This cheesy, garlicky Christmas tree pull-apart bread is THE perfect Christmas potluck appetizer and dinner rolls you NEED for Christmas get-togethers! The bread is super soft, fluffy, buttery, garlicky, and cheesy. Not to mention how amazing it tastes!
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and give it a stir. Set aside to let the yeast dissolve and activate, about 3 minutes.
Into the stand mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and give everything a mix.
Once the yeast has dissolved, add it to the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together. Then, increase the speed to medium high or high and knead the dough until it's smooth and passes the window pane test. Once the dough has passed the window pane test, add the softened butter and knead the dough until all the butter is absorbed.*Please refer to the post above for photo reference and more details about the window pane test.*
Round out the dough into a smooth ball and place in back into the bowl. Cover and let it proof in a warm area until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
When the dough has doubled, punch it down then round it back up into a ball. Divide the dough into 19 equal pieces, about 28 to 30 grams each. Roughly round up each piece of dough into a ball.
Working with one dough ball at a time, flatten the dough ball in between your palm. Place a piece of the string mozzarella sticks in the center and wrap the mozzarella in the dough. Pinch together the edges to seal. Roughly round the dough ball in between your hands to make them as round as possible. Repeat with remaining dough balls and mozzarella sticks.*We recommend covering the dough with clean, damp towel while working to prevent the dough from drying out.*
Prepare a half size sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Arrange the cheese stuffed dough balls on the prepared sheet pan, about ½ to 1 inch apart, seam side down to make a Christmas tree. Cover and let the dough balls proof in a warm area until, about 45 minutes.*To make a Christmas tree shape, place the dough balls on the tray in this order: Row 1 - 1 pc; Row 2 - 2pcs; Row 3 - 3pcs; Row 4 - 4pcs; Row 5 - 5 pcs; Row 6 - 2pcs; Row 7 - 2pcs. Also refer to the post above for photo references!*
For the garlic herb butter:
While the dough is proofing, make the butter mixture. Combine the butter and garlic in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until the butter is melted and hot. Carefully remove the hot garlic butter and stir in the dry parsley and dry oregano. Mix well and set aside until needed. If needed, reheat the butter mixture so that the butter is melted.
Bake the pull-apart bread:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
When the dough balls have doubled, brush them with half of the prepared garlic herb butter. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella between all the dough balls and gaps and sprinkle with grated parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes.
Bake the bread for about 12 minutes or until the breads are golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush them with the remaining garlic butter, followed by a light sprinkle of kosher salt.
Garnish the bread with some parsley and enjoy while hot, on its own or with some marinara!
Please refer to the post above for step by step photo references, tips, storage, and FAQs!
Store-bought dough - If you're short on time, you can skip making your own homemade down and use your favorite store bought pizza dough instead.