A while back I had purchased a pre-made garlic bread to serve with some pasta I was making for dinner. I don’t usually buy these types of things but I was short on time and there wasn’t any good bread in the store that day. When I was ready I turned on the broiler, set the loaf on a baking sheet and placed it under the broiler to brown. I always say that when you’re broiling anything you should never walk away from the oven and in fact I didn’t walk away. However just 20 seconds or so after shutting the oven door I noticed a glow from the oven window. I looked in only to see the entire loaf of bread engulfed in flames. I calmly opened the door, grabbed the sheet pan with a pot holder and stepped outside. Sitting the pan on the ground I watched as the bread slowly blackened and turned into a charred brick. The only good thing I can say about this incident was that it was my mother’s oven.
I guess there is a lesson in there somewhere. After that I have always made garlic bread the same way and it uses a technique that was shown on America’s Test Kitchen. There really isn’t anything new about this method, especially if you have ever made grilled cheese sandwiches in a cast iron skillet. The technique is very similar only you use two sheet pans and your oven.
Here’s how I make mine:
You will need two sheet pans for this.
- 1 large loaf of Italian bread (it should be the soft kind not crispy), cut in half evenly lengthwise.
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 cloves of garlic, pressed though a garlic press or extremely finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 1 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese – optional
- Sprinkle of paprika – optional
Preheat the oven with a rack in the center position to 450ºF
In a saucepan over medium low heat put 3 tablespoons of the butter and the garlic and heat until the butter is melted and starts bubbling, stirring occasionally. You just want to let the garlic cook a little bit here that’s all. Set the pan aside to cool a bit.
In a small bowl mix the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter with the salt, basil, oregano and parmesan cheese if using.
When the garlic butter has cooled a bit add that to the bowl and mix everything together into a paste about the consistency of pudding. If your butter melts completely or is too loose, place it into the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up, then stir again.
Spread the butter mix evenly onto each half of bread and lightly sprinkle it with paprika if using.
Place the bread onto a baking sheet butter side up and place into the oven for about 3 minutes, this just allows the butter to melt down into the bread.
Using oven mitts remove the sheet pan from the oven and flip the bread over so the butter side is on the pan. Take a second sheet pan and place it on top of the bread and press it down lightly. This will help keep the bread surface in contact with the pan (just like a grilled cheese sandwich!). Place both sheet pans back in the oven and allow it to cook for another 7 to 8 minutes until the bread is nicely golden brown.
Slice the bread on an angle (or really anyway you choose) and serve.