the sides of the bowl. (Mixing and kneading steps can be done in a stand mixer with a dough hook if available.)
- Knead: Knead dough 10-15 minutes (shorter with a stand mixer) or until dough is smooth, no longer sticky, and releases easily from the bowl or work surface.
- Bulk fermentation: Cover the dough and allow to ferment until doubled in volume, about 4 to 7 hours.
- Prepare filling of choice: For fruit jam filling, make sure jam is spreadable and doesn’t have any large pieces of fruit. Puree or blend, if needed. Mix jam with lemon zest. Set aside until ready to use. In a second bowl, whisk egg white until frothy to wash on dough before filling with jam to help prevent layers from becoming soggy. For pistachio spice filling, finely chop pistachios into a sand-like consistency. Add ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir until it becomes a smooth, creamy mixture. Set aside until ready to use.
- Divide dough: Flour a work surface, divide dough into four equal pieces. Roll each quarter into a rough ball.
- Prepare baking dish: Get out a large baking sheet and a large piece parchment paper. Place parchment paper on top of baking sheet.
- Rolling and filling layers of dough: Place one quarter of dough onto the work surface, if dough is sticking, lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll dough out until it becomes a 12-inch circle (it’s ok if the circle is not perfect or more square-like—created an even size is what is important). Pick up rolled out dough and place on parchment paper. Take chai spice filling mixture and spread one third of the mixture over the dough, leave 1 inch margin around the edges. Take the second quarter of dough and roll out until it is the same size as the first piece of dough (12-inch circle). Pick up rolled dough and carefully place over the first piece of dough and press edges to seal to the uncovered edge of dough below it. Spread the next third of filling over the dough, reserving the 1-inch margin around the edges. Repeat this with the third piece of dough and the final third of filling. Once the filling is gone, the final quarter of dough is rolled out to the same size and placed on top of the three layers, seal edges together.Here are step-by-step photos of the rolling and filling layers of dough process found in my book, Everyday Bread Baking. It's nice to have the book on hand for the step-by-step photos like these ones.
- Shaping: Take a 2- to 3-inch diameter circular biscuit cutter and place in the center of the top circle—do not cut or press it down, this is only used as a guide to make the cuts around the edges of dough. Use a sharp knife to cut lines equally spaced radiating out of the edge of the cutter. Cut fourths first then divide each fourth into four smaller sections until 16 cuts are made around the diameter. Pick up two pieces of dough and twist away from each other two times and press edges of dough together into a point. Pick up the next two pieces next to the twisted pair and repeat. Continue moving around the dough twisting pairs of dough until your dough has formed an 8-point star shape. Remove circular biscuit cutter. Here are step-by-step photos of the shaping process found in my book, Everyday Bread Baking.
- Proof: Cover and proof in a warm place 1.5 to 3 hours until layers are puffy.
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 365º F.
- Bake: Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and filling is bubbling.
- Cool: Let the star bread cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Topping (optional): If topping with a drizzle, make sure bread is completely cool. Whisk together sifted powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract to form an icing to drizzle. Drizzle vanilla icing over the star bread. Top with chopped pistachios.
- Serve: Cut into wedges to serve.
- The shaping process isn’t as complicated as it seems, but it does take time to complete all the steps.
- When using a jam filling, instead of the butter/sugar/nut filling shown in the photos above, there's a simple trick while filling that keeps the moisture of the jam from making the dough overly soggy--egg white wash! See the shaping process in fast motion in the video at the bottom of this post. Each layer of dough is first brushed with an egg white wash before spreading on the jam.
- There are several ways to top the star bread. The simplest way is a dusting of powdered sugar after it has cooled (if the bread is still hot and steamy it will absorb the powdered sugar). But I also love making a vanilla glaze and adding chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds for more texture.