Garlic bread really is some of the best stuff on earth. Growing up in the 80s, I can't remember a pizza dinner, church basement potluck, or softball game after-party that didn't have a giant mound of buttery garlic bread somewhere in the vicinity. And it was always gone by the time the paper plates were cleared.
Bread, butter, garlic. That's all you need for a truly outstanding, party-winning batch of garlic bread. In case you need a refresher on your 80s education, here's how you can make some garlic bread of your own tonight.
The Best Loaf for Garlic Bread
Don't feel like you need to get fancy with your bread here. Something more or less baguette-shaped and with a nicely soft middle will do the job just fine. Confession: I bought the bread used here at my local chain grocery store. In fact, the crust on a truly artisan baguette would likely be too thick and chewy to make good garlic bread. Save your pennies.
Putting It All Together
You can go about the actual baking step a few different ways: you can melt the butter and the garlic before brushing it on the loaves, use olive oil instead of butter, bake the loaves wrapped in foil, or not bake the loaves in foil. (You get the idea.)
I opt for the absolute simplest approach and haven't had leftovers yet. Mix together softened butter and garlic, spread it on the sliced baguette, and bake until warm and golden. A minute under the broiler also gives the slices a nice toasty color. This is about as minimally fussy as it gets, plus no extra dishes to clean.
Garlic Bread Is Quick!
Garlic bread is really a last-minute, just-before-sitting-down affair. It bakes quickly — in about 15 minutes — and it's best while that butter is still molten enough to drip down your chin (a central garlic bread-eating experience). Leave it until everything else is ready to go, then pop the garlic bread in the oven. If everyone isn't already at the table, I guarantee that the aromas of the garlic bread coming out of the oven will be their siren call.
How To Make Garlic Bread
Serves 8 to 12
What You Need
baguette or other artisan loaf
(4 ounces) salted butter, softened to room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons
minced garlic, from about 6 cloves of garlic
garlic powder, optional
Minced parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Also, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch drips.
Cut the baguette in half: Cut the baguette in half down its length, opening it like a hotdog bun. If the baguette is too long to fit on your baking sheet, you can also cut the halves into smaller pieces.
Mix together the butter, garlic, and garlic powder: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, and garlic powder until they form a thick, uniform paste.
Spread the butter: Spread the butter evenly over the baguette halves.
Bake for 15 minutes: After 15 minutes, the butter should have melted and the bread will be crispy and warm.
Broil for 1 to 2 minutes (optional): For extra-crispy garlic bread, run the bread under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden.
Slice and serve: Cut the garlic bread into individual portions, pile onto a serving platter, and sprinkle with parsley. For a family meal, cut the bread into squares; for a larger party, cut into smaller 3-bite pieces.
Reheating garlic bread: Garlic bread is really best eaten right out of the oven, but if you need to reheat it later at a party, or have leftovers the next day, pile the leftover squares in foil and bake at 300°F until warm and toasty. Leftovers reheat well once, but start to dry out after that.
Garlic bread croutons or breadcrumbs: You can also toast leftover garlic bread at 250°F until completely dry, then cut into croutons for salads or pulse in a food processor into breadcrumbs. Croutons will keep for a few days in an airtight container; breadcrumbs will keep frozen for up to 3 months.