Star bread is beautiful and this Cranberry Orange Brioche Star Bread will be the star of the show! Whether it is a holiday dinner or brunch, this is the perfect bread to showcase!
Why Make This Brioche?
There are so many reasons to make this brioche, but let me tell you a few that motivate me.
The flavor, first and foremost. This bread is so tender, flavorful, and delicious. The brioche is so good as a base and I love the cranberry and orange flavors.
It is beautiful bread. This is the bread that is meant to impress! If you have not made a star bread before, maybe you felt intimidated, let me show you just how simple it is to make!!
It captures the feel of the season, late fall/winter is where this bread really shines. Stars are brighter this time of year and cranberry/orange flavors are here to shine as well.
I love to make this bread with my leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This is wheat bread, but if you like, you can trade out the wheat flour for all-purpose and make it an all-white loaf.
- Milk- As a rich dough, milk is part of it.
- Yeast- I used instant yeast, but you can also use active dry if you prefer.
- Salt- it is just a touch.
- Brown Sugar- You could also use granulated sugar if you prefer.
- Eggs- Again, it is a rich dough, so eggs are a must.
- All-purpose flour- I use a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose. The texture and flave are so good together!
- Whole Wheat Flour- I used a kmaut flour in this one, but you can also use white whole wheat, rye, spelt, etc.
- Butter- It would not be a brioche without a lot of butter!
- Granulated Sugar- I make an orange sugar that gets sprinkled on this dough, granulated sugar is a must.
- Cranberry Sauce- I have an awesome cranberry orange sauce recipe. This bread is made from the leftovers!
- Orange- The zest will be used in the orange sugar, and the juice in the glaze.
- Powdered Sugar- This is used for the glaze
How To Make The Brioche
Start by adding your warm milk (you can heat it in a small saucepan or microwave. It is only heated to about 100 degrees), yeast, salt, eggs, brown sugar, and flours to the bowl of a stand mixer.
It is not recommended to mix brioche by hand. Not only do you have to knead for a really long time, but your hands will warm the dough too much. Use the dough hook for this recipe
Mix for about 1 minute. Then you will start adding the butter in 1 tablespoon increments. Butter is added slowly to the dough in making brioche. In fact, the process of adding the butter should take about 10-15 minutes.
So add a tablespoon, let it mix in, then add another. do not rush this process. At the end of the mixing time, you should have a very smooth dough.
Once the butter is all added and mixed in, it is time to chill. Now, transfer dough in a ziplock bag sprayed with pan release, or you can turn dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Make sure and give it room to rise. It will double.
Forming The Star Bread
I formed my brioche into 2 star loaves. They were about 12-inches round. If you want, you can make just one large loaf.
Start by diving your dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to about a 12-inch circle. Do not stress about perfection here. You can see in the video that my circles are not perfect.
Start with one circle and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Spread half your cranberry sauce and orange sugar over the bread.
Gently place a circle on top. Repeat the process with the other 2 circles. Once you have the 2 circles filled and ready to go, cut the slits. I like to have a reference point, so a press a cup gently in the middle to mark the middle circle. You will see this in the video below.
Cut a slit from the circle mark out the edges. Then cut 2 more slits with each wedge. At this point, gently move your parchment paper to the baking sheet. I like to do the before I start twisting.
Once the cuts are made, start twisting. Take 2 of the cut wedges and twist them twice and press them together. This might be easier to understand in the photos and videos below.
Repeat the process with the other filled circle. Once both are twisted, cover and let them rise in a warm place until they are doubled.
Brush with egg wash and move to the preheated oven.
Bake until they are perfectly golden brown. Glaze with your orange glaze and they are ready to serve!
This bread is best with a cool rise. Don't be tempted to cut corners here. Not only will it make the dough easier to work with, but also hydrates the bread, and enhances the flavor of the dough
Make sure you allow the bread to rise until it is doubled. This will take time as the dough is chilled, to begin with.
I used homemade cranberry sauce, but you can also use canned if you prefer.
What Is Brioche?
