The title of this entry says it all for this one: Bacon.Bread. Delicious, fluffy bread with tons of bacon baked inside. Does it get any better? I really don’t think so. I’m pretty sure TheBetterHalf would be happy if this was the only bread I ever baked going forward. I mean what is not to love about three quarters of a pound of bacon being added to your bread dough? And imagine the sandwich possibilities with this loaf. A turkey sandwich…on bacon bread. A grilled cheese with tomato…on bacon bread. A BLT!….on bacon bread. What doesn’t sound better when you put it on bacon bread? I think even a PB&J would be phenomenal on this bread. I may or may not have tried that….TheBetterHalf was grossed out, but I thought it was amazing! The sweet and salty combo, mmmm.
This bread is a variation on the classic no-knead recipe, one of my favorite ways to bake bread. You cook up about ¾ pounds of bacon, chopped into pieces, and then mix that into the dough, with a little bacon fat for good measure. Add in some crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, and voila! If you love bacon, you need to try this recipe! It might change the way you eat toast forever.
No-Knead Bacon Bread
Recipe slightly adapted from My Bread by Jim Lahey
Makes One large round loaf
Equipment: a 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart enameled cast-iron pot with a tight fitting lid (I used a Le Creuset Dutch Oven)
300 grams (11 ounces) bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces (this is just shy of ¾ of a 1-lb pack of bacon)
3 Cups (400 grams) bread flour
1/4 tsp (1 gram) instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp (8 grams) table salt
¼ teaspoon (1/2 gram) hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool water
extra flour for dusting
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Set aside one tablespoon of the fat and discard the rest. Put the bacon on paper towels to cool.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, bacon, salt, yeast, and red pepper flakes. Add the water and the 1 Tbsp fat and using a rubber spatula mix until a shaggy ball forms. If the dough does not feel sticky to the touch, add in a bit more water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 12 – 18 hours, until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size.
When the slow rise is complete, Lay a 12 x 18 inch sheet of parchment paper inside a 10-inch skillet and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Generously dust your counter, a large cutting board, or a silicone mat with flour. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out in one piece. Using lightly floured hands, lift the edges of the dough and fold them in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round. Transfer the dough, seam-side down, to the parchment-lined skillet. A bench scraper is helpful for doing this. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and cover the dough loosely with the wrap. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled, and if it holds an indentation when gently poked with your finger.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third position, and place a covered Dutch Oven in the center of the rack. After 30 minutes, take the pre-heated pot out of the oven, and carefully transfer the dough into the pot by lifting the parchment paper and lowering it into the pot. Quickly cover the pot and put it in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color, 10 – 20 mins more. Make sure to check the bread so it doesn’t burn, because every oven is different. An instant-read thermometer will register 210 degrees, or you can tap the bottom and listen for a hollow sound. Carefully remove the bread from the pot and transfer to a wire rack to cool.