Homemade Garlic Bread Baguettes

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homemade_garlic_bread

Crusty homemade bread with wedges of creamy garlic butter

Garlic bread. The ultimate in comfort food, this simple snack was elevated to superstar status back in 2003 by Bolton-born Peter Kay’s famous sketch. Since then, it’s become nigh on impossible for people in the UK to pass a packet, produce a plate or merely mention the stuff without some smart arse chipping in with a round of ‘Garlic bread?’ intoned in a slightly nasal Northern accent.

Kay may have had his reservations, but there are few things more satisfying than the simple combination of good bread and garlic. Bruschetta made from toasted bread straight off the barbeque –  rubbed with garlic and drizzled in olive oil – is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but for something with a little more rib-sticking clout, it’s hard to beat a buttery stick of good homemade garlic bread.

garlic_baguette

Baguettes ready to be sliced & spread with homemade garlic butter

For many, those two words might conjure up the image of spaghetti and meatballs, red and white checked tablecloths, dodgy Italian accents and bottles of Chianti dripping with candle wax. For me, it’s my younger years.

When I was little, my Mum would keep me and my brother quiet in the supermarket by tearing the end off a crusty baguette for us to chew on as we rolled up and down the aisles. Later, the same baguette would reappear as a tea-time treat, thinly scored, wedged with garlic butter and wrapped in a blanket of tin foil. Peeling back the shiny layers would reveal a toasty brown crust, buttery crumb and thin sheen of greasy, parsley-flecked goodness; the ultimate challenge being to break into the package without burning your fingers or mouth. Dangerous but utterly delicious.

freshly_baked_baguettes

Freshly baked baguettes

Nowadays you can buy the stuff in stiff little supermarket packets everywhere; anaemic-looking loaves that live in the fridge alongside microwave meals and other substances designed as much to fill stomach space as to provide any real eating pleasure. Reading that sentence back I realize that making my own bread may have made me more than a bit militant, but the difference between this homemade version and the garlic bread you can buy in the shops really is massive, I promise.

I’m not even saying you have to make your own bread. Yes, it feels amazing (possibly in a slightly smug way) to make the whole thing from scratch. But you can also get great results from a (good) shop-bought baguette. Just make sure it’s the wider kind, not one of those super-thin baguettes which don’t hold enough butter and tend to get a little dry in the baking.

homemade_garlic_bread

Buttery baguette, ready for the oven (sadly I don’t have any ‘after’ photos – it was eaten too quickly!)

I made these baguettes for a big family dinner party last night. With eight people coming, I thought four fairly large baguettes might be a little excessive. Carniverous Boyfriend thought otherwise. And he was right. Alongside starters, two huge lasagne and bowls brimming with salad, we devoured the lot. We probably could have eaten half as many again, everyone diving in gleefully to tear and share the crusty, garlicky goodness.

And yes, the obligatory cry of ‘Garlic bread?!’ may have been heard across the dinner table, but with mouths full of delicious homemade bread and hands reaching for more, we hardly had the strength to raise an eyebrow in addition.

Homemade Garlic Bread

For the baguettes

Ingredients:

One quantity of homemade white dough, rested for one hour (using Richard Bertinet’s recipe here - follow my instructions up to the point where you leave the dough to rest for an hour, then pick up with the directions below).

Method:

Turn your risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into four equal sized pieces – they should weight about 215g each. Flatten each piece with the heel of your hand to form an oval shape, then fold each edge into the centre of the dough to form a tight ball. Leave to rest for a further five minutes.

To mould the baguettes, take the first ball, turn it rounded side down and flatten to a rough oval. Fold one side of the flattened dough into the middle and seal with the heel of your hand. Repeat with the other side of the oval so the two edges meet in the middle, seal, then fold the whole thing in half lengthways and seal the edges so you end up with a long log shape. It won’t be quite long enough at this stage, so roll until you get your desired length (ideally the same length as the tray on which you’re going to bake it!). Place on a floured tea towel and repeat with the remaining three balls of dough.

