This turns out to be one of the best breads I’ve ever made. A couple of reasons, I think; but the big difference is a couple of special ingredients that aren’t available locally, but are easy to get over the internet. The cheese especially makes a real difference in flavor, and the whole-meal flour makes all the difference in the world to the texture and body of the loaf. I’ll include websites for them….
hint: because of the course texture and all the flavorful ingredients, this is excellent lightly buttered and toasted under the broiler….
This makes 1 large loaf, or 2 smaller loaves.
- 3 c King Arthur Bread Flour
- 1/4 c King Arthur Hi-Maize Hi Fiber flour
- 2/3 c King Arthur Irish Style Whole Meal flour (this adds a course texture, and a nutty flavor)
- 4 oz cooked and ground-up peppered (uncured) bacon (I use Pederson’s because the flavor is so outstanding. no antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, nitrites, or MSG) To get 4 ounces, you may need to start with 6 oz or more of uncooked bacon, depending on the fat content
- 1 t fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 c warm water (a little more if necessary to get the right consistency — it takes about 2 T more here in the desert)
- 1 large egg
- 4 oz Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (for the record, this is the sharpest cheddar I’ve ever tasted — a little goes a long way!)
- 2/3 c Cabot’s Cheddar Powder
- 1/3 c grated Romano cheese
- 1 rounded T of Bread Machine Yeast (for a bread machine) Or Quick Rise Yeast for a hand-kneaded loaf
You may first notice that there is no call for salt, sugar, or oil in this recipe — 3 normally nonnegotiable ingredients in homemade bread.
THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE.
The cheese and the bacon both have high fat content, high salt content, and the milk (cheese) and added dry buttermilk in the cheese powder is lactose and so provides the sugar necessary to feed the yeast and cause excellent rising. If you’re using a bread machine, you might want to add a T of sugar with your yeast just to make sure it rises adequately in the machine’s time allotted, but otherwise, there’s no real need.
Bread Machine Users: This recipe only works for large loaf machines, but the recipe can be cut in half, OR the machine can be used to mix and rise the whole bread recipe — and then transferd to a conventional oven for the baking — OR — divide the dough just before the baking cycle and cook 1 loaf in the oven now, and refrigerate the other for later baking. (I only use a bread machine these days because of the limitations on my hands, so you can be assured the recipe works just fine in this way….)
Be aware that because of the relative weight of the ingredients and the coarseness of the wholemeal flour, this loaf does not reach a true “double” size during rising. This is a loaf that is slightly more dense than a normal whole wheat loaf.
- fry up your bacon and run it through a meat grinder or hand grated. It should be the consistency of cooked ground beef.
- combine dry ingredients, and then add the cheese powder and bacon. Slowly add warm water and begin to knead (if by hand) or combine all remaining ingredients except shredded cheddar in your stand mixer or bread machine. Add more water by the teaspoon if more is needed to get a good bread dough consistency
- cover with a damp towel in a warm place and let the dough rise to nearly double, then push down and turn the dough and repeat.
- Spread the dough on a floured board and fold in half your shredded sharp cheddar.
- Place the dough in your pans and top with the remaining cheddar. place loaf in a warm and draft-free spot and allow it to rise for 30 minutes, then bake in a hot oven for 1 hr at 350.