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I've tried to copy the garlic bread from a neighborhood bakery back home, but I can't come close to the quality of bread that they bake. My grandmother and uncles would always buy 2 half loaves each Sunday morning, one for the ride home and one for Sunday lunch. I use fresh baked French loaves or a chewy Italian loaf.
- 1 loaf bread (uncut and fresh as possible)
- 3 -4 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste (I use a mortar and pestle but you can probably use your press or processor)
- 2 teaspoons dried chili pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter (adds a little more depth and richness)
- 2 cups parmesan cheese (not out of a store-bought shaker) or 2 cups romano cheese, grated (not out of a store-bought shaker)
- The trick with this recipe is to infuse the oil with the garlic. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.
- Using a small skillet and over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil, butter, and garlic until butter melts. Make sure you add garlic to the cold pan and let it warm along with the oil and butter.
- Once butter is melted, reduce heat to low and let the oil/butter/garlic mixture cook for another 5 minutes.
- Make sure you do not brown the garlic. If it starts to brown, remove from heat alltogether and let sit for 5 minutes off-heat to further infuse the oil.
- You can also microwave the oil, butter, and garlic for 45 seconds to a minute to speed this up, but this doesn't give the mixture near the flavor as the skillet method.
- While oil infuses, cut loaf of bread length-wise so you have two long halves.
- Brush or spoon oil onto the cut-sides of the bread, making sure to cover all the way to the edges. It's okay to have some of the garlic from the mixture added as well, in fact it's preferred.
- Sprinkle the dry seasons on the loaves (basil, thyme, and chili).
- Salt and pepper the loaves.
- Spread the parm or romano cheese on both loaves (I've even used some mozzarela for the string effect).
- Bake incovered at 350 degress for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and begins to brown.
- Slice in big chuncks and serve alongside your favorite pasta or lasagna.