I was in a creative mood the other day and after my wife fried up some bacon I felt inspired to use the leftovers in a bread. You know what they say....."bacon makes everything taste better". It's hard to argue with this logic, so I decided to combine the bacon with some cheddar cheese, toasted onions and added some wheat germ I just bought from King Arthur Flour to add some nuttiness to the overall flavor profile. I boiled some potatoes and left the skins on when mashing them up since I like the flavor and look of the charred bits of potato skin in the finished bread. I decided to combine Durum Semolina flour and KAF European Bread Flour (you can use regular bread flour if preferred). I do have to say I was not disappointed with the end result as it has a nice hearty bacon flavor with bits of cheese that makes it hard to stop eating. I made 2 loaves and was going to freeze one for later in the week, but I have a feeling I will end up finishing both loaves in the next couple of days. It's a cold and snowy day here on Long Island, NY and this bread goes perfectly with soup or chile which my wife is planning on making for dinner tonight.
If you decide to try this, feel free to add some additional bacon to give it even more bacon flavor.
15 ounces 65% Hydration Starter Refreshed
5 ounces Durum Flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
12 ounces European Style Flour from KAF (or Bread Flour)
2 ounces Wheat Germ
5 ounces Mashed Potatoes (I used plain mashed potatoes but if you have left-overs from dinner you can feel free to use them up)
3 ounces Cheddar Cheese (I cut into small cube pieces but you can shred if preferred)
4 Slices of cooked crisp bacon cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon Toasted Onions (you can use chives or roasted onions if preferred)
14 ounces Luke warm water, 90 - 95 degrees Fahrenheit
2 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
2 1/4 Teaspoons Instant Yeast (you can omit the yeast if desired and let the dough sit for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours before refrigerating)
Using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the water with the starter to break up the starter.
Add the flour, potatoes, salt, yeast (if using), and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Add the bacon (note if you shred the cheese you can add it now, otherwise I suggest kneading it into the bread by hand which is what I did).
Mix for 4 minutes more on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary to produce a slightly sticky ball of dough.
Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form into a ball. Flatten into a rectangle and add the cheese and form dough into a ball.
Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.
Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.
After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and put into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.
Put in your refrigerator immediately for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.
When ready to bake the bread, shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it. (If you did not use yeast, let it sit in your bowl for 2 hours before shaping).
Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.
Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a wet cloth.
Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.
Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.
Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.
Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.
Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!
Please visit my other blog at http://www.mookielovesbread.wordpress.com for my older posts.
This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/. This post has also been submitted to http://www.girlichef.com/p/byob-bake-your-own-bread.html, so please visit them for even more baking recipes.