Cheese and Herb Star Bread

By Posie (Harwood) Brien
December 1, 2015
78 Comments


Author Notes: This Swedish-style star bread is a stunning take on a pull-apart bread. It's easy to share and filled with a gooey cheese and herb layer.Posie (Harwood) Brien

Makes: one 10" loaf

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3/4 cup
    3 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup potato flour

For the filling

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Add all of the dough ingredients to a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix to incorporate and then knead until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough is almost doubled in size.
  3. When the dough is ready, divide it into four equal pieces.
  4. Roll each piece of dough out into a 10" round.
  5. Place the first circle of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the surface lightly with the beaten egg, leaving 1" space without egg around the edge.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix the dried herbs, salt, and garlic powder with the softened butter to form a well-mixed paste.
  7. Spread 1/3 of the herbed butter in a thin layer over the egg. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the filling.
  8. Place the second circle of dough on top of the filling. Repeat with the butter and cheese, top with the next circle of dough, repeat with the filling, then top with the final circle of dough.
  9. Trim the edges of the circles if they aren't even. Place a 2" wide drinking glass, biscuit cutter, or other circular object in the center of the top circle of dough.
  10. Using a very sharp knife, cut through the dough from the outer edge to the edge of the circular object in the center. Cut sixteen equal slices.
  11. Take two slices of dough and twist them away from each other twice. Repeat around the entire circle. Take each pair of twisted slices and press the ends together firmly to seal the dough.
  12. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  13. Brush the top of the loaf with beaten egg and bake it for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  14. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|Cheese|Grains|Christmas|Thanksgiving|Breakfast|Snack

Reviews (78) Questions (2)

78 Comments

Änneken December 25, 2017
This was awesome! Having read a lot of the comments below I decided to halve the rosemary. As I didn't want the cheese to overpower the herbs I think I only ended up using 1/3 cup of cheese (in the end though I should have added more rosemary as it was barely discernible). For the garlic I used smoked garlic powder and that added awesome flavor. With regards to the butter: I made sure it was very, very soft. After I brushed the dough with egg I put it outside (Minnesota in December) for a couple of minutes and that helped a lot. The final result: Totally delicious & beautiful!!<br />
 
Author Comment
Posie (. December 28, 2017
Aw, LOVE that you had such great success!
 
Jessica R. December 24, 2017
Thanks Barbara. I decided to bake it and will warm it tomorrow for Christmas dinner. This bread was a huge hit a couple of years ago when I made it!
 
Barbara P. December 23, 2017
I haven't tried storing the bread in the fridge before baking but I don't see why that shouldn't work. Just give it a final rise after taking it out of the fridge before it goes into the hot oven
 
Jessica R. December 23, 2017
After I've assembled the the layers of dough with the egg and herb/butter mixture, can I store it in the refrigerator for 24 hours so I can cook it closer to serving? Or am I better off backing it and letting it cool and then covering it warming it before serving after 24 hours? Thanks!<br />
 
W J. December 22, 2017
Many have commented on the difficulty of spreading the herb-butter mix over an egg washed dough surface. When I made this, I had no difficulty at all. Here is what I did. <br /><br />After the dough was made and had risen for more than an hour, I weighed my dough (528 g) and using a pastry scraper cut it into four equal pieces of 132 grams each. I rolled each portion out 10" circles on a silicone mat (no additional flour needed) using a silicone covered roller. I transferred a disk of dough to a parchment lined baking pan. <br /><br />I added the herbs to the butter, which I first melted. I lightly egg washed a dough layer. Next I spooned on the liquefied butter-herb mixture, which was easily spread with the back of the spoon. I sprinkled on the cheese, and added the next dough layer, etc. This process for each layer is much like assembling a small pizza.<br /><br />After allowing the assembled dough-cheese-herb layers to rise for about 20 minutes at room temperature, I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. This re-solidified the butter layers. Otherwise it would have been messy, if not impossible, to cut and twist in the next step.<br /><br />I then placed my 2 inch glass in the middle and made the cuts straight down with a pastry scraper then dragged the point edge of the scraper through the dough from the center to the edge of the dough disks in order to make sure each cut was clean through. I cut it first into 3rds, then each 3rd in two to form 6ths, and each 6th into 12ths. This gave me six arms for my star, when fully twisted and paired together. Easy peasy.<br /><br />I gently pried up each arm from the parchment, twisted as per the recipe, formed the arms, egg washed the whole thing, and baked the still cool, but not cold, piece at 400°F for 18 minutes. In order to get the center to fully cook, I covered the top with foil to slow browning after about 12-14 minutes.<br /><br />I took pictures of the cutting process and before and after baking, but I see no ready way to share those in this message by attaching them.<br /><br />Wonderful. I used Pecorino Romano as per the recipe, but I believe the next time I make it I will cut back on the rosemary and thyme by half for a more balanced blend of flavors. A little rosemary goes a long way.<br /><br />I used half and half instead of milk in my first attempt at this and ended up having to add 30 g or a wee bit more than an ounce of water to get the dough to form properly.<br /><br />I will make this again soon with different cheeses and less rosemary and thyme. I also plan to make it again using cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar/sucralose instead of cheese and herbs as Ms. Pauly has suggested.<br /><br />I recorded the weights of the ingredients as I assembled the dough and the filling. Weights are a lot easier, quicker, and more accurate than volume measurements:<br /><br />Dough:<br />Milk 132 g (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp)<br />All purpose flour 240 g (2 cups)<br />butter 57 g (1/4 cup)<br />active dry yeast 5 g (2 1/4 tsp)<br />sugar <1 g (1/4 tsp)<br />salt 5 g (1 tsp)<br />potato flour 49 g (1/4 cup)<br /><br />Filling:<br />dried rosemary 4 g (2 tbsp)<br />grated Pecorino Romano 81 g (~3/4 cup)<br />dried thyme 3 g (1 tbsp)<br />garlic powder <1 g (1/4 tsp)<br />butter 114 g (1/2 cup)<br />salt 1 g (1/4 tsp)<br />
 
