Updated: Apr 10
This beautiful pull apart bread is fluffy on the inside and ever so slightly crunchy on the outside, with perfectly cheesy goodness and the flavours of a pizza. An impressive and creative take on pizza! If you have guests coming over for dinner or you want to make something special for your family, this delightful creation will be remembered! Believe me friends, with the ingredients in your pantry, you can make this beautiful bread too. Right here, this blog will teach you how to easily make the dough and fold this flavourful bread into a perfect star.
Prep time: 2 hours
Bake time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
There are so many ways to serve this beautiful bread, whether it's an appetizer, main dish or side dish. The gentle folds of this bread all come together to make a whimsical star, and it's hard not to stand back and admire the work of art! Once you get the hang of making the bread, you can use any variation of ingredients.
Tips and tricks
Yeast. Make sure that when you mix the milk, sugar and yeast together (first two steps of the recipe), that you see bubbles/froth after 5 minutes. If you don't, this means the yeast is old or not doing its job, so start again with a different packet/bottle of yeast, otherwise the bread will not rise.
Milk temperature. Make sure the milk is 110F, if you don't have a cooking thermometer, it should feel slightly hotter than warm, but not so hot that your finger burns!
Filling. Add a small amount of filling and evenly and be sure that the filling ingredients are finely chopped, this will make it easier to fold the bread. Also, when adding the filling, leave 1 inch of plain dough around the perimeter of the bread, this will make it easier to seal the ends after you fold it.
Flour the surface. Before rolling the dough into circles, flour the surface well, otherwise you'll end up with a sticky mess! Not fun!
Cutting the bread. When cutting the bread into strips, first indent a circle at the centre using a cup or cookie cutter so you have a guide for how far in to cut the strips.Then, first cut 4 lines right through from indented circle guideline to the edge of the bread on the top, bottom, left and right. Then cut 3 times between each of the 4 lines cut to make 4 strips. Then repeat this for the other sides until you have 12 strips. Don't worry if this doesn't make sense to read, the first two pictures below show you exactly how to cut the dough!
Seal the ends. Once you've rolled two strips of dough according to the instructions in the recipe, be sure to seal the ends well, otherwise they may open up during the raising or baking process. This is shown in the third picture above.
Oven temperature. If you have an oven under a stove and you're using your stove, be sure to lower the temperature of the oven by 5F. My experience has taught me that the oven runs hotter when the stove is on!
Serve warm. The bread will be at it's fluffiest with the cheesy goodness and slight crunch to the crust when it's right out of the oven so I recommend serving it warm. It is also really hard to resist eating this delicious bread as the smells fill the kitchen with a tantalizing aroma!
Patience! Put your music on and take your time, I find making this bread to be therapeutic, if you slow down you'll really enjoy making it and it's very rewarding!
What other fillings can you use?
The list of fillings is endless. If you're the kind of person that enjoys comfort of what you know, then feel free to use those fillings that you're familiar with. Otherwise if you're open to trying new things, here is a list of ingredients you can use. I recommend using up-to 3 fillings otherwise the bread will become too chunky to fold. I also suggest cutting the ingredients as small as you can so it's easier to cut and fold the dough.
Basil pesto (instead of the pizza sauce base)
Garlic butter (instead of the pizza sauce base)
Red onion and Mozzarella cheese with Calabrese seasoning
What should you pair the bread with?
When served as an appetizer, this bread goes great with a side of marinara sauce or home-style ranch dressing. As a main dish, this beautiful bread is delicious dipped into soup. You can use carrot soup, butternut squash soup, minestrone soup or tortilla soup!
You can also use garlic butter as the base with only cheese as the filling and serve it in place of garlic bread. The possibilities are endless but the deliciousness is always guaranteed.
Pizza Star Bread Recipe
2 hours and 30 minutes
1 packet instant yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup milk
1/2 cup melted salted butter
1 egg at room temperature
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp plain flour
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
3/4 cup of spinach, chopped
200g of pizza sauce
1/4 cup of chopped onion
3 cups of grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of dried oregano
1 egg beaten (for egg-wash)
Mix the sugar and yeast together into a mixing bowl (if using the a stand mixer, the stand mixer bowl will be great).
Warm milk to 110F or until a little hotter than warm to touch and add it to the sugar and yeast. Whisk gently and cover with a cloth for 5 minutes. The mixture should be foamy/bubbly/frothy on the top.
Add in all the rest of the 5 dough ingredients to the bowl. If you're using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment and mix for 3-4 minutes on medium high. If he dough seems manageably soft then add a little bit more flour and mix for a further minute. If mixing by hand, bring together the dough and knead for 5 minutes. Greasing your hands will help the dough not stick to your hands. If the dough is too soft you can add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Grease the bowl and put the dough at the centre. Then cover with clear plastic wrap, followed by a towel. Place the bowl in a warm place, I usually leave mine inside the microwave while it's off.
After 1 hour, check to see if the dough has doubled in size, if not, let it sit for another 30 minutes.
Create the bread
Place a 14 inch piece of grease paper on your working surface, this is where you will assemble the dough.
Remove the air from the dough by punching it with your fist. Then flour your working surface area well, create ball with the dough and cut the ball into equal 4 pieces using a knife or dough cutter. You can eyeball this or use a scale to make sure they are all the same size, being the perfectionist that I am, I usually use a scale to make sure they're all the same weight.
Roll one piece into a circle (roughly 11 inches wide) and place onto the prepared grease-proof sheet. Using a basting brush or the back of a spoon, spread 3 tablespoons of pizza sauce around the dough, being careful to avoid 1 inch of dough around the perimeter. Sprinkle the spinach, onion and cheese over the sauce, evenly in that order.
Roll the 2nd piece of dough into a circle, roughly the same as the first, and place it over the first piece of dough and filling. Then repeat step 3.
Roll the 3rd piece of dough, roughly the same as the others, and place it over the second piece of dough and filling. Then repeat step 3.
Roll the 4th piece into a circle, roughly the same as the others and place over the top.
Cut a few millimetres off around the bread using a pizza cutter to create even edges of all the layers of dough.
Use a cup with a round shape or round cookie cutter and indent a smaller circle at the centre of the rolled dough.
Cut 4 lines between the edge of the circle and the indented circle in the middle, one on the top, bottom, left and right (refer to picture in the Tips and Tricks section).
Now cut three more lines between each of those two lines so that you have 4 strips, refer to picture in the Tips and Tricks section to understand this. Repeat this until you have 12 strips.
Pick up two strips that are beside each other (one in each hand), turn them outwards twice, and seal the end well by pressing together with yours fingers. Repeat this for all the other strips. Now step back and admire it for a minute! Take a look at my Instagram video for a visual reference of exactly how to fold the bread.
Now slide it onto a pizza tray or on a baking tray, cover with a cloth and allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Uncover the bread, seal any ends if they have opened up and then baste the exposed dough very gently with egg-wash. This will give the bread a beautiful golden color.
Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.