Pull-Apart Christmas Tree Bread

Recipe by Sarah Jampel

This pull-apart Christmas tree bread will steal all the attention at this year's holiday party. But it’s more than cute: It’s also flavorful, with soft, herb-flecked rolls topped with melty cheese. Garnish it right away with pesto (to look like pine needles!) and pizza sauce (ornaments!) at a more casual gathering or, for a neater presentation at a larger get-together, put the sauces in bowls for dipping.  

30 mins
20 to 30 mins
2 hrs 40 mins
30 rolls
Mix Tips
Pull-Apart Christmas Tree Bread  - select to zoom
Pull-Apart Christmas Tree Bread  - select to zoom
Pull-Apart Christmas Tree Bread - select to zoom
Pull-Apart Christmas Tree Bread  - select to zoom


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  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.   

  2. To make the dough: In a large bowl, add the flour, 1 cup (227g) of the water, garlic oil, egg, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough, 5 to 7 minutes by hand or 3 to 5 minutes in a stand mixer. 

  3. Add the cheese blend, Parmesan, and the remaining 2 tablespoons (28g) water and knead until fully combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl as needed to make sure all the cheese is incorporated. 

  4. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turn to coat, cover, and let it rise until it’s nearly doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. 

  5. To assemble the bread: Line a baking sheet with parchment. (Alternatively, grease a Christmas tree pan and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.)

  6. On a lightly greased work surface, pat the dough into a rough 8" square, then use a bench knife or sharp knife to cut it into 5 rows and 6 columns to make 30 pieces (26g to 28g each). Shape each piece into a tight ball, dip in the remaining 2 tablespoons garlic oil to lightly coat, and arrange on the baking sheet or in a Christmas tree pan. If using a baking sheet, arrange the dough in a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 5, 2, 2 formation to look like a tree.  

  7. Cover the baking sheet or the tree pan and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the dough is noticeably puffy.  

  8. Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. 

  9. When dough has risen, sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan over the top. (If using the Christmas tree pan, avoid sprinkling cheese to the very edges, which can cause sticking.) Sprinkle with red pepper flakes as desired. 

  10. Bake the Christmas tree bread for 20 to 30 minutes (rolls baked on the baking sheet will be done earlier than those baked in the tree pan), until the rolls are golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer.  

  11. Serve the Christmas tree bread warm, either dolloped with pesto and tomato sauce or served on the side for dipping. 

  12. Storage instructions: The Christmas tree bread is best enjoyed warm from the oven. To reheat, cover in foil and place in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until warm. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • Simplify this recipe with a box of our Soft White Dinner Roll Mix! After kneading together the mix as instructed on the box, follow the directions starting at step 3 (adding Formaggio Italiano cheese blend, additional water, and Parmesan). Continue to follow the recipe as instructed, baking either in a Christmas tree pan or directly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.