Bacon Cheese Bread

Bacon.  Cheese.  Bread.  Yes, bacon. 

Lately it is very trendy to baconate everything (including desserts).  So far, I’ve held out against this crazy trend, but I was bound to give in eventually.  It dawned on me the other day that the smokey, salty bacon could be quite tasty in bread, especially if paired with cheese.

The next question was what kind of cheese to use.  I’ve tried various shredded cheeses in the past and they kind of disappear in the bread…how sad.  Therefore, I knew I needed to use some chunk cheese.  Next I chose gruyere cheese because I have been hearing a lot about it and really just wanted to give it a try.  If you don’t know what gruyere is (it’s ok, I didn’t either, thus the wanting to try it), it is a sharper type of swiss cheese.  Oh, and it is expensive.  So, if you don’t feel like shelling out the cash for fancy cheese, go ahead and substitute sharp cheddar for the gruyere.

This bread was fantastic when paired with alfredo sauce and equally fantastic made used to make paninis….mmmmm.

Bacon Cheese Bread
An Amy Original

1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
¼ c warm water (110 degrees)
1 tsp honey
¾ more water
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1tsp onion powder
¼ lb (about 6 slices) bacon, fried and crumbled
¼ lb gruyere cheese, cut in ¼-inch cubes
1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

Stir together the yeast, honey and ¼ cup warm water in a bowl.  Cover with a damp towel and let stand until foamy, about 7 minutes

Add the remaining ¾ cup of water, olive oil, salt, bacon, cheese, and flours to the bowl.  Stir until dough comes together.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Note, some of the bacon and cheese chunks will fall out as you knead, just work them back in once the dough is kneaded.

Lightly oil a large bowl (I use cooking spray).  Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to the oiled bowl.  Loosely cover with a damp towel.  Let dough rise in a warm (75-80 degrees, ideally), draft free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough.  Let rest, covered for 15 minutes.

Shape dough into loaf and transfer to a baking sheet.  Cover with a towel and let the load rise for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.