Garlic bread is a simple favorite at many dinner tables. Often made with slices or hunks of thick breads such as French or Italian bread with a topping of garlic and butter, the tradition of serving garlic bread with a number of different pasta dishes and other entrées is common all over the world. Here is the basics of making garlic bread, as well as where to purchase garlic bread that is ready for baking.
The beginning of any good batch of garlic bread starts with the type of bread that is used. A loaf of plain or Italian bread from any supermarket bakery will work fine. Additional seasonings baked on the bread, such as cheeses or sesame seeds, can be used if desired. There should also be plenty of butter on hand, along with garlic powder, salt and minced garlic. The garlic and butter combination can be combined at the time of application or the butter can be melted in advance and allowed to cool to make a garlic spread.
Two methods are used frequently in the preparation of garlic bread. One is to split open the loaf and fill the cavity with butter and garlic of some type. Place the loaf on a sheet of aluminum foil. Using a standard kitchen knife, make a lengthwise cut down the middle of the loaf, not quite going through the bottom crust. Horizontal cuts can also be made if preferred. Pack the slits with butter, minced garlic and garlic powder, then wrap the loaf in the aluminum foil. Heat in the oven for several minutes to melt the butter and allow the flavor of the garlic to work into the bread.
The other method is to separate the loaf into slices or sections for individual application of the garlic and butter. This can be accomplished by using a kitchen knife to slice the bread into sections. However, some people prefer to gently tear the loaf into sections, resulting in a mosaic of rough textured sections. The sections are laid out on a cookie sheet, thickly buttered and sprinkled with garlic salt of powder. Minced garlic pieces can be used to top off the effect. The loaded sheet is placed into a preheated oven, where the butter melts and mixed with the garlic to flavor the bread. This approach will produce a crunchier texture than baking the garlic bread in aluminum foil.
While making garlic bread is easy, it is possible to purchase garlic bread that is already buttered and topped with garlic. Many of these prepared loaves come in their own aluminum pouch, so it is just a matter of baking them in the oven long enough for the butter to melt into the bread. Garlic bread is a wonderful accompaniment to a number of dishes, particularly tomato based soups, lasagna, linguini, or spaghetti. When paired with a tossed green salad and an entrée, garlic bread is the perfect way to balance out a meal and add the pleasant taste of garlic to the meal.