7 Awesome Toppings for French Bread or Italian Bread

Italian Bread Loaf

There’s nothing like a loaf of French bread or Italian bread straight out of the oven!  Yum!  And when it’s warm, it’s good with or without butter.  But if you want to dress it up a bit, here are 7 toppings you’ll love!  Oh, and if you want to buy your bread already made, that’s ok.  If you want to make it yourself, there are three recipes below.  My personal favorite is Mom’s Italian Bread but I make all of them frequently.

French Bread Toppings Printable


Parmesan Cheese Loaf
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 3 ounce package grated parmesan (not canned cheese)
  • loaf French bread

Combine butter and cheese; blend well.  Cover. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours to blend flavors.  Cut bread into 1-inch slices; spread with cheese mixture.  Arrange slices into loaf shape.  Wrap with foil.  Heat oven to 350.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is hot.


Italian Garlic Toast

In a small bowl, combine:

  • ½ cup margarine
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • one loaf French bread, halved lengthwise

Brush butter mixture onto cut sides of bread.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Broil about 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted.

*I usually cut it in 1-inch slices and skip the paprika.  I don’t usually broil it because I’m usually using the oven for something else.  The bread just needs to be heated for 5 or 7 minutes.  I use whatever temperature the oven happens to be on.


Golden Garlic Bread
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 loaf French bread, halved lengthwise

In a bowl, combine the butter, parmesan cheese, garlic and basil; mix well.  Spread over cut sides of bread.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Broil 4 inches from the heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Cut into 3 inch pieces.


Italian Cheese Bread
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • dash pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella

Slice French bread or Italian bread in 1-inch slices.  Brush Italian salad dressing on each slice.  Sprinkle spices evenly among slices.  Sprinkle mozzarella/parmesan mixture over each slice.

Put the slices back in a loaf shape, wrap in foil and heat at 350 for about 15 or 20 minutes.


Italian Cheese Topping
  • 1 loaf French bread or Italian bread
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix together butter and spices.  Slice bread into 1-inch slices.  Spread butter mixture on slices and sprinkle with cheese.  Place slices on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Deluxe Garlic Butter
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground paprika

Combine and mix until smooth (I used electric mixer.)  Cut bread into 1-inch slices; spread with butter mixture.  Arrange slices into loaf shape.  Wrap with foil.  Heat oven to 350.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is hot.


Simple Garlic Butter
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

Combine and mix until smooth (electric mixer works best).  Cut bread into 1-inch slices; spread with butter mixture.  Arrange slices into loaf shape.  Wrap with foil.  Heat oven to 350.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is hot.


Italian Bread Loaf slicedItalian Bread
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  Stir in warm water and butter.  Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Knead on floured surface until smooth.   Shape dough into loaf.  Let rise on greased cookie sheet for 30 to 40 minutes.

After dough has risen, lightly beat an egg and then add 1 or 2 tablespoons milk to egg mixture.  Brush over loaf.  Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.


Mom’s Italian Bread
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1.       In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the sugar, salt and 3 cups flour.   Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough.

2.       Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3.       Punch dough down.  Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half.  Shape each portion into a loaf.  Place each loaf seam side down on a greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across top of each loaf.

4.       Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until golden brown (I mix an egg and a couple of tablespoons of milk and brush it over the loaf before baking).  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.


French Bread

Dissolve:

  • 2 pkg. yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ tsp. sugar

Combine:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fat
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups boiling water

Cool to lukewarm and add yeast mixture.

Stir in:

  • 7-1/2 to 8 cups flour

Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place in greased bowl, turning once.  Let rise until doubled.  Punch down and let rest 15 minutes.  Divide dough in half.

On a floured surface, roll each half to 12×15 rectangle.  Roll up, starting at 15” edge.  Place loaves on greased cookie sheets and make 4 or 5 slashes diagonally across tops.  Let rise until double.

Mix and brush on:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.


NOTES

All these topping recipes can be used on any of the three bread recipes or any type of French or Italian bread you might buy.

You can also adapt the cooking method for most of these toppings recipes.  The four main methods are:

  1. Spread with topping, wrap in foil, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Spread with topping, lay flat on cookie sheet, and heat at 400 for 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Spread with topping, lay flat on cookie sheet, broil 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Spread with topping, heat in microwave.

If you prefer, you can also serve many of the spreads as a topping that can be added to warm bread if desired.

Many of the toppings can even be used as a pizza topping in place of the traditional red sauce.

Of the three bread recipes, the French Bread and Mom’s Italian Bread are the lightest and fluffiest.  The Italian Bread is a little heavier – mainly because of the shortened rising time.

And one last idea.  I frequently just slice the bread, butter it, sprinkle garlic salt, pile it on a plate, and microwave it for a minute or two.  That’s the easiest and quickest option and it’s also very delicious.


Comments

  1. I think you left the very important last step off each of these recipes. Act like you baked the loaf from scratch!

    Visiting from SITs.
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  2. These look delicious! I love a slice of a savoury bread with a meal!
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted…Oh, Canada! My Inner Voice is AmericanMy Profile

  3. I love all the topping ideas! The French Bread sounds like a fun recipe to try some time too!

    • The French Bread is an awesome recipe! I tried so many French Bread recipes before I finally found that one. I’ve been using it for 20 years, at least! It’s easy to make, too.

  4. These all look so yummy! I’ve pinned this post for using later. Thank you! ~Alexis on behalf of everyone at A Moment with M.O.M.

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