Garlic bread is a kind of roasted or broiled bread that originates from Italy. The bread has a topping of garlic and butter or olive oil and at times even clarified butter is used. During this process the bread is usually roasted or toasted and tends to bring out the flavor of the garlic. The types of breads that are used for the recipe are either Italian bread or the baquette. This process of preparing bread with garlic flavor is similar to that of Bruschetta, which is believed to be the origin of bread, which is toasted bread that has been liberally drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with minced garlic (which is optional). Nowadays, a variety of cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar and feta are used as toppings on the bread.
History of Garlic Bread Recipe
Garlic bread is believed to have originated in the south of Europe where garlic plants have grown for thousands of years. Because of this a lot of garlic recipes came into existence including that of this bread. Present day’s recipe is an off shoot of the Italian Bruschetta, which is bread that was and still is browned on both sides on hot coals. The bread was then coasted liberally with olive oil. Rubbing the top with garlic was optional. This particular recipe was introduced into the US by the Italian and Mediterranean immigrants and it is popular till date and served in most US restaurants along with pasta and fish. However, with time other versions of Bruschetta bread came into existence, which include the toasted bread with chopped onions and tomato toppings. The refined oven baked bread coated with butter or olive oil and rubbed with garlic is today’s version of the bread.
Preparation of the Bread
Garlic bread is prepared by cutting thick slices off the bread loaf, which is then coated liberally with either olive oil or butter (even clarified butter can be used). Thereafter, minced garlic is rubbed on the oil coated bread. Meanwhile, the oven is heated and once the bread slices are ready they are placed in the oven and heated till the garlic flavor gets enhanced. Because of the popularity of the garlic flavored bread, today there are many variations to the bread.
Popular Variations of Garlic Bread Recipe
This bread can be made both crusty and soft. Whichever way it is made, the bread is an ideal accompaniment with Spaghetti and other Italian dishes. Here are some popular variations of this bread recipe –
Crispy Garlic Bread – This is a crispy variation of the original recipe that uses Italian or French bread. Unsalted butter is preferred when used as a topping on the bread. Butter, minced garlic and parsley are the main ingredients that are used as a spread over the sliced bread. Parmesan cheese is used for sprinkling over the oven heated bread, which is broiled for the cheese to melt. This garlic bread is sliced after the bread has cooled.
Soft Garlic Bread – In this variation of the recipe, the bread is sliced into halves but not separated at the base. A paste made of butter, parsley and minced garlic is spread in the centre of the bread, which is then wrapped in aluminum foil and heated in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Herbed Garlic Bread – This variation of garlic bread is made the same way as the crispy variation; however, herbs are added to the butter mixture. This further enhances the flavor of the bread. This is an ideal accompaniment during lunch as well as dinner. Even onion powder, chili powder and at times even freshly cracked pepper add a lot of taste to the bread.
Garlic Bread Recipe Trivia
This bread is prepared differently in Romania, wherein the freshly toasted bread is first rubbed with garlic and then sunflower oil and salt are used for topping the bread.
When the bread is made with French baguette it tastes better because of its thick crust and also tends to stay frozen longer.
Pre-made frozen garlic bread is also readily available in most of the stores in US. Such ready to eat breads can be warmed in the oven.