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Easy Star Bread Recipe

This is an easy star bread recipe for a soft sweet bread that looks very festive


Farmers market where we discovered the easy star fig bread
Farmers market

TRAVELING IN ITALY

Rome, Italy. We were staying right next to a famous market. In a nearby bakery, we discovered a star shaped bread. We loved the look of this bread and recreated it when we got back home.


MAKING THE EASY STAR BREAD RECIPE

This recipe is made from a basic enriched bread dough, and for this version we used fig jam and fresh figs. We researched the science and techniques behind making enriched bread and used tips from exceptional chefs. Then we used the best ingredients we could find to create this recipe.


Easy Star Bread Recipe
Easy Star Bread Recipe

THE SCIENCE OF MAKING ENRICHED BREAD


It is important to understand a little of the science of making enriched bread. There are very few ingredients, so each ingredient has a key roll. Enriched breads are different from hearth or sandwich breads in that they have additions like eggs, milk, sugar and butter. They are often made for holidays and celebrations. These ingredients are an opportunity to add a lot of flavor, but make it harder for the dough to rise.


INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING ENRICHED BREADS

Brands vary in quality, weight and consistency, so it is important to choose quality brands for the main ingredients and stick with them as you change other ingredients in the bread. These are the brands we use.

FLOURGold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flourhas a lower protein amount than bread flour and some all purpose flours – 10.5 percent protein. This is a good flour for baking enriched breads, since it makes the baked goods more tender. In addition, the company ensures that the protein content is carefully calibrated, so you get consistent results. Also, it is important to use the unbleached flour. Bleaching makes the flour whiter, but it interferes with the activity of the yeast.

SUGAR – We use Wholesome organic sugar, because it is produced from sugar cane fields that are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Burning sugar cane fields contributes to air pollution and climate change, and is a major cause of the destruction of the rain forest. Buying sugar from fields that are green cut helps prevent this destruction. The sugar also has a better taste because of how it is produced, but mostly we use it because it is a sustainable choice. It is more expensive than buying the standard brands, but the difference is only a few cents per recipe, so it’s worth it. We also save money by buying this in bulk direct from the company and storing it in jars in the pantry. Instead of buying brown sugar, we add some molasses, since brown sugar is just sugar with molasses added. This saves money, since brown sugar is more expensive than white sugar, and it saves storage.

HOMEMADE BROWNED BUTTER FROM HORIZON ORGANIC BUTTER – Using browned butter, or buerre noistte as it is known in France, adds a huge amount of flavor to baked goods. We useHorizon Organicbutter to make browned butter. We think Horizon products taste better than any other dairy products we have tried. This is probably because the products are organic and from family farming partners. Just as important, Horizon is acertified B corporationthat has committed to becomingcarbon positive across their entire supply chain by 2025.

HOMEMADE CREAM CHEESE FROM HORIZON CREAM – We useHorizon Organic cream to make cream cheese. It’s real cream cheese, made with nothing but a culture and Horizon cream. We save money by buying cream by the half gallon at a big box store. It’s also easy because we make it in theInstant Pot.

WATER – Using more water allows the gluten to form naturally without kneading the dough.

YEAST – The yeast must be good quality and not past its expiration date. We use saf-instant. Instant yeast is easier to work with and is more reliable because of how it’s processed. If it’s in date, it doesn’t need to be proofed (soaked in water to prove it is active) before using it. It can just be added to the mix, but soaking it will hydrate it and give it a head start. The water temperature should be between 95 and 115 degrees F, ideally 110 degrees F (over 120 will harm the yeast). Store the yeast in an air tight container in the freezer.

SALT – We like the quality of Diamond Kosher salt and don’t want the iodine taste. The weight and structure of salt varies between brands so it is important to chose a salt and stick with it to be consistent. Salt will interfere with the activity of the yeast. This might be a problem, or it might be something that is desired in order to slow down the yeast. Mixing the salt with the flour before adding the yeast will help limit the effect. Don’t use salt with iodine, because the taste can be disagreeable.

BARLEY MALT SYRUP or MAPLE SYRUP – Many of the same flavors of baked bread are found in barley malt syrup, so we often add some to the dough to increase the flavor. Maple syrup can also add a rich flavor to sweet enriched breads.

SPICES – Ordering spices in bulk from a spice dealer will give you a great price and the best quality. This will make a huge difference in your baking. We order most spices fromWorld Spice Merchants, because they carry a huge variety of top quality spices.

TIME – Time can also be considered an ingredient, and it makes a huge impact on the finished product. Over time, the starch in the flour converts to sugars and other flavors are released. This process requires about twelve hours. At the same time, the yeast is increasing and causing the dough to rise. Most recipes allow the bread to raise for only a few hours at room temperature. Slowing this process down, by putting the dough in a cold place, will allow the flavors to develop before the yeast has caused the dough to rise. This is easy to do at home just by putting the dough in the refrigerator. It can be much harder for a bakery to do because of the limited space in the refrigerator, so bakery bread is often made with a portion of refrigerated dough (a poolish or a biga) and a portion of fresh flour and water making the recipes more complicated. This explanation is an over simplification of a much more complicated process, but it does give a clearer picture of why this works. Another method of slowing down the fermentation is by using less yeast and allowing the dough to ferment at room temperature, but enriched doughs contain eggs and dairy products, so it is not safe to allow the dough to remain at room temperature for that long.


METHOD FOR MAKING BREAD

WEIGH THE INGREDIENTS – It is very difficult to accurately measure dry ingredients, like flour, in a volume container, like a measuring cup. The ingredients for baking bread need to be measured by weight, using a scale. And it is easier and more accurate to use grams instead of having to do the math on ounces and pounds. Using weight to measure the ingredients is also easier – just place the bowl on the scale and zero the scale after each measurement.

