This Christmassy, cheese-stuffed, pull apart bread is a delicious festive appetizer. A guaranteed showstopping centerpiece to your feast table.
Foods shaped in festive ways is tacky to some but I just love it. Not only is it so fun, no-one can help but smile when they see a Christmas tree-shaped pull apart bread. Now stuff that bread with cheese, sprinkle it with dried herbs and bake until golden and you have an adorable AND delicious festive appetizer. The perfect addition to your cheese board and simply delicious served with soup as a side dish.
Table of Contents
- Warm water. You want the water to be warm, not hot. If the water is too warm it will kill the yeast.
- Instant yeast.
- Flour. All purpose flour or bread flour.
- Dried herbs.
How to make a festive pull apart bread
- The dough. My recipe is simple (even easier if you make it in a stand mixer) but you can use any shop bought bread dough for this recipe. Allow chilled dough to come up to room temperature before stuffing and forming. Break dough into balls the size of golf balls, flatten in the palm of your hand, stuff with cheese and bring the corners in. Pinch together and form into balls.
- Cheese. I used mozzarella but you can use cubes of cheddar, Fontina, Raclette or Havarti.
- Baking – Form the cheese-stuffed dough into a Christmas tree on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow a little space in between the dough balls as they will rise while the oven preheats. Brush with egg wash then sprinkle with dried herbs of your choice. I like adding a sprinkle of sea salt flakes too. Bake until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Can I make this in advance?
The dough can be made the day before and kept in the fridge. The assemble bread can covered and refrigerated for a day as well. The baked bread can be kept loosely covered for up to 6 hours and served at room temperature.
Christmas appetizer recipes
- Cranberry and brie puff pastry wreath
- Baked brie
- Easy Antipasto Christmas wreath
- The ultimate cheese board
Cheesy Christmas Tree Pull Apart Bread
- 1 cup warm water
- 10 g (2tsp) instant yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp butter
For the filling
- 200 g Mozzarella cubed (use any good melting cheese you like)
For the topping
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tbsp dried herbs (I used standard mixed herbs but you can use any dried herb seasoning of your choice)
- flaky sea salt
For serving (optional)
- Pomegranate rubies
- To make the dough, whisk together the water, yeast and sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until frothy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt and mix.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and mix until the dough starts to come together. Add the egg and butter then knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl while kneading.
- If the dough is too sticky, add 2-3 tablespoons flour, one tbsp at a time and allow to knead until the dough is smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, break golf-ball sized pieces off and flatten in the palm of your hand. Add a cube of cheese then bring all the edges up, pinching them together then roll into balls.
- Place the dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or large sheet pan in the shape of a Christmas tree. Allow a little space in between the dough balls.
- Cover the Christmas tree bread loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise while the oven heats up.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Brush the risen bread with beaten egg and sprinkle with dried herbs and salt.
- Place in the oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes then decorate with pomegranate rubies and rosemary (optional) before serving.