A little effort goes a long way. In the case of garlic bread, there’s nothing wrong with spreading butter on bread, topping it with minced garlic and broiling it; but a butter-basted loaf sprinkled with cheese and smeared with roasted garlic is simply a better way of doing things.
San Francisco–based bakery Tartine churns out French-style rustic loaves that have garnered a rabid following (and a James Beard Award). Its bread is impossibly good straight-up, but when stuffed with butter, garlic and herbs, it transforms into a crowd-pleasing side dish. From Tartine’s Elisabeth Pruiett comes a new cookbook, Tartine All Day, rife with recipes grounded in technique and easy to iterate on — like Whole-Loaf Cheesy Garlic Bread. As a game-night snack, accompaniment to grilled steaks or roast chicken, it’s a perennial favorite made new. Just be sure to start with the best bread you can find.
Whole-Loaf Cheesy Garlic Bread
Makes 4–8 Servings
1 oval or round loaf of country-style bread
1–2 cups grated semi-firm or firm cheese (such as raclette, fontina, cheddar or gruyère)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (plus more as needed)
2 full heads plus 4 chopped cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon plus 2 pinches sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsely
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the top quarter off of the garlic heads and rub with the oil, making sure some seeps into the top of each. Season with 2 pinches of salt. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
2. Lower the oven to 350°F. Slice the upper crust of the loaf in a crosshatch pattern, cutting down through the upper crust and the middle of the loaf but not cutting all the way through to the bottom crust. Place the roasted garlic heads, cut-side down, in the center of a baking dish and set the loaf on top of them, gently pressing the ends of bread so that it curves in a convex shape to reveal the interior cubes and crevices.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Decrease the heat to low, add the chopped garlic, and swirl the pot to gently cook the garlic without letting it brown, about 1 minute. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and rosemary, swirling to mix well.
4. Brush the flavored butter into all the crevices and on top of the bread. If you need more butter, melt a few more tablespoons and keep basting the bread until it’s covered.
5. Sprinkle the cheese over the loaf, making sure some settles between the cuts as well as on top. (The loaf can be made up to this point, then wrapped well and placed in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is crisp on top. Serve straight out of the oven, along with the roasted garlic for scooping out and spreading on the bread.
Buy the Book
The recipe above appears in Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook, by Elisabeth Prueitt, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Buy Now: $26