Barbara P. December 22, 2017
I made this twice, once with green and red pesto instead of the filling suggested in this recipe and once with Nutella/chocolate spread and some chopped nuts as the sweet version. This was delicious too. One could also do a sugar-cinnamon filling so that it resembles cinnamon rolls. It looks hard to assemble, but it is actually super simple to make and is stunning for a party! There are also videos on youtube on how to make it (just look for nutella star bread). I highly recommend trying this recipe.
 
JHunt December 16, 2017
Just made this with my kiddos....super easy and delicious! We did a double batch and made 2 on a sheet pan...it needed 3 extra minutes in the oven because of that. We dipped in marinara, and it was superb! Also, did not egg wash the layers as suggested by other commenters, just the tops.
 
W J. November 30, 2017
The instructions say to cut the bread into 16 pieces and twist in pairs to form an 8 pointed star. But the photo shows a loaf cut into 12 pieces, then twisted to form a 6 pointed star. What am I missing here?<br /><br />Of course, either way would work, as it is just an appearance thing, though the 6 pointed star may take a wee bit longer to bake owing to thicker arms. The 8 pointed version as described in the recipe offers an advantage if one is serving this to a number of guests. It will probably last a few moments longer as people break or cut off the arms giving more people a chance to sample it.
 
Author Comment
Posie (. November 30, 2017
Thanks for pointing that out! You can do either. I prefer more slices and thinner points to the star but you can also just do twelve cuts and 6 points. It won’t affect the method or baking time!
 
Pam K. February 17, 2017
I'm just starting to bake with yeast and have a question about kneading dough in mixer. I mix ingredients together on low "2" but how high should I go when actually kneading the dough?
 
krikri January 17, 2016
Lazy me's version: store-bought pastries (I only used 2). I smooshed garlic, butter, and herbs and smeared it over the egg (not easy, but ok once I resigned myself to it not spreading like it would on bread). Then sprinkled grated cheese (whatever was in the fridge). The fun part was the crafty part - cutting and twisting (note to self: cut in quarters, then cut each quarter in half, then each of those again... Don't ask). Egg wash on top, poppy seeds. Yum.
 
athena January 6, 2016
I have now made this a a couple of times, the last time I used only feta and oregano for the filing, instead of pecorino cheese. Delicious!
 
Maureen M. December 26, 2015
The egg wash made it difficult for me to spread the filling hard for me as well - but it was delicious and everyone liked it!
 
Zsuzsa December 26, 2015
Allie,<br /><br />I had the same issue with the egg wash - it made spreading the filling rather difficult. So after the first layer, I did not do the egg wash under the filling, and it was much easier. I only spread some of the egg wash on top, and that is how I will make it next time. It is a great recipe, thought, everyone loved it.
 
allie.carr December 23, 2015
I made this for a work party and it was snatched up so quickly! Everyone loved it! Has anyone tried it without the egg wash in the middle? I had a hard time spreading the herb butter on top of the egg so it wasn't evenly spread. Thankfully, it didn't affect the flavor at all. Thanks!
 
Violetsnake December 29, 2015
I skipped the egg wash in the middle because it made spreading the butter mixture very difficult. Didn't notice the skip, and used the egg wash on top layer only.
 
Jacquie December 21, 2015
Made it for a Christmas celebration yesterday. It's a lot easier than it sounds. A silicone mat for rolling makes it really easy.
 
Nicole L. December 20, 2015
I made this bread for a Christmas gathering and it was so delicious! I was wondering if you knew how I should adjust the recipe or instructions at high altitude. I would love to make this again next week while I am up in the mountains with family.
 
kathi December 19, 2015
Loved this bread. It was a huge hit at our dinner club Christmas Party. Used fresh herbs. Easier than I thought it would be. Will make for Christmas dinner also.
 
Maureen M. December 18, 2015
Did you use salted or unsalted butter?
 
Author Comment
Posie (. December 18, 2015
Unsalted
 
Jen W. December 16, 2015
have you ever tried making a vegan version of this? I can have an idea of how to substitute the milk, cheese, and butter, What about the egg? Is it crucial for the layering? Thanks
 
Author Comment
Posie (. December 16, 2015
It's not crucial -- you could brush with water. But I can't vouch for the texture or flavor of the bread if you skip the milk and butter!
 
Jen W. January 2, 2016
I make a vegan version substituting cashew milk and coconut oil for the milk and butter. I brushed a lemon olive oil on top instead of the egg. I made my own filling, one a tart cranberry sauce and one with vegan pesto. The first time I made both vegan and non-vegan dough and actually liked the vegan version better, so I have been making the vegan dough even when I don't make a vegan filling. Hope this helps others who want to adapt the recipe.
 
Terri R. December 15, 2015
Thank you Posie. I agree fresh is best but I would love to serve this for out Christmas dinner but there's no time for baking those last couple days. Would have to make ahead, freeze and then warm before dinner.