Star Bread

Star Bread or Putok with its trademark crack on top, which looks like it has exploded. A sweet bun with sugar sprinkled on top that has a shiny crust, a bit hard outside but soft inside. A favorite snack in the Philippines that you and your family will enjoy too!

star bread on baking pan

Putok is a Filipino word that translates to “explosion” or “fissure” achieved from a cross-shaped cut on the dough prior to baking. This dense bread from the Philippines made with flour, milk, and salt is an offshoot from the standard monay dough. Back in the Philippines, we’d buy from the local bakery for our afternoon snack with tea or coffee. Another variant of Putok is called Pinagong. Both are the same in terms of ingredients. The difference is the more complex pattern of scoring on top.

star bread with sugar sprinkle

Long before fast-food chains, Filipinos have flocked for generations to their neighborhood bakeries or panaderia. We always have a soft spot for the cheap, fragrant buns in those glass display cases by the road. And in this post, I was hoping to share with you one of the beloved buns that I truly love!

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The secret ingredient is always LOVE

Tips for Star Bread or Putok

  • If you love baking, I highly encourage you to invest in a weighing scale. Properly measured ingredients guarantee better results.
recipe image star bread
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5 from 1 vote

Star Bread (Putok)

Star Bread or Putok with its trademark crack on top, which looks like it has exploded. A sweet bun with sugar sprinkled on top that has a shiny crust, a bit hard outside but soft inside.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Total Time40 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: putok, star bread, sweet buns
Servings: 16 buns
Author: Mia


  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup margarine
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup powdered milk
  • 1 egg for eggwash
  • sugar for topping


  • In a bowl. Mix bread flour, cake flour, sugar, powdered milk, and instant yeast.
  • Make a well at the center of the mixture and add margarine, salt, and warm water. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix well until incorporated and turns into a dough.
  • Transfer the dough on a work table and floured surface. Knead for at about 10 minutes until dough texture becomes smooth and elastic. Shape it into a big round ball. Then transfer in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Set aside in an unused oven or warm place for about an hour.
  • Punch the dough in the middle after an hour to release air. With your weighing scale, take a portion of dough and measure 60 grams and roll into a ball. Repeat the process until all dough is weighed and rolled into small buns.
  • To make the star bread's signature crack on top. Make an X or star slice on top of the dough using a scissor or sharp knife. 
  • Transfer the dough into a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover the dough with a damp cloth for 10 – 15 minutes and let it rest for a moment. To prevent it from being fluffy, avoid letting them rest too long. Pre-heat oven at 200°C.
  • Before baking, brush it on top with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake the bread for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is light brown. Remove from oven and let it cool.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool. Serve and Enjoy. Bon Appetit!


  1. 5 stars
    We love this. Delicious bread. Good with black coffee. I added a pinch of cinnamon for extra aroma and flavor.

    1. Author

      Hi Cathy,

      Thank you for trying my Star bread recipe and I’m glad that you love it.

  2. Hi! I tried this but not sure why my dough didn’t rise as much. When i left it for 1hr it just grew a little. When i do the usual punchdown… no air even came out. 🙁 or is that how its supposed to be since the yeast in the recipe is only 1tsp instead of the usual or common 2 1/4tsp. I still baked it kesa sayang. 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Shine,

      I usually just use 1 tsp of instant yeast for this recipe and it rises with no problems at all. Sometimes the dough won’t rise well if the yeast is stale or inactive. Perhaps the yeast has been languishing in the kitchen for too long or kitchen is too cold. To have a good rise, ambient temperature plays a big role. Hope this helps.

      1. Me too it didnt rise actually. And likes very dry the dough.

        1. Author

          Hi Tinz,
          If it look that the dough is dry you can add 1 tbsp of lukewarm water/milk as needed until desired consistency. As for the dough rising, if using instant yeast make sure that the water or milk added is lukewarm, if it’s too hot
          the dough might not activate. If you are using dry-active yeast make sure to activate in lukewarm water for 5 minutes or until bubbles form indicating that the yeast is active.

        2. Hi, mine didnt rise very well and i found the mixture quite dry. I will try adding warm water if it is too dry next time. Also your recipe says 1tsp baking powder but in your instructions there is no baking powder so I added it to the first step

          1. Author

            Hello Steffie,
            Thank you for trying the recipe. With the dough not rising well, there are many factors that can have an effect.
            If you leave in a cold place, let the the rise in a warm part of your home e.g. near heaters. Check the expiration date of the yeast. If the dough is a bit dry, yes, you can add some warm water or milk
            until the dough is moist and elastic. Hope this helps. Cheers!

  3. I’m making it this week-end!

    1. Author

      Good luck and happy baking!

    1. Author

      Hi Ime,
      I updated the recipe and removed the baking powder. Cheers!

  4. Can we substitute powdered milk with fresh milk?

    1. Author

      Hi Rachel,
      you can use any other powdered milk like creamer. or ommit the powder milk

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