The Fresh Loaf

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Auvergne Rye Baguette with Bacon

zolablue's picture

Auvergne Rye Baguette with Bacon

Also known as Baguette aux lardons.


This is fabulous bread!  I baked it yesterday from Daniel Leader’s new book, Local Breads.  It is a very easy recipe, absolutely delicious fresh from the oven and today it made incredible toast.  The incorporation of slightly browned bacon and his recommendation to retard the shaped loaves overnight to infuse the dough with more of that great smoky bacon flavor is a winner.


His recipe calls for making four 316g baguettes but for some reason I only ended up with about 1100g total dough so I made 3 roughly 366g baguettes.  The dough was supple and slashed really well which I was concerned about with the bacon.  No problem though.


His method of using floured parchment and then making your own couche worked really well for this.  I was able to fit all three baguettes perfectly on a quarter-sheet restaurant style pan with rolled up dish cloths on each side to keep the loaves from spreading.  You make the troughs for the dough creasing the parchment between each loaf and then tuck the rolled cloths against them and the rim of the sheet pan. 


The next day I removed from the fridge and slid the entire thing onto the counter, took off the plastic wrap and covered with a cotton flour-sack towel.  I let them warm up and finish proofing for about 2 hours and then baked.  Even in my small oven all three loaves fit perfectly on my smaller-than-normal baking stone.  I steamed the oven and baked them about 25 minutes at 450°F and was really happy with the way they rose and actually grew ears.  (chuckle)  That is always welcome and always surprising for my breads, it seems but I’m getting better. 


I have not typed up this recipe yet.  I encourage you all to go buy Daniel Leader’s new book.  This is the first of his two books I have purchased so others are way ahead of me in the knowledge of his great breads and first book.  Mountaindog is lucky enough to live close to his bakery – wow!  That would be a treat.  So far in what I’ve read I’m very impressed with this book although since I use a firm starter I do have a couple thoughts that may differ from what his instructions are only by means of my own experience.  All in all it is a wonderful book and I’m thrilled to have it.  Can’t wait to try more new recipes.

Baguettes aux lardons

Great crisp crust and you can see how the bacon bits on the exterior crisp when baked. (yum)

Crumb was creamy with bacon infused throughout in little bits.  He doesn't show a photo of the crumb so I'm hoping this is how it is supposed to look.  He does have you beat the tar out of the dough and with a mixer it does break down the already small cooked pieces.  I didn't mind. :o)


mkelly27's picture

It has been our major point of discussion in my office as of late ,"what doesn't taste better with bacon added?"


Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

TinGull's picture

Ah-MAZING looking bread!!!

browndog's picture

You're an artist in and out of the oven, Zolablue (so to speak.) The book sounds delicious, too. (Something for the impending birthday wish list, I guess, and I don't have to wait til October like sad JMonkey.) Your dark, glossy crusts are just beautiful.

beenjamming's picture

wow zola, those look great! I just picked up local breads when i was getting my textbooks yesterday and have been drooling over it since. I'm eyeing the sourdough croissants and german farmhouse rye.

bluezebra's picture

looking baguettes and cannot wait to try making them!!! MMMMM bacon <homer voice> *drool*

zolablue's picture

Thanks, you guys, for the kind words.  It is such a high to make a great tasting new recipe. 

We made open-faced sandwiches last night toasting the bread lightly, spreading with a bit of Miracle Whip and topping with juicy slices of my home-grown heirloom tomatoes.  OMG - they were wonderful.

I'll type the recipe in case someone would like to try it.

ehanner's picture

ZB, yes please do post the recipe. It looks like a very flavorful bread. Do you have a preference to thick or thin bacon for this? What a nice crust, I'll bet the aroma comes right back in the toaster or upon re heating.

Thanks Zolablue,


zolablue's picture

Eric, I always buy Farmland thick sliced bacon.  I actually ended up using 8 slices because I wasn't sure how he was measuring the final amount.  In fear I'd made too much I had to eat a couple bites so those didn't make it into the bread. :o)

I've typed the recipe below and because it is very long I did edit a bit.  All the pertinent info is included.  Let me know if you make this.  It is good grub!


