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Water Cooler: Easy homemade garlic bread

UPDATED: Thu., July 8, 2021

 (Pixabay)
(Pixabay)

What’s a spaghetti dinner without that savory, buttery garlic bread? The store-bought stuff will do, but nothing beats making it at home. There are a couple ways to do it, both of them simple and delicious. Try them out and soon you’ll be make spaghetti all the time just as an excuse to eat more scrumptious garlic bread.

The first method takes hardly any effort, but has huge pay off in terms of texture and fresh garlic flavor. Use any loaf of bread or baguette and slice it in rounds or slice it lengthwise down the middle in halves.

Spread a generous amount of butter on the crumb, ensuring you coat it to the edges. Place it buttered-side down into a cold pan, then turn the heat to medium. If you want it crunchy on both sides, butter the other side and flip after the toasted side becomes golden brown.

Once toasted to your liking, cut a garlic clove in half and rub the cut edge all over the buttered sides of the toasted bread. Although you’re not putting chopped garlic directly on the bread, this will still scent the bread of fresh garlic. You can add additional butter if you want, then sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt. This method won’t result in as strong of a garlic flavor as the traditional method, but it’s great in a pinch or if you’re low on time.

For a more traditional garlic bread that more closely resembles the store bought version we’re used to, transfer one cup of softened butter to a mixing bowl. Add in about four to six cloves of finely chopped garlic, one-quarter cup of flat leaf parsley and one-quarter cup of Parmigiano Reggiano. If you need to substitute that with grated parmesan you can, but it won’t have as rich of a flavor.

Stir the ingredients together and generously spread the butter over a loaf of ciabatta or similar bread that has been cut lengthwise down the middle. Save any leftover garlic butter in the refrigerator for up to a week as the flavors will only intensify over time. You can use the butter on just about anything, such as baked chicken or in a pasta sauce.

Heat an oven on 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the bread buttered-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and let toast for about 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the bread begin to become a crunchy golden brown. Remove from the oven and slice the bread into one-inch slices to serve. The bread will be fresh and toasty around the crust, yet perfectly moist and flavorful in the crumb.

Another great cheat for garlic bread is making a garlic confit. You can make this by simmering about 10 cloves of peeled garlic in about one cup of either olive oil or unsalted butter, depending on your preference. Simmer for about 15 minutes on low to medium heat until the garlic cloves soften. Remove the garlic and mash, then return it back to the butter or oil. You can add a variety of herbs such as rosemary, thyme or oregano and store the mixture in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Whenever you need infused butter for a recipe or for a loaf of bread, you can pull it out of the refrigerator for a quick blast of flavor.

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