22 March 2011

Secret Ingredient Garlic Bread

Dear Lissy,
Last night you helped -- really helped -- make your Dad's 40th birthday dinner.  We spent a wonderful half hour in the kitchen together, and you made the salads, set the table, and filled water glasses.  Dad usually chooses steak tips, and this year was no exception.  I made a toasted garlic bread recipe I've been tinkering with for over a decade to accompany the meal.
The original photo that accompanied the recipe

When we switched to minimally processed foods a couple of years ago, I realized this bread needed a little more flavor in the topping to offset the heartier taste and texture of whole wheat bread.  I experimented with various herbs, the amounts of garlic, and even the type of cheese.  When I went back to the original recipe last year, I found a variation using chipotles en adobo which resulted in a nearly perfect loaf of garlic bread, even if the authenticity was slightly lacking.  Most people can't taste the chipotle, they just know they love the bread.

Toasted Chipotle Garlic Bread
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Sep./Oct. 1999
10 medium garlic cloves, skins on
8 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1 small can chipotle chiles en adobo
1 pound loaf whole wheat, high quality Italian bread

  1. Halve loaves lengthwise by placing hand firmly on top of bread and using a gentle sawing motion with bread knife to separate the top and bottom halves.  Place bread cut sides up on a baking sheet.  Move oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Toast garlic cloves in a small dry skillet on medium high heat (tossing frequently) until they color slightly and release their fragrance, about 8 minutes. When cool enough handle, skin and mince cloves.  You should have about 3 Tbsp mashed garlic.
  3. Mince 1-1/2 chiles very fine for 1 Tbsp total
  4. Mash together softened butter, parmesan, and garlic, chiles, and 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from can until throughly combined.
  5. Spread cut sides of loaf evenly with mixture, season to taste with black pepper. Bake 10-12 minutes until tops are golden brown and toasted.  Cut each half into 2" slices and serve immediately.
Mom's notes:
  • Make a quick version of this bread using 2-3 Tbsp minced roasted garlic from a jar and 3/4 -1 tsp chipotle chile powder.  
  • Top the finished loaf with shredded mozzarella and run it under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly for a heartier side dish.  If you add a ladle of hot marinara before the cheese, it can serve as a meal along with a salad.
  • If you choose to use white bread, cut the butter back by 2 Tbsp. or it will be greasy. 
  • For freestyle Philly cheese steaks, top the finished loaf with thinly sliced steak or roast beef, carmelized onions, and shredded 4 cheese blend.  Broil until melted and bubbly and cut each half into thirds.
When you start playing around with this bread, be sure you send me your updates!  

Much love,


  1. interesting combo! sounds good :)

  2. I am new to your blog came over from Raising Homemakers..........this recipe looks wonderful!!!!!!!!!! I think my girls and I will have to try. Thank you so for sharing your recipe. Your blog is so pretty!

    Blessings, Linda
    Prairie Flower Farm