Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (2024)

Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread looks impressive, but it’s actually not difficult to create.

Filled with layers of sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, basil, salami, roasted onions and garlic plus fennel seeds, you won’t be able to resist pulling off a piece and eating it warm from the oven.

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Although I make virtually all the bread we eat at home, I don’t usually go in for fancy shaped breads. I’ve always thought flavour should come first and that’s what I tend to concentrate on.

But I’ve been making bread for years now and am pretty happy with my no knead methods for crusty bread and sourdough loaves.

So isn’t it about time I started being a little more adventurous?

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The Inspiration

The inspiration for this recipe came from The Great British Bake Off when I saw that shaping one of those intricate-looking star breads was actually quite easy.

I was also spurred on by seeing the creations from the wonderful community of bakers who take part in the weekly #TwitterBakeAlong. Headed by Rob Allen and The Baking Nanna, when The Great British Bake Off is on air the sharing of bakes turns into #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong. Even though I haven’t taken part that often, I love seeing what other people have produced based around that week’s challenges.

So, for bread week 2019 I chose the tear and share challenge. On the show, I was particularly impressed by Michael’s Keralan Star Bread.

Obviously I wasn’t expecting to create anything as beautiful as that. But I did think, however it turned out, my mixture of melting cheese, salami and other good things snuggled in freshly baked bread was going to taste very, very good.

Making the Dough

I decided that the base of my Star Bread would be my usual no-knead, overnight dough. Leaving the dough overnight not only gives you better flavour, but time does the work of developing the gluten (a protein which allows bread to rise) so there’s no-need-to-knead.

Besides my usual flour, salt, instant yeast and water I added an egg and some olive oil to make the dough a little richer.

Because I make my own yogurt and strain some of it to make thick, Greek-style, I had some whey in the fridge. I use this in bread doughs so substituted this for some of the water. If you like, you can use all water, all milk or a mixture of the two.

To make the dough, all you do is stir the ingredients together. It’s quite a wet dough, so don’t even think about trying to knead it. You’ll get into a right old mess. When the dough’s come together, just cover it with a damp tea towel or cling film and leave it overnight.

The Fillings

For my Star Bread, I wanted some classic Mediterranean flavours. Not quite pizza, but heading that way. I chose three different fillings.

My first layer was chopped sun-dried tomatoes sprinkled with some torn fresh basil leaves. On top of that I sprinkled some grated Parmesan and little cubes of Cheddar.

I used these cheeses as they happened to be what I had in the fridge, but use any you fancy. I think mozzarella and goats cheese would be particularly good.

My second filling was salami. You could leave the slices whole, but I thought roughly chopping them would making cutting the bread easier.

My final layer was roasted chopped onion and garlic. To make sure they were nice and cold before putting them on the dough, I’d roasted them in a little olive oil the night before.

I included a few fennel seeds with the seasoning too as they’re one of my favourite spices. On top went more cheese.

Shaping the Star Bread

As I hope you can see from the images above, you make this Star Bread by layering four circles of dough with the three fillings in between them. I did this on a round baking tray with a piece of baking paper on it so the cooked bread was easier to remove later.

On top of the third filling went the fourth and last round of dough. Unless you’re an absolute expert at rolling out perfect circles of dough (clearly, I’m not), you’ll need to put a big plate, saucepan lid or similar over the stack of dough and cut around it to make a neat shape. See tip at the end of the post for using up the leftover trimmings: don’t waste them!

Next, you put a pastry cutter, glass or similar in the centre of your dough. This acts as a temporary guide to help you make the cuts needed to form the star or flower.

Use a sharp knife as you need to cut through all the layers. I cut my dough into 12 sections, but might try 16 next time for a more intricate final bread.

For the next stage, you lift up two adjacent sections at a time and twist them in opposite directions, turning over twice. It’s a bit nerve wracking at first as the dough stretches and the fillings start to peep out. But that’s what’s supposed to happen and when you’ve done a couple, you’ll be fine.

Once each pair’s been twisted, just secure them by pinching the ends together into a little point.

And that’s it. Now your Star Bread can be left to prove for another thirty or forty minutes while you preheat the oven.

Baking

Just before you bake the Star Bread, give it a brush with some beaten egg mixed with a little water. This will give it a nice gloss.

Then it’s into the oven for around 20-25 minutes. I’d check after about 15 minutes and lower the temperature a smidgen if you think the bread’s browning too quickly before it’s cooked through.

If you can bear it, cool the finished bread on a rack for a few minutes before tearing off a piece and eating.