Lay the four baguettes on a floured tea towel, making a pleat between each loaf to stop them touching as they rise. Cover with another tea towel and leave to prove for 45 – 60 minutes, or until nearly doubled in volume. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (or as high as it will go).

Once risen, slash the tops of the baguettes using a razor or sharp knife. Transfer carefully to your baking stone or preheated tray and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown (using a mist spray in the oven will help achieve a lovely crunchy crust. As you’ll be baking them again with the garlic butter, I’d err on the side of less golden crust in this instance.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

For the garlic butter

Ingredients:

1 x 250g pack salted French butter, slightly softened
3 x large cloves of garlic, crushed
Large handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Method:

Mash together the butter, garlic and parsley in a small bowl until completely combined. Place the mixture on a large piece of cling film and roll out into a thin sausage shape. Roll the cling film round your sausage, twist up the ends, and pop in the fridge to firm up. This quantity will make more than you need for the four loaves, but any you don’t use can be frozen in small rounds and melted over steak or added to sauces at a later date.

To make the baguettes

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Tear out four large squares of tin foil, slightly wider and longer than your baguettes.

Using a breadknife, cut slits down the length of each baguette, making sure you don’t cut the whole way through. Remove your garlic butter baton from the fridge, cut into thin slices and wedge one slice in between each slit. Place each baguette on a piece of foil and wrap loosely. Bake for 10-15 mins, opening the foil for the last 5 minutes if you like your baguette nicely brown and crispy.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then serve.

33 RESPONSES TO Homemade Garlic Bread Baguettes

  1. Lovely post, that sketch always makes me and my sister’s side hurt with laughter. Great photos btw. x

  2. This looks amazing! Homemade garlic bread – it doesnt get better than that. I’m sure everyone loved it. I really need to get into making my own bread!

  3. How inspiring! I have been contemplating a good garlic bread for our tradtional crab dinner for Christmas eve. And here you are. I LOVE the garlic butter slices:)
    -E

  4. I regularly make garlic bread with leftover baguettes that need using up. I can only imagine how good garlic bread would taste with home-made baguettes, so I will try it myself and see. Would be hard not to eat a loaf in one go though!

    • Savory Simple – thank you :-)

      Ruthie – I have a feeling some of my readers from outside the UK might not get the reference, but glad it makes you giggle :-) And thanks re photos – I was really pleased with how they came out.

      Baking Addict – making your own bread is so satisfying, but even if you used bakery-bought baguettes this recipe is delicious :-)

      Erin – Christmas eve crab supper sounds amazing. We normally have sausages or smoked salmon and ham – nothing too heavy to prepare ourselves for feasting the next day!

      Janice – thank you!

      Laura – it’s pretty hard to exert any self control when these are fresh out the oven. I never thought 8 people could get through 4 loaves, but they were gone in minutes!

  5. This looks so good. I haven’t been eating much bread or garlic recently (not sure why, just haven’t been buying it) so this is calling to me. Screaming, in fact. (And I definitely can’t say it’s the butter calling, I have plenty of that!)

  6. My word, but these look incredible. And having just made cheesy garlic bread for my husband last night (to accompany some spinach and asiago ravioli — yum!), I know it would be more than a hit — it would become a habit.

  7. Sally -

    ‘The Italians like the same food only made better and better’ Anna del Conte. This is epitomised by your post. You’ve taken garlic bread from the ordinary to the sublime. Lovely, lovely pics.

  8. Garlic bread is a real weakness of mine-there’s something so hard to resist with all of that butter and garlic! :P

  9. I haven’t seen the Peter Kay sketch but your baguettes look amazing! Not made baguette myself, would love to, you have inspired me!

  10. I don’t know the Peter Kay sketch either but I do know that I like garlic bread a lot! One of my friends makes the most garlicky garlic bread I’ve ever had and it’s just wonderful! Your baguettes look delicious too – what a gorgeous colour.

