Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread

christmas tree shaped pull apart bread table setting
Photo: Bryan Gardner
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
27 rolls

Garlic knots form a festive Christmas tree when baked together and trimmed with "holly" and "ornaments" made of mini red peppers, fresh green herbs, and white mozzarella pearls.



  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (not rapid-rise)

  • 4 ½ teaspoons plus a pinch of sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl

  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs, whisked

  • 2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from 1 clove)

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan

  • Sweety Drop peppers, fresh mozzarella pearls, and sage and rosemary sprigs, for garnish


  1. Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees), and pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add butter, milk, salt, remaining 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and eggs; stir to combine. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with dough-hook attachment. Slowly add flour and mix on low speed until mixture just comes together. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until dough is soft and elastic, about 7 minutes.

  3. Lightly brush a large bowl with butter. Place dough in bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight; bring to room temperature before baking).

  4. Filling: Combine butter, garlic, parsley, chives, and salt in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Stretch into a 7-by-15-inch rectangle. Spread herb-butter mixture evenly over dough. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut dough crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Roll each strip into a spiral and tuck end underneath. Arrange in the shape of a tree on prepared sheet, forming two rows of five, two rows of four, two rows of three, one row of two, and one row of one. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until dough is puffy and soft, about 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until lightly browned, 22 to 25 minutes. Decorate with peppers, mozzarella pearls, and sage and rosemary sprigs.

Cook's Notes

Sweety Drop peppers and mozzarella pearls can be found in the olive bar section of the supermarket.


The pull-apart bread dough can be swapped out for 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, thawed if frozen.

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