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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.
This recipe was "tested" for Freezer Tag 2008. I used a long french baguette, cut it in half and then sliced it horizontally. Made the recipe as directed. * Really watch the garlic while it cooks. Baked both halves at one time. The cheese did not stick to the bread, however it had a very good flavor! I wrapped 1/2 of the baked baguette in foil and sealed it in Food Saver plastic and then froze it. When it was time to try the frozen half, I thawed the wrapped bread in the fridge then removed it from the plastic wrap, opened the foil and reheated in a 400 degree oven until heated through. It crisped up very nicely, however the cheese topping did not stick. I'm not sure if another type of cheese would stick better, but I would definitely try this again. It was very nice to come home from work and just pop this in the oven and have this delicious bread ready in no time at all. I'd give it one more star if the cheese had stayed put.
This is by far one of the best garlic breads. I chose this recipe because it was so identical to the way a restaurant used to make it when I worked there years and years ago. ChefTroy is correct; that you have got to allow the oil and garlic to infuse. I followed recipe exactly except I couldnt get my garlic to a paste as I dont have a morter or processor or press. But I did chop as fine as possible. The result was outstanding. I actually made a meal out of it by just adding a side of yellow roasted peppers...its that good! Thanks for sharing!