Adjust oven rack to lower-third position and heat to 500 degrees.
Toast garlic cloves in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color of cloves deepens, about 8 minutes.
When garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, skin and mince or press cloves through a garlic press. Using a dinner fork, mash garlic, softened butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pinch of pepper in a bowl until thoroughly combined
Spread cut sides of loaf evenly with garlic butter. Transfer loaf halves, buttered side up, onto a baking sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cut each half into 2-inch slices and serve immediately.
Prepared bread can also be loosely wrapped in foil and kept in warm oven to keep fresh while dinner is being finished and served.