Christmas tree garlic bread

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(6 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 55 mins plus rising

More effort

Serves 8 - 12

Each piece of this pull-apart bread has a melted mozarella centre. Brushed with garlic butter and served with a tomato dipping sauce, this will be a hit at any Christmas party buffet table

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (12)

  • kcal361
  • fat20g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs35g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre2g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 100g butter, melted (buy a 250g pack and use the rest in the garlic butter)



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • drizzle of oil, for greasing
  • 2 tbsp fine polenta or cornmeal



    An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…

  • 150g pack mozzarella (about 20 balls)

For the tomato dipping sauce

  • small knob of butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar

For the garlic butter

  • 140g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • small bunch parsley, finely chopped (leave a little leftover to garnish, if you like)



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Tip the flour into a large bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Add the yeast and sugar to one side of the bowl and 1 tsp fine salt to the other. Mix together, then add the melted butter and 275ml warm water. Mix to a dough, then knead for 10 mins by hand (or 5 mins in a freestanding mixer) until the dough feels stretchy and soft. Clean out the bowl, then lightly grease with a little oil. Turn the dough over in the oiled bowl until it’s well coated. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and set aside somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size. Alternatively, put the dough in the fridge and leave to rise slowly for 2 days (bring it to room temperature before continuing to step 2).

  2. Line your largest baking sheet with parchment, and dust with polenta or cornmeal. Drain the mozzarella and dry the balls on some kitchen paper. Tip the dough onto your work surface and punch out the air bubbles. To make a Christmas tree shape, you’ll need 23 balls. Tear off lumps of dough, ensuring each one is roughly the same size (if you want to be exact, weigh the dough, divide the weight by 23, then weigh each ball of dough as you break them off).

  3. Shape each piece of dough into a disc and place a ball of mozzarella in the middle. Pull up the sides of the dough to encase the cheese, pinching the dough together to seal. Roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet, sealed-side down, in a tree shape. Leave a little space between each ball, as they will grow when proving. You’re likely to have 2 or 3 balls without mozzarella, so use these pieces of dough for the trunk – for anyone who doesn’t like cheese. Cover the tray with a sheet of oiled cling film and set aside for 30 mins until almost doubled in size.

  4. While the dough proves, make the tomato dipping sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the garlic and sizzle for 30 secs until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, oregano, vinegar, sugar and some seasoning. Bubble for 30 mins until the sauce is thick. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

  5. When the dough is ready, uncover the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown. Meanwhile, make the garlic butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the garlic and sizzle for 1-2 mins until the garlic is a shade darker (but not brown). When the bread is cooked, transfer it to a platter. Stir most of the parsley into the garlic butter and use a pastry brush to brush it all over the bread. Leave it to soak in, then brush on more. Sprinkle over a little extra parsley to garnish, if you like. Reheat the tomato sauce and serve it alongside the bread with any remaining garlic butter.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Liv Watson's picture
Liv Watson
7th May, 2020
Glorious! My whole family thought it was a triumph. I added a sachet of Allinson's wild garlic and herb addition to the dough and it worked well to boost the garlic flavour.
8th Apr, 2016
Excellent. Used slightly more than 7g yeast, so can't comment on how light this bread turns out with the recommended amount, but it ended up incredibly fluffy. I would recommend either using a very sweet vinegar or greatly increasing the amount of sugar in the sauce -- these salty breads really need a sweet dip, and if there's one thing tomatoes don't lack, it's acidity.
RosieVimes's picture
15th Jan, 2016
This was SO good! Easy to make and turned out to be the lightest, fluffiest bread I've ever made! 5 stars!
7th Dec, 2017
Would it be possible to make this the day before and just warm it up the next day?
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Dec, 2017
Thanks for question. For best results, we'd recommend cooking it on the day but you can make the dough two days ahead. Once kneaded, put it in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and store in the fridge for two days, then bring back to room temperature before shaping and proving. The tomato dipping sauce can also be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
15th Sep, 2016
Hello. What vegan substitute can I use for the melted butter? I would like to make these for a party and have a vegan guest.
goodfoodteam's picture
29th Sep, 2016
Hi there,This recipe contains quite a lot of dairy ingredients and we haven't tested it with substitutions so cannot vouch for how well it would turn out using alternatives. Our vegan recipe collection may help you to plan the menu for your party. Best of luck!
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