A naturally leavened holiday classic, this sourdough star bread is simply filled with butter and cinnamon sugar, but the possibilities are endless. It's surprisingly simple to make, with just layering and twisting!

If you can make cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, or anything that's rolled out, you can make star bread! It doesn't need braiding, just cutting and twisting, so nothing complicated.

Our sourdough version features a butter and cinnamon sugar filling, so it's a bit like a giant, special cinnamon roll. It's the perfect pull-apart bread to make for the holidays.

Top down view of sourdough star bread, topped with icing sugar.
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Sourdough star bread ingredients.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Filling: change up the fillings to suit your preference (see below for ideas).
  • All-purpose flour: if you're not very confident with sourdough, you can use up to 50% bread flour. That being said, this dough is extremely easy to work with and feels just like a sweet yeast dough.
  • Make it dairy-free: use a good vegan butter and milk for a dairy-free version.
  • Topping: adding icing sugar is optional, just festive. Leave it off if you don't like it.


Sweet sourdough dough steps 1 to 4, mixing and stretching the dough.

Step 1: heat the milk, then mix with the butter and sugar. Cool to just warm, then add the starter and beat in the egg. Mix in the dry ingredients.

Step 2: stretch and fold the dough three times.

Step 3: the dough should be soft, not too sticky, and easy to shape into a ball.

Step 4: cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in size.

Star bread steps 5 to 8, layering, cutting, and baking the bread.

Step 5: divide the dough into four pieces, then roll each into a large round and place onto a baking sheet. Brush each layer with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Step 6: once the layers are finished, cut into 16 strips and twist in pairs.

Step 7: cover for 30 minutes, then brush with an egg wash.

Step 8: bake until a dark golden, covering the outer edges if needed.

Top Tips

  • Don't worry about perfect circles: you can cut around the edges of the dough to create a more perfect circle, but it's extra work for no reason. After twisting and sealing, you don't notice whether it was fully round or not.
  • Use a sharp knife: use a very sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the strips in the dough. A dull knife will rip the dough rather than go through the layers smoothly.
  • Don't overfill: don't overfill the layers. A tablespoon or two of filling, thinly spread, is plenty. Too much and you'll just have a messy star bread.

Recipe Notes

The dough only rests for half an hour, instead of a longer second ferment period, because if it's left to rise for too long then it loses the nice shape while baking. 30 minutes is ideal for both best texture and appearance.

If you're unfamiliar with the term, see our post on how to stretch and fold sourdough.

Make sure to twist the pieces away from each other, not toward. When twisting toward each other, you end up with pieces of dough that stick up and burn during baking.

More Filling Ideas

  • Finely chopped chocolate
  • Nutella or another sweet spread (like sweet macadamia nut butter)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly or jam
  • For a savoury version, use a salty cheese and add garlic
  • Sweetened cream cheese (combine with jam!)
  • Lemon or orange curd


How do you roll bread dough into a circle?

Start by shaping your dough pieces into rounds with your hands. Roll with a rolling pin, turning the dough 90° each time you go over it. If your circle isn't exactly even, stretch it lightly with your hands where needed.

How do you make cinnamon sugar?

While you can add more, we like to use about a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon for a quarter cup of granulated sugar. Cinnamon has varying strengths but that's a good starting point and you can always add more.

Why do I need a scale for sourdough recipes?

We don't provide cup measurements for sourdough recipes because they need to be exact to turn out properly. If you want to bake a lot - not only sourdough, but generally - a small battery powered scale will make your results much more consistent.

If you make this Sourdough Snowflake Bread recipe or any other sourdough bread recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Top-down view of a loaf of star bread or snowflake bread topped with icing sugar.
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5 from 28 votes

Sourdough Star Bread

A naturally leavened holiday classic, this sourdough star bread is simply filled with butter and cinnamon sugar, but the possibilities are endless.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Rising Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 10


  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Tea towel
  • Parchment paper
  • baking sheet
  • Small dish
  • Knife
  • pastry brush
  • Digital kitchen scale


  • 180 grams whole milk
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 60 grams butter room temperature
  • 100 grams active starter 100% hydration
  • 1 large egg room temperature, plus more for wash
  • 450 grams all-purpose white flour
  • 5 grams sea salt


  • 50 grams butter melted
  • 90 grams sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan until just simmering.
  • Add the sugar and butter to a large mixing bowl, and pour the hot milk over top. Stir until the butter has melted.
  • Check the temperature with your finger. If the mixture feels hot, let it cool until it feels just warm to touch.
  • Add the starter and whisk to combine. Whisk in the egg.
  • Add the flour and salt, then stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Do three rounds of stretches and folds, once every 20 minutes, over the course of an hour. The dough should be very smooth and easily form a ball when finished.
  • Cover the dough tightly with a tea towel and a plate and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, either continue with the next steps, or refrigerate up to 10 hours.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 4 equal pieces.
  • Tuck the edges under each piece to form balls (they don't need to be perfect).
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter for the filling and mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
  • Place a ball onto a floured surface and roll into a circle, about 25cm (10 in.) in diameter.
  • Place the circle onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Top with a third (30 gram or 2 tablespoons) of the cinnamon sugar in an even layer.
  • Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, adding butter and sugar between each layer. Don't top the final piece with butter.
  • Once the layers are finished, gently press a small dish into the centre of the dough circle (about 6cm / 2 in. is ideal).
  • Cut 16 equal strips of dough, only cutting to the edge of the circle imprint in the middle of the dough. Start by making quarters to make it easier to see the sizing.
  • Take two strips of dough and twist them away from one another, doing two twists, then tucking and sealing the ends under themselves. Repeat until all of the strips of dough have been twisted.
  • Cover the bread and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Brush the top and sides of the bread with egg wash, and then bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a dark golden colour.
  • Cool before dusting with icing sugar (optional) and serving. Leftovers are good for a day or two, stored in an airtight container.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 310mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g


  1. 5 stars
    I made mine with unfed starter from the fridge, and let it rise overnight. It turned out perfectly! Mine took a good 20 minutes longer to bake than the instructions suggested. I baked it on a pizza stone, so perhaps that contributed to the longer cooking time, but it also gave it a really nice crisp bottom! I wouldn't change a thing!

