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Christmas Tree Dough Balls

‘Tis the season to tear and share!

Instructions

  • Tip the flour into a large bowl followed by the yeast, sugar and 1 tsp of fine salt. Mix together, then add the melted butter and 275ml warm water.

  • Mix until a dough form, then knead for 10 mins by hand 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.

  • Line your largest baking tray with baking paper and dust with crushed polenta. 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.

  • 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.

  • Heat oven to 200C or 180C for fan assisted ovens. When the dough is ready, uncover the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins or 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 and serve with a tomato dip!

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