I loved the combination of melting cheese, sweet roasted onion, meaty salami and slightly smoky tasting sun-dried tomatoes. But I’m already thinking up flavours, sweet as well as savoury, for my next Star Bread.

What flavours will you put in yours?

Tip for using up dough trimmings

I hate waste. So, having some dough trimmings from when I cut around my stacked layers, I made them into dough sticks while the Star Bread was proving.

All I did was bring together the scraps, roll them out thinly and cut into strips. I gave them a bit of a twist from both ends then put them on greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

A quick brush with the egg and water glaze, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a grind of black pepper then it was into the oven for around seven minutes, same temperature as the Star Bread.

Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (15)

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Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread looks impressive, but it’s actually not difficult to create. Filled with layers of sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, basil, salami, roasted onions and garlic plus fennel seeds, you won’t be able to resist pulling off a piece and eating it warm from the oven.

CourseBread

Keywordstar bread, tear and share

Prep Time 45 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Overnight proving 14 hours

Total Time 15 hours 10 minutes

Servings 6 at least

Author Moorlands Eater

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 350gstrong white bread flour
  • 1tspsalt
  • 1tspfast acting dried yeast
  • 1egg
  • 3tbspolive oil
  • 170ml water, milk, whey or a combination of these

For the fillings

  • 2mediumonionsskinned, roughly chopped
  • 3clovesgarlicskinned, finely chopped
  • 1tspfennel seeds
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2tspolive oil
  • 75gmature Cheddar cheesegrated or finely cubed
  • 25gParmesan cheesefinely grated
  • 70gsun-dried tomatoesfinely chopped
  • 1handfulbasil leavesroughly torn
  • 70gsalami (approx 7 slices)cut into 1 cm squares

For the glaze

  • 1egg
  • 1tbspwater

Instructions

The night before you want to bake the bread:

  1. Put the flour, salt, dried yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Beat the egg and olive oil into the liquid then pour all of it into the mixing bowl.

  3. Use a rubber spoon or spatula to bring the mixture together into a rough, wet dough.

    Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (16)

  4. Cover with cling film or a wet tea towel and leave overnight or 12-14 hours at room temperature.

  5. For the roasted onion & garlic filling:

    - Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4

    - Put the chopped onion, garlic and fennel seeds in an ovenproof dish and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil and stir to combine.

    - Cook until onion is soft and starting to brown (25-30 min). Watch it doesn't burn.

    - Cool and leave in the fridge overnight.

On the day of baking:

  1. Line a round baking tray, approx 30cm in diameter, with a piece of baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Set aside.

  2. Scrape the risen dough onto a well floured surface then bring together into a smooth ball by folding it a few times.

  3. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and form those into balls.

    Take one of the balls (keeping the rest covered) and roll it out into a circle approximately 25cm in diameter. Place it on the prepared tray.

  4. Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes over the circle of dough, keeping around 1cm away from the edge, then sprinkle over HALF the cheddar and Parmesan and all of the basil.

  5. Roll out the second ball of dough in the same way and place it over the sun-dried tomato filling.

  6. Scatter the cut salami over the second circle.

  7. Roll out the third ball of dough and place it over the salami.

  8. Sprinkle the cold roasted onions and garlic over the third circle of dough and scatter with the remaining cheddar and Parmesan.

  9. Roll out the fourth ball of dough and place it over the onion layer.

  10. To create a perfect circle: place a large round plate or similar over the stack and cut around it, going through all the layers. Remove the trimmings.

    Tip: dough trimmings can be rolled out, cut into strips, twisted and baked with a little cheese on top to make dough sticks.

    Lightly press down the edges of the dough to seal in the fillings.

  11. Place a 5cm cutter or glass temporarily in the centre of the dough.

    Using a sharp knife, cut outwards from this central point to make 12 (or 16 if you prefer) equal triangular sections. Make sure you cut through all the layers.

    Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (17)

  12. Taking two adjacent sections at a time, twist the pieces in opposite directions, turning them around twice.

    Pinch the ends of the two pieces together so they form a point.

    Repeat with the rest of the sections, two at a time.

    Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (18)

  13. Cover the dough with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to prove 30-40 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 6.

  14. Beat together the egg and water for the glaze and brush over the risen dough.

  15. Put bread on its tray in the oven. Bake until golden and cooked through (approx 20-25 minutes).

    Check after 15 minutes that the bread isn't starting to brown too quickly; if necessary turn the oven temperature down.

  16. When baked, cool for a few minutes before tearing off pieces and eating warm.

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Savoury Tear & Share Star Bread | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (2024)
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