  2. 5 stars
    At 350 i had to bake this for 55 minutes for it to not be raw in the middle. Does that seem right? Most sourdough that i make bakes much hotter than 350 but with this being a sweet bread i know things are a bit different. Any tips on this?

    1. Hi Jennifer, it sounds to me as if there was a lot of filling, or the dough was rather thicker in the middle. You're right, because this is a sweet bread, it's baked at the lower temperature as it's not a typical sourdough boule. I would suggest keeping the filling to a minimum and make sure it's not gathering more in the centre of the bread, maybe check your oven temp (so many run cold these days) and baking on the centre rack. Hope this helps!

  3. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe!! I’ve made it twice already! My only addition would be to cover with plastic wrap while waiting to doble in size. My first time I only used the tea towel and the top was dry, I had to remove the top “shell” that it formed, second time I made it and covered it with plastic wrap and the tea towel and it stayed moist! Amazing flavor and consistency!

    1. Hi Logan, when I've made it with a garlic butter filling, I reduced the sugar to 15 grams. The bread texture is a little different but it works well.

  4. Anything to replace the egg to make it vegan?! Heading to a holiday party tomorrow with vegan guests and would love to bring this.

    1. Hi Adrienne, we haven't tried making this recipe vegan. I would suggest making the dough for my vegan cardamom buns (use white flour) but follow the shaping instructions for the star bread and fill with the cinnamon sugar as instructed. You won't need a second proof before baking, just shape and bake right away.

  5. If I make it ahead of time and fully bake it, then freeze, how would you recommend reheating to serve? Oven temp/time from frozen or after thawing. I'm hoping to make this at home and travel with it to serve to my family on Christmas morning 🙂

    1. Hi Emily, we recommend thawing it (well-wrapped) at room temperature overnight, then popping it in the oven before serving just to warm through, 5-10 minutes at 350. If you sprinkle just a bit of water over the top before heating - flick it on with your hands - it will make it feel fresh baked again.

    1. Hi Erin, we don't recommend using cups for this recipe. You can convert the amounts online but the bread won't turn out as it should if you use volume measurements rather than the weights specified.

  6. I tired your recipe and loved it! I was wondering if I could make mini stars to gift to people? Any recommendations for mini stars?

    1. I'm so glad! Mini stars is such a great idea, how fun. I would suggest doing four stars, so divide the dough into 16 small balls and then do the same rolling/stacking technique. Since I haven't tested, I'm not sure exactly what baking times would be (proving times will be the same). Probably 15 minutes and look for the golden colour. I'm going to try some over the holidays too!

  7. I have started this too late to let it double in size before refrigeration step, advice needed if I fridge it early and then let sit out longer before continuing step 8? I am worried if I leave it out too long it will over prove.

    1. Hi Sam, you can refrigerate it early, and then take it out again when you're ready to let it rise if needed. It may rise a little more in the fridge (depending on starter activity, fridge temperature, etc.) but if needed I would recommend chilling it now and then letting it rise again at room temp if it hasn't proved enough. It does take a long time to warm up enough again to start rising after being chilled, so keep that in mind.

      1. Hi there. I want to make this recipe to have it ready for breakfast at like 8-8:30am. If I make the dough, let it rise, and put it in the fridge, does it have to come to room temp in the morning before I shape it? Or can I shape it while it’s cold? Can’t wait to make it. Thank you!

        1. Hi Ellie, I think it would be better to assemble the bread and then refrigerate that, well covered, overnight. I think someone else in the comments tried this and they had success.

          1. Thanks for the reply! I was referring to the part in the instructions where you can shape the star or refrigerate the dough for 10 hours. Instead of that, you recommend shaping the star, then refrigerating it overnight? Thanks!

          2. Hi Ellie, you can refrigerate the dough, but I think if you want to bake it for breakfast, you'd be better off shaping it and then refrigerating overnight (just in terms of time for the morning). But you can chill and then shape and bake in the morning - you'd just have to have a pretty early start to have it ready for 8:00.

    1. Hi Charis, did you try forming it ahead of time and then pulling out for a period then baking? I’m trying to decide if this is a route I could take Christmas morning instead of forming the Star the day of (while the kiddos are running around waiting an hour for me to make breakfast).

    1. You can, but it will take quite a lot of time to come back to room temp and be ready to bake due to the high butter content.

  8. Made this and love it! I’m going to put brown sugar instead of cinnamon sugar next time for something different, but I loved it!

  9. I have followed the recipe to a T and so far my dough seems pretty dense to do the stretch and folds. 🤔 it’s not that wet dough that is pictured.

    1. Hi Amanda, as you can see in the step-by-step pictures, this isn't a wet dough. It's fairly stiff due to the high fat content. Should be fine, just make sure to prove it long enough!

      1. How long should it take to double? I let it sit covered overnight and it hasn't doubled. I'm not sure what I did wrong?

        1. Hi Mary, could be down to a number of factors – starter not old enough, starter not active enough, or too cold an ambient temperature are the most common issues. If it has risen but just not doubled, that's probably down to being too cold and you just need to give it a little more time. (If it's almost doubled, that's fine, continue to the next step.)

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