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.
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cranberry Orange Star Bread
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup (122.5 g) whole milk, warmed (110-115°F)
- 4¼ 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
- 2½ cups (250 g) fresh cranberries
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (83 g) orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 1½ medium oranges)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon water
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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!
Did you make this recipe?
Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.
Made this today for friends-giving celebration. It was a huge hit. So delicious and so pretty!
How many do you think it feeds?
The recipe says 16 servings.
Absolute showstopper! I was so nervous to attempt it because I’m new to baking but I’m glad I tried because it turned out great! This is perfect for a big group (I shared it with 5 different neighbors). The tang from the orange and sweet tangy cranberry are a beautiful combo. I never realized how easy jam is to make. I had enough leftover I used it for mini cheesecakes. Besides being tasty it is such a stunning presentation. I’m so proud I made this and will for sure do it again!
Are you able to use fast rising instant yeast? I’m not sure what the difference is. Thank you!
Yes; Instant Yeast is all that I have ever used:))
Quick question about chilling the dough. Do I push it down after rising and before putting it to chill or do I leave it alone and just put it in the refridgerator? Thanks.
I’d definitely punch it down after BOTH risings.
Can you make it with another Jam?
That was addressed in the body of the post.
I have loved all of your recipes & this one is going in the book also! I was afraid to try but it wasn’t that difficult as it seemed. It came out of the oven as a BEAST!!! This will make a great Christmas gift-can’t wait to do another one.
Thank you for all the great recipes & tips.
Think you could use puff pastry??
I’ve assembled the dough and haven’t let it rise yet. The dough it reallllly sticky. Should it be pulling away from the bowl again? Should I add more flour?
Put it in a warm place to rise. Lowest possible setting on your oven or cover it with plastic and place in the laundry room.
This recipe was great, but I failed. I’m giving it 5 stars, because if I could count, it would have turned out perfectly. I didn’t cut the dough enough and didn’t end up with enough star points, so it didn’t bake all the way. The outside and top layers were beautiful! It tasted great too. So next time, I’ll get my calculator out. The directions were detailed and easy to follow! Thank you for the recipe!
I had to alter the dough, so could of been perfect, because my baking pan was not big enough after adding more flour /yeast in
and I added walnuts to fillings, excellent recipe and delicious , wanted to add pics but didn’t know how!!