Best Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
Weigh the Ingredients

KITCHEN THERMOMETER – The milk needs to be at a certain temperature range to activate the yeast and not kill it, so a thermometer is very important.

HYDRATING THE YEAST – Sprinkling the yeast on warm milk or water before mixing it with the other ingredients allows the yeast to warm up and become active before the dough is refrigerated, so it can be put into the refrigerator immediately after mixing.

WETTER DOUGH -The method for making this bread is to use more water. Using more water allows the gluten to form naturally without much kneading.

Best Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
Wetter Dough

LONGER FERMENTATION – During the first rise, The dough develops flavors as the carbohydrates are broken down and sugars and other compounds form. This takes 12 to 18 hours. Any longer and the dough will start to develop a sourdough taste. In most recipes, the dough is only allowed to rise for a couple of hours, and the flavors have not developed. Refrigerating the dough will slow down the fermentation and allow the dough to rise for twelve hours while the flavors develop. The slow rise improves the taste, but also makes it much easier to make. The bread dough can be made in the evening and baked the following day at a convenient time. A batch of dough comes together in minutes with very little work, and next morning it is ready to shape and bake. Folding the dough a couple of times about an hour after refrigerating it will help it cool down evenly and improves the shape. These folds also help the dough develop elasticity and will improve the rise. Dough that has been refrigerated will have more flavor but will be a little lower in height.

Pain a l’Ancienne French Bread dough
Bread dough

ALLOW THE DOUGH TO WARM UP – when the dough has completed the fermentation, it is removed from the refrigerator and allowed to warm up for 30-60 minutes.This will result in a better crumb.

PROOFING THE DOUGH – The dough is shaped while it’s still fairly cool, and then left to proof at room temperature. Proofing will take longer than if it was left at room temperature during the fermentation stage, usually about an extra hour.

DIVIDE THE DOUGH – Cut the dough with a scissors or sharp knife instead of pulling and tearing it, which can deflate it.

SHAPE THE DOUGH – Place the dough smooth side down on a lightly floured counter. Push on it slightly while making circular motions. This causes the dough to connect to the surface enough to develop a skin, which will improve the rise.

ALLOW BREAD TO COOL COMPLETELY – The bread will continue to bake with residual heat after removed from the oven. Do not cut into it until it is completely cooled.


Easy Star Bread Recipe
Easy Star Bread Recipe

Easy Star Bread Recipe

EASY STAR BREAD RECIPE

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting time: 1 day
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: figs, star bread
Servings: 16
Calories: 358kcal
Author: Lisa LeCoump
This is an easy star bread recipe for a soft sweet bread that looks very festive.

CHOOSING BRANDS:

For certain products, the choice of brand will make a big difference in the outcome of the recipe and in your carbon footprint. So, for those products, we have listed the brand. We are not paid to mention a brand and have no affiliates.

Ingredients

FILLING

  • 250 grams fig jam

TOPPING

Instructions

DOUGH

  • Combine flour, sugar and salt in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  • Heat the milk to lukewarm (about 95 degrees F). Check the temperature with a thermometer. Whisk the yeast into the milk. Pour the milk into the flour mixture. Add the lemon zest and melted butter.
  • Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
  • Switch to the dough hook. Increase speed and mix on medium low for 4 minutes.
  • Increase speed and mix on medium for 2 minutes.
  • Knead the dough for 1 minute on a lightly oiled surface and form it into a ball.
  • Put the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl with enough room for it to double in size. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 days.

ON BAKING DAY

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide into four equal pieces and form them into balls. Cover them with plastic and let them rest for 20 minutes.
  • On a floured surface, roll out each ball into a flat circle about 10 inches across. If it resists, let it rest for a minute and then continue rolling.
  • Place one of the circles on a sheet of parchment paper. Spread about a third of the jam on top. Place another circle on top of the first and spread with jam. Then the third circle and spread with jam. Then top with the fourth circle.
  • Place a glass, that is about 2 1/2 inces across, in the center of the circle. Cut all the way through the dough from the edge of the glass to the edge of the circle, dividing the dough into 16 equal sections with an uncut area in the center.
  • Remove the glass and select two sections that are side by side. Twist the two sections away from each other, twisting them two full rotations and then pinching them together at the tip. Continue around the rest of the circle until all of the sections are pinched together in this way.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place for about an hour and a half.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wisk the egg with a Tablespoon of water, and brush it over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the sugar. Cut the figs in half, removing the stems, and place them on each point of the star. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes to 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bread and parchment to a rack to cool.

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 409mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg

WHY THIS RECIPE IS SUSTAINABLE:

Check out the chart on the blog post to see how food choices affect climate change. This recipe uses responsible brands and items that are lower on the chart and the production creates less greenhouse gas.

https://tonyfitzgeraldphotography.com/2021/03/20/easy-star-bread-recipe/
Tried this recipe?Show us on Instagram and Mention @tonyfitzgeraldphotography

Nutrition Facts
EASY STAR BREAD RECIPE
Amount per Serving
Calories
358
% Daily Value*
Fat
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
0.2
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
2
g
Cholesterol
30
mg
10
%
Sodium
409
mg
18
%
Potassium
155
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
65
g
22
%
Fiber
2
g
8
%
Sugar
23
g
26
%
Protein
7
g
14
%
Vitamin A
269
IU
5
%
Vitamin C
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
56
mg
6
%
Iron
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Photos byTony Fitzgerald Photography

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