Cinnamon Babka Star Bread

Recipe by Yani Li


For the dough,
  • all-purpose flour 3 1/4 cups
  • granulated sugar 1/4 cup
  • instant yeast 2 1/4 teaspoon (or a packet of)
  • salt 2 teaspoons
  • whole milk 1 cup
  • unsalted butter 1/4 cup
  • egg 1
  • vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
  • For the filling,
  • brown sugar 1/2 cup
  • cinnamon 1 tablespoon
  • egg, lightly beaten 1
  • Directions

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
    2. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and the butter until lukewarm. 
    3. Add the warm milk and butter to the flour mixture and beat until combined. Then, mix in the egg and the vanilla extract until well-combined.
    4. Using the dough hook on the stand mixer, gradually add in the remaining flour. Continue to mix on medium speed until all of the flour is incorporated and a sticky dough forms. If the dough remains too wet, add flour 1 tablespoon until it forms a mass. 
    5. Grease a large bowl in cooking spray or butter and place dough in the bowl. Roll the dough around in the bowl so that all sides are coated as well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size (around 1 hour).
    6. Line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper. 
    7. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Cover and allow the dough balls to rest for 15 minutes.
    8. On a floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle. Place the circle on a piece of parchment, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface, then evenly sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar, leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the circumference of the circle.
    9. Roll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process of egg, cinnamon sugar, and then dough circle two more times until the fourth circle is placed on top – which should be left bare. 
    10. Place any 3″ round guide in the center of the dough circle. You can use a cup opening or a cookie cutter. With a sharp knife, cut from the guide to the edge of the circle through all the layers to form 12 strips.
    11. Pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Pinch the edges of the strip together. Repeat with the remaining strips so that you end up with six pairs of twisted strips. You should now have a star-like shape with six points. 
    12. Remove the circle guide in the center. Transfer the star onto the baking sheet. Cover the star and let rise for another 45 minutes.
    13. While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F. 
    14. Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s nicely golden. 
    15. Let cool before serving.