Cheesy Garlic-Herb Bread

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.


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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 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!

  2. 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!!

  3. 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!!

  4. This looks so incredible. Cheese, garlic, herbs and bread. What more could a person need? And I hope your ear’s feeling better….

  5. “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!

  6. I hope the world doesn’t end tomorrow because I really want to make this!! It’s looks ridiculously yummy.

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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.

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

  11. I have to bring something to a BBQ on Sunday and this is it!! Thanks. By the way, your cookbook is awesome.

  12. 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!

  13. Kate, this looks incredible! I don’t think I could serve this on the side of pasta or any meal for that matter… I’d eat it all first! 🙂 Wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. Love this idea!! The pesto is a yummy choice and the fact that your is from your garden is making me jealous 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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.