Have you just finished making that wonderful slow cooked hearty soup or superb pasta dish,ready to serve but have forgotten, or too lazy, to make garlic bread?
You can have yummy garlic, herb or, my favourite, parmesan bread in minutes, the quick & easy way, if you keep the key ingredients on hand.
Warning, may lead to heart failure when consumed in bulk ;)
Step 1: Quick & Easy Way - What You Need
What you need to have in your pantry:
Bread - of course.
You can use bread sticks, baguettes, rolls or any bread. The quick & easy way is sliced bread, preferably thick toasty white bread. But you use whatever is in the pantry. Two slices per serve works for me.
You could use any, including butter or margarine, but I prefer olive oil. The quick & easy way is garlic infused olive oil spray (or for US readers), or if you can't find that, olive oil spray or, if you're desperate, any other oil spray, but I don't think it would taste as good.
I have not tried using fresh garlic or the crushed garlic in a jar, you could try these with butter or margarine, however; the quick & easy way is the garlic infused oil and/or other oil along with powdered garlic from your spice rack.
Again fresh herbs are not ideal for this. The quick & easy way uses herbs from your spice rack, any dry herbs you like, tarragon is one of my favourites. Try to match your herb to your meal of course, mixed Italian herbs in a large jar is always on my spice shelf and is perfect for Italian foods.
Not really my thing on bread apart from some black pepper occasionally, but your taste may differ. Any dry powdered spice is suitable if you like it.
Yum. The drier aged types is the best, finely grated. The quick & easy way uses finely grated aged/extra sharp in the bag from your fridge (from the supermarket).
You could use your grill, but the quick & easy way toasts both sides at the same time.
Paper towels and/or Chopping board.
Napkin or anything to collect overspray. If you use a chopping board you can just clean it later. I use both.
Of the cutlery type. You don't have to use one but it can help. You will need a bread knife if you're not using the quick & easy way - sliced bread. It's also handy to cut the finished bread into smaller pieces for serving.
Step 2: Preperation - the Quick & Easy Way
Decide on what mix of flavours you want and gather your ingredients.
In the pictures you will see a mix of types; Herbed Garlic & Parmesan Bread, Garlic Baguette & Garlic & Smoked Paprika Baguette.
This is fairly easy and once you have done it a couple of times you can get a small production line done the quick & easy way.I only need a couple at a time tho.
Get your chopping board and/or layout your paper towel/napkin. Placing an object in the right place to drape the towel over provides a vertical section, as pictured, which helps catch over-spray.
If necessary slice your bread into thick pieces that will just fit into your toaster. When using rolls etc, it is best to slice across forming double sided splices, rather than longitudinally which leaves a crust on one side. Serve the crusty end pieces with butter they don't suit this method.
Layout bread pieces in the center of the paper towels. Spray the olive oil over the bread surface, making sure you cover the crust and side of the crust, as it may burn. You can use another piece of bread as a shield and/or backdrop catching over-spray so it isn't wasted. Getting the nozzle close also reduces over-spray.
Repeat for all the slices & then turn over the stack, repeat to spray the other sides.
So now you should have a stack of bread, oiled on both sides. Get you flavourings ready or if you're happy with the strength of the garlic infused oil and making just plain garlic bread, proceed to the next step.
I usually like a stronger flavour so add powdered garlic, it also adds to the toasty colour. For this you need to lightly sprinkle the garlic powder evenly over the oiled bread to taste. I usually do one side only, it gets messy doing both sides.
Here you're also adding the herbs, spices & parmesan cheese, similarly sprinkle to taste. Do not make the cheese thick, you just need a single sparse layer to get the flavour.
This is where you can use the knife to press the ingredients firmly into contact with the oil, ensuring they don't fall off. Often, if you have used sufficient oil you do not need to do this. Because..
Now is the time for a final spray which makes the ingredients stick to the bread. If you used herbs, initial short sharp sprays from a greater range can help prevent the light herbs getting blown away. Repeat for all the slices, and you're ready for, Making...
If you only have butter or margarine, which is not ideal, basically lightly spread on one side only, sprinkle the ingredients and smooth over again with the knife & you're ready. You could try spreading both sides, but compared to oil spray, it gets messy.
Step 3: Making It the Quick & Easy Way
Get your toaster ready. If you have trouble with bits falling off the bread you can prop something, like a cutting board or wooden spoon, under one side of the toaster so the bread is not vertical, as pictured. But I find when the right amount of oil is used for the final spray you can make it work vertically.
Carefully, without shaking, leaving the turn to vertical to the last moment, load your oiled & flavoured bread into the toaster.
You will have to fiddle with the right toaster setting until you get it right. Start slightly higher than you usually use for toast.
Now the quick & easy way; Toast. Repeat as needed.
Serve. You can slice the toast into triangles or fingers to make it look professional.
Eat. Leave the cleaning-up for later...open another bottle of wine...
I was always going to do this 'ible, but the final trigger was the Oil & Vinegar competition, so I though about vinegar...and other things...
Step 4: Quick & Easy Way - Experiment!
The Quick & Easy way, is so...quick & easy that you can try and experiment with different flavours and combinations.
As you saw earlier, I tried Garlic & Smoked Paprika, and it turned out pretty good.
Basically anything that the oil will keep stuck to the bread is a candidate.
How about Garlic and:
- Sugar, ʘʘ
- Chilli powder or flakes,
- Sesame seeds, (maybe turn the heat down)
- Crushed Cornflakes™(ditto), (?)
- Onion flakes,
- Mushroom powder,
- A splash of Tabasco or Balsamic?
- Salt & Vinegar?
If it sounds tasty, give it a go, it's only a slice of bread for the dog if it doesn't work. ᴥ woof.
See the results of my adventures in the last photo. I don't have a dog, but if I did she'd still be hungry...
p.p.s The Bacon Onion & Tomato Sprinkle was a bit old so I didn't use it. I'll buy some more and let you know.
and one more. I've just seen things like this, which may be cheaper than spray cans over time: Oil Sprayer