  11. I’ve had dinner, but I’m looking at your photos and I’m hungry again! These look wonderful. Will definitely try x

  12. omg just look at all that garlic butter tucked in between the bread. swoon.

    btw i tagged you in a bloggers unplugged tag going around! have fun doing it (:
    x

  13. Wonderful! I love garlic bread but have never made the bread from scratch…just used shop bought loaves. I shall follow your instructions! I want to eat it right now and it’s only 9am!

  14. I don’t think I eat enough garlic bread. Your post has made me reach this conclusion. Also those photos look great – did you get a new camera or are you still using the iPhone?

    • Emma – there’s nothing more comforting than simple, strong flavours. And while I love butter in my baking, sometimes it’s hard to beat the salty goodness of something savoury like this :-)

      Meister – you could add cheese to this recipe. Try grating a little parmesan into the butter before chilling it for a subtle cheesy flavour.

      Sally – ah, thank you :-) I had a play around with the styling on these and was pleased with the pics so really glad you like.

      Lorraine – you definitely can’t just have one piece!

      Sarah and Kathryn – I can’t believe neither of you have seen the sketch. Maybe it’s having a Northern boyfriend, but I thought everyone had seen it :-) Homemade baguettes are so good – just sorry I couldn’t get a shot of them fresh out the oven with the butter oozing and the crust all golden and crispy (it was 9pm when we ate them, dark and there might have been a revolt if I didn’t serve them at once!)

      Tamsin – the perils of late night blog reading :-)

      Shu Han – thank you. A couple of other bloggers have nominated me too so promise to get my answers up soon!

      Anneli – nothing wrong with a bit of garlic bread for breakfast (except possibly the breath…on second thoughts, don’t do it!) :-)

      A Spoonful of Yum – thank you!

      Elly – nope, still using the trusty iPhone! But I did make an effort to style the photos and think about the light more carefully. I’m trying to get good enough at food styling that I can justify spending money on a lovely camera :-)

  15. Lisa -

    I adore garlic bread..and make it or order it with every Italian meal! Sometimes I just dice and caramelize some garlic and spread it on toasted (whatever bread I have on hand) with lots of butter or drizzles of olive oil. I have never tried making a garlic compound butter and slipping slices between a ‘hasselback’ sliced loaf, but it’s brilliant,,perfect and I shall forever thank you every time I make it :)

  16. Lena -

    Just right now, I’m making homemade bread, and plan to make a garlic cheese bread out of one part. I’ll just add slices of gruyere cheese with the butter. Your garlic bread looks delicious, too!

  17. It’s been a while since I made my own garlic bread. You have inspired me to do it again. Beautiful photos.

  18. This is Divine!! it’s fairly early over here in Dubai, but I am craving Garlic bread at 6:00 am!!! Love it

  19. You’re method of slicing the bread is simply genius! I’ve always seen garlic bread with the bread sliced in half but those make such big bready slices. This is perfect.

  20. This recipe looks delicious! Seems like it would be perfect for a crowd since it can be assembled in advance. I might need to keep some extra garlic butter in my refrigerator…I have a feeling it would be a good addition to almost anything!

    • Urvashi – thank you! I was really pleased with how the pics turned out :-)

      Lisa – ah, my pleasure! I can’t take any credit for this method of making it – I learnt it all from my Mum.

      Lena – garlic bread with a little cheese is delicious too, yum.

      The Caked Crusader – thank you!

      Purely Food – thank you.

      Dima – nothing wrong with garlic bread at 6am!

      Sylvie – thank you. As I said above, I can’t take any credit for this method, it all comes from my Mum :-)

      Navy Blue Kitchen – they are perfect for crowds – I made them for a hungry hoard of cousins last weekend!

  21. Zita -

    Yum and gulp! This looks amazing!!!

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