Dear King Arthur Flour, I've unintentionally accomplished two of your BakeAlong challenges in one go.
The first time I made a star-shaped bread was with a few Hapkido friends about a year and a half ago. It was at the beginning of summer when the weather was quickly turning too warm to make bread but we were determined. Straight out of the oven, it was gushing Nutella, pillowy, chocolatey and mmm, mmm, mmm. It is definitely on my list of things to remake (as soon as I clear out more sweets). But who knows, I keep telling myself that almost every week before I make something new.
Since the holidays were only a few weeks prior to when I made this at the beginning of January, I decided to go for a more savory option. As is usual in the KBC kitchen, I was of course, trying to use up something. This time it was sun-dried tomatoes which I have been meaning to incorporate into bread for a while now. As is also usual, I was running about a hundred different scenarios of how this bread could be. Would it be a pizza? Something kind of like a savory babka or other loaf-type bread? And what other accompaniments? Meat? Cheese? Herbs? etc etc... Sometimes this goes on too long so I just have to decide on something. Other times, I finally decide on something only to change my mind and go in a completely different direction.
On my great search across the Internet, I came across King Arthur Flour's recipe for Pane Bianco which I have neither tried nor made but the filling ingredients were exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. So I combined that with their basic bread dough from this Star Bread recipe and this Pane Bianco Star Bread was born.
The trickiest part about making Star Breads is rolling out each layer of dough into a 10" circle. I have the hardest time rolling things in circles. Whether it's cookie dough, bread dough or pie crust dough, it always ends up in a non-circular shape. So, be patient, if it rolls out like a square with rounded edges (see above photos), that's okay because you will cut it up and twist it in the end.
The best part about making Star Breads is twisting the strips together to create the effect of a fishtail braid with only two simple twists. It's truly one of the most exciting things when you get to see the bread coming together.
This bread is gorgeous unbaked and even more gorgeous when it comes out of the oven. Like most breads, is best eaten warm from the oven when the cheese is all melty. It would make a great snack while you create a main dish like Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Sausage!
And of course following that meal up with a Nutella Star Bread for dessert would be amazing. So many delicious carbs.