Because Bacon

I love bacon. I would eat it every day if my waistline could stand it (and I very nearly do!) So when I came across this Bacon and Cheddar Bread in one of Paul Hollywood’s books I just had to try it.

Bacon and Cheddar Bread

Ingredients – makes one small loaf
250g Strong white bread flour
5g Dried fast action yeast
5g Salt
15g Butter, softened
115g Cool water
4 Rashers smoked bacon
75g Mature cheddar cheese, grated

1. Put flour into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast and salt to opposite sides of the bowl. Add the butter and most of the water. Turn the mixture round in the bowl with your fingers. Keep mixing until the dough comes together into a soft ball. I needed to add more water but you may not need to.
2. Lightly flour your work surface and tip the dough out onto it. Knead for 5-10 minutes until you get a soft skin forming. I tend to knead bread by pushing the heel of my hand into the middle of the ball and pushing away while holding the rest down with my other hand, then rolling the dough back on itself, turning it a quarter turn, then repeating.
3. Lightly oil a bowl and place kneaded dough into it. Cover with cling film (Saran wrap for you guys across the pond) or a tea towel and leave to rise until it has doubled in size (it takes about an hour in my kitchen as my flat is quite warm, but a longer rise wont hurt it)
4. While the bread is rising gently cook your bacon. (I use streaky bacon because, well its just better, but if you use back bacon you will need to remove the rind before you cook it) You just want it to be tender, not crispy, as you are going to cook it again. Set aside to cool and then cut into small strips or pieces.
5. When your bread has risen to your liking add the bacon and grated cheese an carefully knead then into the bread. You can do this in the bowl and first then lightly flour your worktop to finish off, pushing any stray pieces back into the bread. Try not to work it too much at this stage but you do want the bacon and cheese to be distributed through the dough.
6. Shape your dough. I made the dough into an oval by first creating a rough rectangle and folding the sides in so they met in the middle. I rolled the dough up and then tapered the ends into points. Place the shaped dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment/baking paper and lightly floured. Lightly dust the loaf with flour and slash lengthwise (or however you like if you haven’t done an oval).
7. Lightly oil a sheet of cling film and place over the dough to prove. You can also use one of those special bread proving bags but I don’t have any, the oil just stops the bread from sticking to it. Leave to prove until the dough springs back quickly when lightly pressed. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 220’c (about 430’f).
8. When your bread is ready bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf. The bread should sound hollow when you tap underneath.

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Serve warm with butter and try not to eat it all in one go (which will be really difficult I can assure you)

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Thanks for reading!

Recipe adapted (slightly) from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake


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