This is not your mama's garlic bread. This is a ridiculously fragrant loaf that the moment it comes out of the oven, insists your fingers pull off a piece right here and now. It's simply effortless to indulge in these layers of soft yeasty homemade bread touting fragrant herbs, brazen amounts of melty cheese and oodles of sultry garlic.
**Thanks to Pink Parsley food blog for the delicious inspiration and to Joy the Baker, where the whole, scrumptious pull-apart bread thing really got revved up, but with cinnamon sugar.**
Combine water and milk in a 2 cup measure. Microwave until just steaming. Add 3 tablespoons butter and stir. Let sit until butter melts and mixture cools to lukewarm.
If using a breadmaker: add yeast, sugar, flour, salt and beaten egg, then lukewarm liquids. Hit the dough cycle button.
For the dough, without breadmaker: Pour heated water-milk-butter mixture into bowl of standing mixer. Stir in sugar and yeast and let rest for 5-7 minutes until foamy. Stir in beaten egg. Add flour and salt and mix with a dough hook about 8 minutes. The dough should be silky-ish, not sticky, to the touch. Butter or oil a bowl, transfer dough to bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in bulk.
While dough is rising combine softened butter with minced garlic and chopped jalapeno. Set aside.
Punch down the dough and turn onto lightly floured surface. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into a 12 x 20 inch rectangle. Slather evenly with garlic, jalapeno butter. (oh my!) Sprinkle evenly with chopped herbs and grated cheese. Grind some black pepper over top to taste.
Cut the dough, vertically, into 6 equal sized strips with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Stack the strips on top of one another.
Slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You'll have six stacks of six squares
Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. (I lined my loaf pan, partially, with overhanging parchment, which worked like a charm. Once the loaf was baked, it lifted right out of the pan.) Turn the pan on it's end, or however it's easiest for you, and stack and shimmy the stacks into the pan.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place about 45 minutes or until almost double in bulk.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and the inside is cooked through. If the top browns too quickly, cover the loaf loosely with foil. I baked my loaf just over 45 minutes and did cover with foil for about the last 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and alow to cool for 10-20 minutes. (Forest Grump, this means you!) Run a knife around the edges, and invert onto serving platter. (or if you used parchment paper, just pull that beauty out using the overhang as handles).
Soul warming comfort, layer on layer. Pull, pop. Repeat.