There are a few things that make brioche different than your regular loaf of bread. For one, it is an egg-rich dough. Meaning there are a lot of eggs.
It is also heavy in butter. The butter is added slowly over about a 15 minute period of time.
It is also best to give this dough a cool rise. While this means it takes longer than the average bread to make, this is also good as you can make it ahead of time. The cool rise makes the dough so much easier to work with and enhances the flavors.
This bread will hold well for at least 3-4 days! If you want to reheat it just a touch, place it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
It will take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. It really depends on the temperature and humidity of your house. The warmer and more humid, the faster it rises.
I do not have a good answer for this, as I have not tried it. In my mind, brioche is an egg-rich dough, so there would be no way to make it vegan.
It should certainly be a little "tacky", or sticky. When pressing the dough with your fingers it should stick just a bit. After the overnight chill, it is perfect to work with.
Yes, yes, and yes! Find your favorite preserve or sauce and add it in place of the cranberry sauce. One thing to note, it is better to use a thicker sauce, as it will hold it's shape better.
Oh yes! There are a lot of other options. You could easily swap this for a rye, kamut, red wheat, einkorn, etc. Because the ratio is only 50% of the wheat, it is an easy swap out.
I have a few other loaves of bread I have used brioche in and just love. Check them out as well!
- My family loved this Povitica- style Swirled bread. I was barely able to enjoy a piece myself before the boys ate it all!
- This pumpkin brioche has also been really popular on the blog. And for good reason, it is delicious!
- Lemon Brioche pull-apart bread is another favorite in our home. Who can resist the combo of brioche and lemon? Not me!
- lemon Swirl Rolls- We love these for holidays!
- Cranberry Swirl Loaf- This is a another really great cranberry bread that you can make using leftover cranberry sauce.
Cranberry Orange Brioche Star Loaf
- stand mixer, sheet pan
- ½ cup warm milk I like it right about 100 degrees, or warm to the touch
- 3 eggs
- 2 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour I used a white wheat for this
- 1 ¾-2 cups all- purpose flour
- ½ cup softened butter
- 1 ¾-2 cups cranberry orange sauce This can be homemade or canned.
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons milk for egg wash
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice.
- Place milk, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, yeast, brown sugar, and eggs to a stand mixer. This can also be done by hand with kneading if you prefer. Mix for about 1 minute until the dough comes together. Now, turn your mixer on medium. "Dot" in your butter. This means taking small chunks of the butter, about 1 tablespoon, adding them into the dough as it is mixing. Let one mix in, then add in another. The process should take about 3-4 minutes. Continue to let the dough mix until it is smooth, usually about 5 minutes. The dough is best to refrigerate overnight. So, add to a container, making sure to give enough space for it to rise a bit. cover and place in the fridge.
- The next day, combine your granulated sugar and orange zest to make the orange sugar. Set it aside.
- Have 2 sheets of parchment paper ready and 2 baking sheets.
- Remove your dough from the fridge and divide it into 4 equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each one to about 12-inch circles. Place 2 of the circles on the 2 pieces of parchment.
- Spread the cranberry sauce divided between the 2 circles. Spread it out, leaving about ¼ inch around the edges so you can seal it.
- Divide your orange sugar and sprinkle it over the cranberry sauce. Take the other 2 circles and put one on each of your filled circles. You should now have 2 filled 12-inch circles.
- With each of the circles, press a small cup in the center to mark. I used a 3-inch glass. Now, cut slits into your circles. I started with 4 slits, to keep things even, then cut into each of those wedges.
- Move the parchment to your baking sheets carefully. Now, start twisting the wedges to form the star. Once you have finished both stars, cover and let them double.
- When they are almost risen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine your egg and milk, then mix well. This will be your egg wash.
- Brush the bread with the egg wash, place in the oven, and bake until it is a beautiful golden brown.
- Remove from the oven. Let it cool slightly. Then make your glaze. Add the powdered sugar to a bowl and add the orange juice. If you need to add more, do it. I like a thicker glaze, but you can thin it if you prefer.
- Drizzle with the glaze and it is ready to go! Now, stand back because this bread is going to go fast!!