Monday, December 22, 2014

A star is born

A few weeks ago a wonderful friend (B--do you still read this?) posted a photo of a baking project she'd just completed: a bread with layers of Nutella shaped like a star. I've done a fair amount of holiday baking already this season, but nothing especially showy. I had a birthday brunch to go to this weekend though, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something a little fun. Plus, I know my blog readers enjoy reading about food projects they would not themselves attempt (although I promise you, this one is a lot easier than it looks).

To start, you need to make the dough. It's a bit like regular bread dough but with a few additions. This is the recipe:

2 1/2 - 3 c flour
3/4 c milk
1 1/2 tsp yeast
2 eggs
2 T melted butter
1/3 c sugar
pinch of salt

Pretty basic dough construction. Warm the milk and add the yeast and a tablespoon of the sugar to proof it. Then add the flour, sugar, melted butter, salt, and egg yolks (keep the whites for later). Knead and let rise for 40 minutes. Then the fun part starts.

First divide the dough into four roughly equal parts.

This is what dough looks like when divided into four roughly equal parts, as seen by my phone.
Roll out one of the parts until about 1/8" thick. Use a cake pan as a guide to cut around the edges to make an even circle.
The bottom of a springform pan would also work great for this, but mine happened to have a cheesecake in it. 
 Next, spread Nutella all over your nice round dough circle. Pro tip: Never microwave Nutella. To get it  warm enough to spread easily, put the whole jar in warm/hot water.

Pro Tip #2: Just use your hands. You can pretty much see my finger patterns in this one, but it's so much easier than using a knife. 
 Next, repeat the last two steps with the other dough pieces, laying each circle on top of the last until you have a nice stack. After you lay the fourth dough circle on top, don't spread Nutella on it.

I think this was only three layers, and I forgot to photograph the fourth, but you can use your imagination.
Once you have a nice stack, use a drinking glass to mark a circle in the middle. Then divide the dough into 16 parts by cutting through the dough from the edge all the way to the center circle.

Like so!
 Now comes the part where I was pretty sure I would screw up, but that actually turned out to be fairly easy. Take each pair of cut sections and twist them inward, connecting them at the base. It should look like this:

I finessed it a little more after this photo, but this is the general idea.
 Finally, take your egg whites from earlier and brush them on top of this bad boy. Cook in a preheated oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

The end result!
I had to take mine to a brunch, so I didn't get to try it while it was warm. That said, it was pretty tasty cold, so I have a feeling this thing would be pretty amazing right out of the oven. Surprisingly, given the Nutella, it's not too sweet. Of course now I have half a jar of Nutella left in my cabinet. Let the holiday gluttony continue!


  1. That's so pretty! I will see if I can still find a time to make it for this holiday season. You say it worked for brunch, or is it more of a dessert?

  2. I think it would be good as a dessert as well as a brunch. Again, it's surprisingly not super sweet/rich, but since most holiday desserts are, it might be nice to have a break.

  3. I still read this, of course! I believe I failed on sending you the recipe (the story of my life) but: I twist the cut sections twice, it looks even fancier. I also use the remnants of the dough, put Nutella on them and shape them into anything so that there's no waste. It's amazing how easy it is to make and how great it looks, isn't it? :)

  4. Yay! I was able to find a recipe online, so no worries :). Although yours does look better with the double twists. Will try that next time. I have a bunch of Nutella left, so if I don't keep eating it with a spoon, I might make another one. Also, Merry Christmas Eve to you, Gordon, and Babu! I sent you guys a card, but then forgot to put extra postage on it, so I have a feeling that will be getting returned to me at some point…