Experimenting with the various no-knead breads a few times, making thick slices of the best toast ever (IMHO) brought to mind a favorite type of garlic bread. We disdain that soft and mushy store-bought, silvery-paper-wrapped bread that’s chock-full of greasy margarine with garlic salt. Some store-bought artisan breads (thinking of the roasted garlic rustic put out by a local bakery) when sliced and treated to real butter and garlic are delicious in both soft (covered with foil before oven- heating) and the crunchy version (allowed to crisp up on a cookie sheet.) Homemade sourdough French bread also produces a tasty result.
But, after having the toasted version of the 1/3 whole wheat and 2/3 all-purpose flour, non-beer, no-knead, Dutch-oven-baked bread, I remembered the garlic bread method learned from a real Italian lady while my daughter and I were living in London. It’s my belief that the perfectly crunchy, chewy, spongy no-knead breads I’ve been preparing lately will deliver the most heavenly garlic bread ever. My daughter and I tested the theory with some chicken Parmesan, using both the bread made with Dragon’s Milk from New Holland Brewing, a bourbon-barrel aged stout, and the “plain” iteration.
The process is only a little bit more complicated than painting garlic butter on the bread and heating it in the oven. The uncut loaf is sliced into roughly 1″ thick pieces which are then put under the broiler, toasting both sides with nothing on them. As the flip side is toasting, however, it’s brought out of the oven before it’s done, then a fresh garlic clove is dragged across the raggedy top, depositing the garlic in what I think of as the “Bob Ross” way: dragging a palette knife across the canvas, allowing only some of the paint to stick. After the garlic has been applied, a bit of cold butter is dragged atop in the same manner and Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on. Then the fixed-up bread goes back under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and browns to perfection.
Since Dragon’s Milk stout bread brought the Aha! to mind and since it’s finished under fire, I’ve named the bread after it.