Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread

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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.

Sourdough Jam-Filled Star Bread

A pastry like bread that is full of flavor and texture and looks incredible! Serving amount depends on how big or small the slices are cut.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: bread, Christmas, sourdough
Author: Jenny Prior

Equipment

  • 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

Ingredients

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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.
I made this bread for a class, and had one fully proofed that was shaped about 2 hours before class (left side) and one shaped in class (right side) to show students the side by side for them to fully understand what to look for:
  • 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.
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