Auvergne Rye Baguette with Bacon - (Baguettes aux lardons) © Daniel Leader, Local Breads


8 to 12 hours to prepare the levain

15 minutes to cook and cool the bacon

20 minutes to mix and rest the dough

9 to 15 minutes to knead

3 to 4 hours to ferment

12 to 24 hours to retard or 1 1/2 to 2 hours to proof

20 to 25 minutes to bake


Makes 4 baguettes about 12 inches long (11 ounces/316 each)


Levain Starter: 

45g (1/4 cup or 1.6 oz) Stiff dough levain - 45%

50g (1/4 cup or 1.8 oz) Water, tepid - 50%

95g (2/3 cup or 3.4 oz) Unbleached AP flour* – 95%

5g (2 teaspoons or 0.2 oz) Stone-ground whole wheat flour – 5%

Prepare the Levain: 

In a small bowl, dissolve the starter in the water, then stir in the flour.  Knead this stiff dough and place in covered container and let ferment at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) for 8 to 12 hours.

Bread dough: 

280g (7 strips or 10 oz) Thick-cut bacon – 56%

350g (1 1/2 cups or 12.3 oz) Water, tepid – 70%

450g (3 cups or 15.9 oz) Unbleached AP flour – 90%

50g (1/3 cup or 1.8 oz) Fine or medium rye flour – 10%

125g (About 1/2 cup, packed or 4.4 oz) Levain starter – 25%

10g (1 1/2 teaspoons or 0.4 oz) Sea salt – 2%

Cook the bacon: 

Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.  Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the bacon pieces and cook just until the fat sizzles and the bacon begins to brown.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and cool completely.

Mix the dough: 

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the bread flour and rye flour and stir with a rubber spatula just until it absorbs all of the water and a dough forms.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to hydrate the flour and give the gluten a chance to develop on its own.

Add the levain, bacon, and salt:  

Uncover the levain and pinch off about 1/2 cup, or a piece the size of a tennis ball (4.4 oz/125g).  Uncover the dough, add the levain piece and the bacon, and sprinkle on the salt.  Use the spatula to work the levain, bacon, and salt into the dough with a few firm strokes.

Knead the dough: 

By hand:  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter.  Knead the dough with firm, smooth strokes until it is very smooth and springy, 12 to 15 minutes.  Set a kitchen timer to guide you, but judge ultimately by the texture of the dough, not the time you have been kneading, whether or not it is fully kneaded.


By machine:  Use the dough hook and mix the dough on low speed (2 on a KitchenAid mixer) for 1 minute to incorporate the sourdough.  Increase the speed to medium (4 on a KitchenAid mixer) and knead for 8 to 9 minutes longer, until the dough is smooth and springy.

Ferment the dough:  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clear container with a lid.  Cover and leave it to rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) for 1 hour.  It will inflate only slightly. 

Turn the dough:  Turn the dough once and place back into container, cover and let it expand until it doubles, 2 to 3 hours more.  It will feel smooth and firm.


Divide and preshape the baguettes:  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces (11 oz/316g each).  Pat each piece into a rough rectangle and fold it in half.  Drape the pieces with plastic wrap and let them rest on the counter for 10 minutes.


Shape the baguettes:  Cover a baker’s peel or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.  Shape each piece of dough into a baguette about 12 inches long.  As you roll the log, taper the ends by increasing the downward pressure at the tips.


Form the couche:  Dust the parchment-covered peel or baking sheet with flour and place the baguettes on the parchment, seam side down, about 2 inches apart.  Lift the parchment paper between the loaves, making pleats and drawing the loaves close together.  Tightly roll up 2 kitchen towels and slip them under the parchment paper on the sides of the two outer loaves to support the sides of each baguette.  Lightly dust the tops of the baguettes with flour and lightly drape them with plastic wrap.


Retard the baguettes:  Place the peel or baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.  Two to 3 hours before you want to bake, remove it from the refrigerator and let the baguettes sit at room temperature.  The dough will be firm and cool, relaxed but barely inflated.


Prepare the oven:  About 1 hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and a cast-iron skillet on the lower rack.  Heat the oven to 450 degrees.


Score the baguettes:  Uncover the loaves and stretch the parchment paper out so that it is flat and the loaves are separated on top of it.  Score each baguette with a single-edged razor blade or a serrated knife.  Starting from the tip, angle the blade slightly and make 3 slashes, about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch deep so that they ascend like stairs, the second one in the middle of the bread and the third one ending at the other tip.  Dip the blade in water and use a fluid motion so that it doesn’t snag and drag the dough.


Bake the baguettes:  Slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto the baking stone.  Place 1/2 cup of ice cubes in the skillet to produce steam.  Bake until the baguettes are a deep caramel color; 20 to 25 minutes.


Cool and store the baguettes:  Let baguettes cool completely, about 30 minutes, before slicing.  They will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days stored in a brown paper bag.  Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes to recrisp the crust.  For longer storage, freeze in resealable plastic bags for up to 1 month.

Note on flour:  Leader recommends either type 55-style flour from King Arthur, called Artisan Select or one from Giusto’s Specialty Foods in San Francisco, called Baker’s Choice.  

