Cheese and Herb Star Bread

December  1, 2015
9 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Makes one 10" loaf
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

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Cheese and Herb Star Bread
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kayla Reopelle
    Kayla Reopelle
  • Chere Force
    Chere Force
  • Kellia Brinson
    Kellia Brinson
  • Änneken
  • Barbara Pauly
    Barbara Pauly

95 Reviews

Deb December 25, 2021
Made it for Christmas breakfast for a change from sweet things (although I've also seen a recipe for a cinnamon & sugar star bread that looks great too). Anyway this came out great and it's so pretty. Wish a pic could be attached. Instead of the spices in filling, I used Everything Bagel seasoning which had garlic, onion, sesame, poppy seeds and salt. I added a little rosemary and thyme but not as much as the recipe. I think next time might add Italian seasoning mix with the Everything Bagel mix. I also sprinkled a little parsley on the top after the egg brush.
One reason I'm submitting the review was that I found the baking time to be too short. At 15 minutes it wasn't even close to looking golden and done. I kept adding 5 minutes and it ended up being closer to 1/2 hour. (I have a separate thermometer in my oven so I knew the oven temp was fine.) The top ended up being the glossy dark golden and it was finished inside but not dry.
I also recommend using a sheet pan with all 4 sides - I used a cookie sheet that was flat with just the one raised edge, and some of the melting butter filling dripped right off the pan. Next time will contain that. And there will be a next time!
Deb December 25, 2021
PS I also saw all the discussion in the comments about the milk ingredient confusion. I used the 3/4 cup and an extra 3 tablespoons of milk. It's one tablespoon shy of a full cup, or maybe one of the Food52 editor can add 15 tablespoons of milk in parentheses or something to clarify.
BakerMary September 24, 2021
First two ingredient lines still messed up.
marcejamis February 1, 2021
wonderful recipy. I made it and was delicious!!!!!! thanks a lot
Kayla R. November 23, 2020
I made this today with 1/2 c goat cheese and 1/2 c mango chutney mixed together for the filling. Topped it with flaky garlic sea salt before baking and it was pretty tasty!

Also noticed the new CSS bug on the milk amount! It looked better when I had the ingredient list emailed to me.
Chere F. August 5, 2020
Has someone hacked your recipe page? I see "3/4 cup" without an ingredient listed beside it and then 3 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk.
Is it 3/4 and 3 Tbs milk? Or is there an ingredient missing?

---------------------Recipe notes
For the dough
3/4 cup
3 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk
--------------------Recipes continues

2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
Posie (. August 5, 2020
So weird! It should be 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk
Chere F. August 5, 2020
(Not sure why just my screen would show that page break...oh well!)
infoedge December 15, 2020
And this is an excellent reason for using weights rather than volume measures!
DisgruntledBaker April 12, 2020
Dear Posie,
I will have you know that I am rather unsatisfied by the quality of instructions provided. You failed to mention that it should be placed on parchment paper during the twisting, and due to this my bread went for looking like a star to looking like an octopus that had been hit by a car. Your seeming lack of foresight when writing the insturctions has left me very disappointed. You have just lost my business for the forseable futuee. I hope you regret your feeble attempt at sabotaging my bread.
Good day to you, and goodbye
W J. April 12, 2020

Disgruntled Baker you gave me a laugh for not only cannot you spell or maybe type ("insturctions," "futuee"), you don't read well either. Vide supra: "5 Place the first circle of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet."

Nonetheless, I loved your picturesque description that your "bread went for [from] looking like a star to looking like an octopus that had been hit by a car." Gee, but I wish we had a picture!

If you baked it in the end, I hope that it tasted sweeter than your sour words. Stay safe and bake on!

Joe D. June 12, 2020
😂😂🤣 This has to be satire, right?
Kellia B. December 17, 2019
Yum! I used almond flour instead of potato since I didn't have any and used fresh herbs instead. Also, skipped the inside egg wash since so many folks had a difficult time with it and went with butter (used only 1/3 c)/herb/cheese combo with egg wash on top - it turned out great! I used a bit more flour since the dough seemed very wet when kneading by hand. Overall a great recipe :)
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!!
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!
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Milk 132 g (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp)
All purpose flour 240 g (2 cups)
butter 57 g (1/4 cup)
active dry yeast 5 g (2 1/4 tsp)
sugar <1 g (1/4 tsp)
salt 5 g (1 tsp)
potato flour 49 g (1/4 cup)

dried rosemary 4 g (2 tbsp)
grated Pecorino Romano 81 g (~3/4 cup)
dried thyme 3 g (1 tbsp)
garlic powder <1 g (1/4 tsp)
butter 114 g (1/2 cup)
salt 1 g (1/4 tsp)
Carol December 30, 2019
Thanks for sharing the weight measurements - so much better to have.
Lynda W. February 16, 2020
Very helpful detailed instructions, thank you!
Kate December 17, 2020
Thank you for your hard work and the weight measurements!
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 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?

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.
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

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.