Crusty bacon and cheese bread recipe

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  • Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling on dough and flouring hands (Jennifer uses King Arthur)
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • ½ pound sliced bacon, cooked until crispy, drained, and crumbled or chopped
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1¼ cups water
How to Make It
  1. (Jennifer likes to mix this by hand in a 4-quart lidded plastic container so that after mixing she can just pop on the lid and leave the dough on the counter to do its thing. You can easily mix this in a medium bowl and then transfer it to a glass or plastic container with a lid. Keep in mind it will increase slightly in volume.) With a rubber spatula, mix the 3 cups flour, salt, yeast, bacon, and cheese together until incorporated. Add the water, and stir until completely incorporated. The dough should be evenly wet, with no dry spots. It will look a little “shaggy” and sticky. Cover and let stand on a counter at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours. (Jennifer likes to let it ferment for a full 24 hours if there is time.)
  2. Remove the container lid. Sprinkle the top of the dough with 3 tablespoons flour. Flour your hands well. Remove the dough from the container or bowl by scooping your hands underneath the dough and lifting it out. The dough will be wet and soft. Make a ball with the dough by gently tucking the edges of the dough underneath while slightly turning it. Place the dough on a well-floured silicone baking mat or cotton kitchen towel, sprinkle the top of the dough ball lightly with flour, and cover with a cotton kitchen towel until doubled in size, 11/2 to 2 hours. After the dough has risen for about 1 hour, preheat a lidded Lodge 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven to 440° in the oven. Make sure the pot is covered with the lid while preheating.
  3. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven after 30 minutes. Remove the ball of dough from the bowl or towel, and place it in the pot. Cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and continue to bake until golden brown, about another 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pot as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
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