This is a quick-rise bread that makes the most amazing fluffy and tasty pull-apart bread buns filled with gooey mozzarella cheese. It really is amazing that they are gluten-free!

With the addition of dried or fresh herbs, the bread is full of flavour and smells irresistible. The fun part is pulling apart the warm bread and watching the cheese stretch away from each side of the bun.

In Germany, there is a similar gluten bread called Partybrot (Party bread), but without the mozzarella and herbs. The bread is shaped the same way and has a similar fluffy texture often served as a decorative centrepiece at parties. This recipe would be perfect as a gluten-free Partybrot filled with different variations like the addition of ham, pesto, stronger cheese like Gruyere or Cheddar. If you plan to make several, just remember to make them on the day. They can be reheated gently in a low oven (covered in foil so they don’t dry out).

If you prefer no cheese nor herbs, then this bread will make an excellent sandwich with your favourite filling. Assemble the sandwich when the bread is at room temperature and ideally made on the same day as baking, otherwise, reheat the buns as instructed, to accompany soups and casseroles instead.

Gluten-Free Mozzarella Pull-Apart Bread

Ingredients:
  • 300ml full-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dried yeast
  • 400g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 50g tapioca flour
  • 10g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, parsley, rosemary & basil or 1 tablespoon each of fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (reduce to 1 tsp if your store-bought flour has xanthan gum already included in the blend)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 200g mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 equal pieces
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to season
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced in half
  • Salt, to season the tops of the rolls
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Resting time: 1 hour
  • Baking time: 30 minutes
  • Cooling time: 15-20 minutes
  1. Heat the milk in the microwave on HIGH for 1 ½ minutes or on the stove until it is warm to touch.

2. Stir in the honey and sugar, followed by the yeast.

3. Cover the milk mixture with plastic film and set it aside in a warm place to activate for 10 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, mix the flours, Parmesan cheese, dried or fresh herbs, garlic powder, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.

5. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolks, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add this mixture to the flour mixture.

6. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Mix well.

7. In a clean oil-free glass or ceramic bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.

8.​ Fold the egg whites thoroughly into the flour mixture using two spatulas.

9. Line a 23cm round cake or springform tin with baking paper, trimming the excess paper nearer to the edge of the tin. This step is crucial to avoid the buns sticking to the tin due to some of the cheese oozing out.

10. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop 8 pieces of dough into the tin. Don’t worry if the dough balls touch each other, they are supposed to be snug in the tin.

11. Place the mozzarella pieces on each dough ball. Crack some black pepper over the mozzarella.

12. Repeat scooping and positioning 8 dough balls on top of the mozzarella pieces.

13. Using your fingers, dip them in some warm water and gently smooth out the tops of the dough balls and tidy up the sides if the cheese is poking out. This step may remind you of pottery classes. Take your time here to make nice looking buns.

14. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Set aside to rise in a warm place for one hour.

15. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, turn the heat off and add the halved garlic cloves, Cover and set aside to infuse.

16. Just before the rising time comes to an end, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

17. Bake for 15 minutes on the middle shelf.

18. Cover the tin with some foil to prevent the bread from over-browning. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if you see some of the mozzarella cheese between the bread buns. They will set when cooled down and add an extra texture of flavour and crunchiness.

19. Brush the bread with the melted garlic-butter infusion.

20. Allow the rolls to cool in the tin for 15 to 20 minutes.

21. Remove the bread from the tin by lifting both sides of the baking paper. Remove the paper from the bread and place the intact bread arrangement down on a wire mesh.

22. Pull apart each warm bun when serving.

  • Makes 8 bread buns
  • Best eaten on the same day
  • Chill each bun wrapped in plastic wrap
  • Reheat individual buns uncovered in the microwave for 1 – 1,30 minutes on the second-highest setting
  • Reheat entire pull-apart bread in a low oven covered in foil for 15 minutes
  • Freezes well wrapped in plastic & foil.

Some variations: 

  • Add some ham pieces or a dollop of homemade pesto together with the mozzarella cheese
  • Add extra grated Parmesan cheese on top of the bread after brushing with the infused garlic butter