What's The Best Type Of Bread For Homemade Garlic Bread?

Whether you're having a plate of spaghetti or some lasagna, your meal isn't complete without a hefty slice of garlic bread. Garlic bread is exactly what it sounds like — a slice of bread that is infused with a savory garlicky, buttery flavor and topped with shredded cheese or herbs. You may call it "cheesy bread" or "Texas toast," but this type of crusty, garlicky bread is often seen alongside Italian dinners no matter what it's called.

The history of garlic bread is said to extend all the way back to the ancient Romans. The Roman version of garlic bread is reported to be a slice of day-old bread rubbed down in garlic and olive oil, which made for a cheap meal for poorer Roman citizens. Over time, the Romans' take on garlic bread would spread across Italy, where the idea of combining garlic with bread, perhaps unsurprisingly, gained steadfast popularity.  As Italian immigrants came to the United States, Americans also fell in love with the garlicky, buttery, crusty bread. In fact, it wasn't too long ago that the first-ever frozen garlic bread meant for supermarkets came to be in 1972. From the time of the ancient Romans to your dinner table, garlic bread has certainly come a long way.

But is there one specific type of bread that is best suited for making garlic bread? Some would argue that the best type of bread to use isn't even Italian — it's the French stuff you ought to look for.

French bread is a prime choice to use for garlic bread

Go to your local grocer and pick up a loaf of French bread. Notice the hard, golden crust on the exterior and the soft, light crumb on the interior. This balance between a firm crust and a chewy, airy crumb, makes French bread a prime candidate for making homemade garlic bread.

How do you use French bread to make garlic bread in the first place? A basic recipe for homemade garlic bread has you cut the loaf of bread down its length, splitting it into two long halves in the same way you would split a roll to make a sandwich. In a bowl, combine room-temperature butter, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese to make your garlic-butter mixture — you can adjust this mixture however you like, adding more garlic, more cheese, or different herbs to better suit your taste. Spread this butter mixture across the open-faced side of your bread before putting it into a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden-brown and the butter has melted.

Just as you can change the butter mixture to suit your taste, you can add extra cheeses like mozzarella or asiago to the bread, top it with meats like prosciutto or pepperoni, or vegetables like tomatoes or peppers. In fact, you could even go so far as to make your own French bread pizza, considering you already have the bread and cheese ready.

You can also user other crusty breads

Although French bread is a top choice when you want to make garlic bread, it's not the only type of bread you can use. While you may not be able to use bread with softer crusts (unless you really want to, of course), your next best choices are to look for loaves of bread that are well-known for being very crusty.

A good type of bread you may want to try, for example, is ciabatta. Ciabatta is that "flat" Italian bread with a very soft, almost porous crumb, making it very good for garlic bread. A good recipe for ciabatta garlic bread comes courtesy of Ina Garten, which follows a similar method as to the French bread recipe but substitutes the butter for an olive-oil garlic mixture. 

You could also use white bread if French, Italian, or ciabatta bread is unavailable to you. Giada De Laurentiis' method for using country white bread (the kind of bread you'd usually use for a sandwich) includes coating slices of white bread in a garlic-butter mixture and toasting them for five to eight minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until the bread is golden and toasty. It may not be as "crusty" as other hard, crusty breads, but it can work very well in a pinch and still give you that toasty, crunchy exterior you expect to find in garlic bread.

Whether you use French, ciabatta, or white bread, nothing compliments a spaghetti dinner like homemade garlic bread.