Cheesy Garlic-Herb Bread

CATEGORIES: Garlic Bread, Italian, Other

You know how you read everywhere to never, ever put anything in your ear? Well, have you ever had an ear infection as an adult? It makes that rule really, really tempting to break, especially when your ear is all plugged up, even after antibiotics, steroids, yawning, plugging your nose and blowing, and jumping up and down with your ear pointed up to the ceiling. Last week, I started reading online for ideas to help pop my ear and lots of people were recommending heating a pressed fresh clove of garlic in some extra virgin olive oil. So I tried it. It might have helped a little, but mostly, I just wanted to lick myself because I smelled like an Italian restaurant. I ended up using the rest of the garlic olive oil for dipping some Ciabatta bread, which didn’t help my ear, but it did make me think of different ways I could use garlic olive oil that didn’t involve my orifices.

I’m going to include lots of variations with this recipe, but for pictures, I’m using pesto because that is what I was craving at the time. Oh, and because my garden has not failed, despite my very best efforts, and I had a whole bunch of basil I needed to use up.

You’ll need a loaf of crusty bread (a good loaf of sourdough works great), about 1/2 c. of pesto, and 8 ounces of mozzarella.

Preheat your oven to 350.  Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and then place the bread on top of the foil. Slice the bread every 1 1/2 inches, not quite through to the bottom.

Flip it around so the cuts are horizontal and then slice the bread again, 1 1/2″ wide, not through to the bottom, so you have 1 1/2″ pieces that are still attached at the bottom of the loaf of bread.

Spread the pesto in between the cracks. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can even just spread it on one direction of cuts (as opposed to doing it on all four sides of each little piece) because it will soak in.

Then gently stuff the cheese into the cracks. Brush a little pesto on top and sprinkle with a little additional cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top of the bread is crispy. The top of the bread should fan out, kind of like an Awesome Blossom (extra awesome). Allow to stand for about 5 minutes and then serve. With a fork, some wet wipes, and a little bit of guilt.



  1. I really like this idea. Good bread (not the store brought but bakery) would have to be one of the things I could not live without. Thanks for the different way to apply the ingredients looks like you still get that satisfying crunch when you bite into it. Yum.

  2. I can’t decide if it is the fact that it is bread, or the pesto, or the cheese, or all of it together but OMG this looks AMAZING. I want to make this…now, but I think someone in my house wouldn’t like my cooking at 4:30am.

  3. I totally just saw this on another blog not long ago, but she called her Bloomin’ Onion Bread and she used a few different ingredients, but basically the same thing. Anyway, I was intrigued then, and now I am more intrigued!! This looks amazing and what a great new thing to serve to guests at parties!

  4. What a great idea! I love the idea of leaving the bread whole and making it pull-apart finger food…what a great appetizer. I think I’ll make it this weekend along with some other appetizers (sweet and sour lil smokies, anyone? 🙂 for a get-together with some friends of ours.

    My only problem is that I’m allergic to pine nuts. Have you ever tried this with something else besides pesto? I’m thinking marinara sauce. Or does anyone know a pesto recipe that doesn’t have nuts (of any kind) in it?

      1. It’s also good with some english walnuts. I use both in my pesto because I saw it on Barefoot Contessa and walnuts are SOOO much cheaper than pine nuts.

        My issue is with the sourdough. I’ve tried and tried, but I don’t like it. I’ll eat it as a sandwich as long as there are STRONG flavors that will overcome the twang of the bread, but that’s it. Any suggestions? I’m afraid some of the other artisan breads would dry out…

    1. Jen, You can use pistachios instead of pine nuts. I make it that way all the time, freeze it in ice cube trays and use throughout the year to make panini sandwiches!

  5. Why do I have to be at work right now; when I want to be going to the store, getting the ingredients, and making this. This looks SCRUMDITILIUMPTIOUS.

  6. Ok the bread looks AMAZING! I am totally going to make that probably tonight…but I really want to share a tip for the ear situation..last year my ear stayed plugged like that for 9 months. Every doctor just kept telling me that it would eventually clear, but a student nurse finally had the key to success! You need to puncture a stool softener liquid gel tablet and squeeze it in your ear and let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. It may take a couple of times, but it breaks through the mucous and wax so that your ear can finally drain! Good luck!

  7. I had a head cold while flying on a plane one time and one of the take-offs/landings made it so my ear wouldn’t pop. FOR DAYS. I don’t remember what finally made my ears pop but I do remember I just wanted to bang my head into a wall. I didn’t know about the garlic oil method; sounds ….. messy. 🙂

    ANYway, that garlic bread sure looks tasty!

  8. Oh my, this looks so delicious! We love bread and cheese and Italian type things, this looks like something good to make for dinner!

