Cranberry Orange Star Bread is a pull-apart bread filled, twisted, and baked with homemade cranberry orange jam, and then sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. It will definitely make you the star of any gathering! Try my Apple Pull Apart Bread for another fruit-filled sweet bread.

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Cranberry Orange Star Bread

As I stated above, you will be the star of the party when you present this beautifully star-shaped bread! And, it’s not just lovely in appearance, it is delicious. The cranberry orange jam is the perfect blend of flavors that are synonymous with the holidays. But, you can certainly enjoy this bread year-round. And, don’t be intimidated by the design; it’s easier than you might think!

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Steps for Making Layers with Filling

Ingredients

Yeast: Look for active dry yeast; this is a yeast that needs to be activated before being added to other ingredients. In this recipe, you will need a little more yeast (an extra 3/4 teaspoon, to be exact) than is in one packet, which is about 2 1/4 teaspoons.

Milk: The warm milk will activate the yeast. Make sure the temperature of the milk is between 110°F and 115°F. If the milk is too cold, it will not activate the yeast; on the other hand, if it is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Orange: After zesting the oranges for the bread dough, squeeze out the juice for the jam. (You will need about 1 1/2 oranges to get a tablespoon of zest and 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed juice.)

Cranberries: I used fresh cranberries in the jam, but you could also use frozen cranberries.

Topping: Dust a little confectioners’ sugar over the cooled bread. (If you don’t have any on hand, the bread is still a winner!)

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Steps for Cutting Star Bread

Can I Use a Different Filling?

Definitely! If you are not a fan of cranberry orange jam, use your favorite flavor of jam. Or, try this bread with Nutella, a cinnamon sugar mixture, or homemade apple butter, just to give you a few more ideas.

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Steps for Twisting Star Bread Pieces and Securing

Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

Sure! You can get the dough put together (before assembly) and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to assemble. In step 7 of the bread instructions, it states to refrigerate the dough for about an hour and a half after it has had time to rise. At this point, you could keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Or, freeze the dough at this point for up to a couple of months. I would not recommend filling and assembling the bread until ready to bake.

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How to Store Cranberry Orange Star Bread

This bread can be stored at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap, for 2-3 days. Or, store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can enjoy it at room temperature or warm it up.

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Can I Freeze this Bread?

Yes! After baking the bread, you can certainly freeze it for longer storage. Once the bread has cooled completely, store it (as a whole or in individual pieces) in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

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5 from 1 vote

Cranberry Orange Star Bread

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Rising/Chilling Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 5 hrs 35 mins
Cranberry Orange Star Bread is a pull-apart bread filled, twisted, and baked with homemade cranberry orange jam, and then sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Ingredients

Bread

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • ½ cup (122.5 g) whole milk, warmed (110-115°F)
  • cups (562.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, (about 1½ medium oranges)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces (tablespoons), room temperature

Jam

  • cups (250 g) fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (83 g) orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 1½ medium oranges)

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon water

Topping

  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Instructions

Bread

  • In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warmed milk and allow to sit for about 10 minutes to bloom (foam).
  • While the yeast mixture is blooming, add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together.
  • Using the dough hook attachment with the stand mixer on low, add the bloomed yeast mixture, eggs, and orange zest to the flour mixture. Continue to mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball. (The dough will still look a little messy.)
  • With the mixer still on low, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, allowing time between each addition for it to fully incorporate into the dough.
  • Once all the butter has been added, continue to knead the dough on low for another 10-15 minutes, or until it is soft and glossy.
  • Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, cover with a towel, and place in a warm area to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Once doubled, move the dough to the refrigerator to chill for 1-1½ hours. (At this point, you could leave the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if not ready to assemble and bake the bread.)
  • While the dough is chilling, prepare the jam.

Jam

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the cranberries begin to burst.
  • Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the jam until smooth. (This recipe made about 1½ cups of jam.)
  • Set the jam aside to cool until ready to shape your dough. (The jam will thicken as it cools.)

Assembly

  • Set out 4 large sheets of parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has been chilled, cut it into 4 equal sections (about 12 inches for each section).
  • Place each section of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, lightly sprinkling the tops of the dough with flour. Roll each out into equal-sized, ¼-inch thick circles, each about 12 inches in diameter.
  • Transfer one of the circles of dough, with the parchment paper, to a large baking sheet. Spread about ½ cup of the jam mixture onto the circle of dough, leaving about a 1-inch perimeter around the edge.
  • Carefully transfer another circle of dough (without parchment paper) onto the jam-topped circle. Top with ½ cup jam. Repeat this with another circle of dough and ½ cup of jam. Finally, carefully place the last round of dough on top. You should end up with 4 layers of dough with jam between each of the inner layers.
  • Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter (or the rim of a bowl or a glass), make a circular imprint directly in the center of your dough without cutting through the dough. (You can leave the cookie cutter in place for the next step if that helps.)
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 equal-sized sections, starting from the outside of the cookie cutter (or indentation) to the outside of the circle, leaving the center circle intact. You will end up with 16 sections that are shaped like wedges or isosceles triangles.
  • Pick up 2 adjacent sections at a time and twist them outwards (away) from each other 2-3 times. Pinch the bottom edges together to form one star point.
  • Repeat the twisting steps with the remaining 14 sections of dough. You will end up with 8 star points in total.
  • Cover loosely with a clean towel and place in a warm area to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled.
  • Near the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a small dish, whisk together the egg and water.
  • Brush the bread evenly with the egg wash, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the bread to cool completely.
  • Dust confectioners' sugar over the cooled bread. Enjoy!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

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