Paddyscake's picture

thanks for typing up the formula. My husband loves bacon..I can see this sliced, rubbed with garlic, toasted and topped with bruschetta, mmmm

zolablue's picture

Thanks, Paddyscake, I wish I would have thought of the garlic.  Yum.  Next time I'm going to have to melt some cheese on this bread.  That would really be good, too.

ehanner's picture

ZB, I finally got around to making the bacon baguettes and they are delicious. I made the mistake of giving one of the loaves to the neighbor before I tasted it. It's kind of a putsey formula and like you I didn't have enough to make 4 300g plus loaves, so I made 3. After all the talk around here recently about how retarding the dough doesn't help flavor, I found myself questioning the 12-24 hours in the cooler. So being the weak kneed (knead) mouse that I am, I baked them at 9 hours.  

This formula delivers a nice smokey aroma from the bacon and if I had any advice it would be to be careful to not brown the bacon more than just a little. Don't let it get crispy at all.

Thanks Zola, this is a treat!


zolablue's picture

Isn't it good grub!  :o)  Glad you also liked the bread.  I agree, you have to be very careful to cook the bacon enough without getting it crispy.  I only let it get slightly browned around the edges.  Next time I think I'll cut even bigger piecs or put it in later in the mixer since it gets a little broken up.  Doesn't Leader mention the European baker for this type of bread that puts the bacon into the dough uncooked?   I have to look that up again to see if I have that right.


Interesting you also didn't get the amount of the dough the recipe stated so at least I know it wasn't just me. I'm not sure I agree with some of the comments made on retardation, btw, but mainly Leader's reason for retarding this dough is to infuse with the bacon flavor and I do think that would be true.  Who knows for sure without trying it both ways.  However its made it is sure good.

dolfs's picture

I'm on a baking spree today, and this bread is one of the breads for today. I do not have the time to bake tomorrow, and started only last night, so I will not be able to retard in the fridge. So I will report on the results with just a proof without retarding. I should also note that I used pancetta, which is milder in flavor anyway, so both work against the "infusion of smokyness principle".


dolfs's picture

So, I completed today's baking and tasting: The baguettes turned out fine with just a regular proof. I am not sure whether the "not so strong" flavor is because pancetta is not so strong, or the lack of overnight retardation. I suspect the former plays the bigger role. One of these days I'll do it with pancetta and overnight, and we'll know for sure.


ehanner's picture


I'll probably get scolded for this but the flavor of bacon fat is the reason why my Chex Mix is the best ever. You know I don't make it very often and in the end it's spread out over a large amount of cereal so I don't fret about it. I'm wondering if a tablespoon or so would give this an extra flavor boost in the toaster.

My daughter (14) worked on a vegetable farm this summer and she brought home bags of fresh ripe tomatoes. The BLT is a family friend all summer along with tomato pie.


AnnaInNC's picture

is the best with bacon fat smeared on it, and a touch of salt. In an emergency, goose lard with bits of fried skin can also be used, grin grin

Followed up by 3 Lipitors of course :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

ZB you got that right. Sort of like a part whole wheat/ mixed rye chabata with a stripe or two (2" x 5")of bacon wrapped inside like it was done on the last fold of shaping.

The bacon is then tender and easy to bite through being steamed inside the bread. Because it's a whole slice, the bread separates quickly to add fresh tomato and lettuce to complete the BLT. -- Mini Oven

zolablue's picture

Eric, I am so not against bacon fat.  (hehe)  Everything in moderation, right?  The Chex Mix sounds fabulous and I need a snack right now not having eaten yet today.  As for the tomatoes, I order heirloom plants from California every year and I use them fresh in the summer (my first tomatoes were picked at a record setting July 11 this year) and make pots and pots of fresh marina that I freeze and use all winter.  Once you eat them you can't ever go back.


Dolfs, I cook with both pancetta and bacon and the pancetta I’ve used is always much milder than the bacon I buy here but, of course, pancetta is only cured and not smoked.  Still, pancetta is so good and do wonder if it is the overnight retardation that adds to the flavor with the addition of either.  I did retard my loaves overnight, as I said above, and they had a great smoky flavor but I won’t know either unless or until I do it without retarding.


Mini, you are giving me such ideas!  I was thinking about this the other day when I was making the Della Fattoria garlic cheese bread again.  What if I just put a few big strips of bacon right in the middle and let it bake like that.  Yum.  I’m also thinking some great peppery smoked bacon would be fabulous in this recipe as well. I love pepper bread so what could be better than bacon and pepper! (Except maybe cheese, too!)