  9. My ears get plugged ALL THE TIME! My fix sounds bizarre, but pour about 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide into your ear (while tilting your head of course) and leave it until it stops bubbling. Then GENTLY rinse with a bulb syringe of warm water. Sometimes it takes a couple times, but it hasn’t failed me yet! Good luck!

    TOTALLY making this to go with the tortellini spinach bake..YUM

  10. Awesome! I bake all my bread in rounds like that, which makes it a challenge to make garlic bread when we want some, but this is the perfect solution! I can’t wait to experiment.

  11. Looks yummy! I do something much like this and find that using my electric knife makes it much easier to cut the bread. I will definately be trying your version. 🙂

  12. “Awesome blossom…extra awesome”! You made my day. Because I say that all the time and no one gets it and I have to laugh at myself. Thanks for being cool and watching my shows. AND for that sinful looking bread recipe. Awesome Blossom, extra awesome, indeed!

  13. LOL!!! I was very scared to see where you were going with “You know how you read everywhere to never, ever put anything in your ear”…. WHAT?!?!?! GREAT ENDING 😀 Per usual, YUMMMMMMMMMM!!

  14. Can’t wait to try this!! I just made your guiltless alfredo sauce last night and poured it over baked potatoes with sauteed mushrooms and onions. How can something so simple be soooo delicious! An fyi on the ear infection and plugged ears. I just got over something like that….the one thing that actually DID work is frankincense and lavender essential oil….sounds crazy but it totally worked. I just rubbed it around the outside of my ear and applied it every couple of ours.

    Thanks for keeping my family happily fed with all of your amazing recipes!!

  15. Made it tonight with garlic bread seasoning. YUM. My son said, “Listen to me. Make this every night.” I think that means it was a hit. Thanks!

  16. This looks great. There is a restaurant in Canada called ‘Swiss chalet’ that has a Garlic bread similar to this, except once it is finished cooking (minus the pesto, and instead mounds of butter I presume) they cover it with freshly diced tomatoes and green onions. It is delicious. I have never thought to make it at home, but maybe I will thanks to your site. Oh, and as a side note, your creamy-lime cilantro salad dressing is my favorite salad dressing ever! 🙂

  17. This looks like the perfect use for pesto that I just made. I will need to invite friends over though, otherwise my husband and I are likely to consume a loaf of bread 🙂

  18. Looks delish! I had something very similiar at a restaurant in California… theirs was stuffed with gruyere, paremessan, swiss, garlic, butter, chives, and served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. OMG! It was amazing, but so rich we could only eat a little bit. We meant to make it at home but I had forgot all about it until now. Thanks for the reminder!

  19. I made this last night and it was awesome. I used one of the small round loaves as there are only 2 of us. Now on to the other variations. Thanks.

  20. My dinner menu last night was planned around this bread. It was SO good! I am having some friends over for a game night soon and this will be one of the appatizers I set out while we play.

  21. I made this last night with plain spaghetti sauce since my basil isn’t up yet, (okay, I really killed it) and your rosemary foccacia bread. I live in nowhere utah and we don’t have artisan breads. It was VERY good. I would just skip the rosemary next time in the bread so I could actually taste the sauce. I can’t wait to try it with some pesto.

  22. Tried this at a get together this weekend and it was a huge hit! We loved it and will be making it again! I’m telling everyone about this wonderful, newly found website. Thanks Sara and Kate!

  23. I spread the pesto and sprinkled cheese on homemade french baguette (thanks to my neighbor) so there wouldn’t be any waste for a smaller portion size. Amazing!

  24. Made this for dinner tonight with chicken cordon blue and restaurant style smashed potatoes and green beans. It was WONDERFUL! All that lovely butter dripped through the cracks and the cheese was nice and melty. I use your garlic bread seasoning on a regular basis. Thank you for all your great ideas! I’m a total food blogaholic.

  25. I’m in the midst of preparing this for Father’s Day. I’ve already gone through one loaf of bread. It’s probably common sense to everyone but me to use a serrated bread knife! I ran out to the store to buy another loaf and a serrated knife after I botched the first one. It sliced up much easier (and prettier). I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  26. this is my husbands favorite thing now- he even LOVES (and he’s a picky eater) me to prepare this on a slice of sourdough for a sandwich (and this comes from a guy who, when he’s asked how the food was, says “good” or “ok”. So when I got an enthusiastic “really good!” from him about this, it made me feel special!)

  27. I took one loaf of pesto and one of your cheese garlic to a party last month and have been asked to make them twice more for the same group! They not only taste wonderful but the presentation is great! Thanks!!

  28. i have got to say, this is amazing i have just made this for my flat to go with some chicken and pasta and they all love it, so easy to make thank you so much your website has given me so many ideas for things to cook 🙂

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