Bacon cheddar bread is a moist and flavorful bread, sure to please the carni-carbivores in your family.
Several years ago I began baking breads for my family. I started out with the typical bread machine, but discovered that the breads were often very dense, hard and not very good. Later, I discovered that you could used the bread machine to make the dough, then let the dough rise naturally in your baking pan and bake it in the oven. The results were a much better bread. I got rid of the bread machine years ago, but this is one of the breads that I made very often for my family, and still do.
To begin, you’ll cook 8 to 10 slices of bacon until they are brown and crispy.
Place the cooked bacon on a platter lined with paper towels, and reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan.
Grate 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese.
Chop up your bacon.
In your mixer, combine 3 cups of white bread flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, the reserved bacon drippings, 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, and 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water.
Set aside 1/3 cup of both the grated cheese and the chopped bacon. Add the remaining cheese and bacon to the mixing bowl. Mix everything together with your dough hook until a nice, elastic dough is formed – about 10-14 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with a cloth, and let it rise in a warm location until it is doubled in size. This will take about 1 hour. I like to set mine in the oven with the oven light on. The bulb creates a perfectly comfortable warmth for the bread to do its thing.
An hour or so later.
Divide the dough in half, and form two loaves. Place them on a baking sheet, several inches apart. Let them rise another hour or so, again covered in that warm location until doubled in size.
When they are ready, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Gently brush the tops with a little milk.
Grab that cheese and bacon that you had saved and pile them on the tops of the loaves.
Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden and beautiful. Let them cool for just a few minutes on a cooling rack. This bread is delicious both warm and room temperature.