Easy Artisan Bacon-Cheese Bread
Smoked & Salted
- 10 slices thick cut bacon, diced
8 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (shred yourself, not packaged)
- 2 tbsp granulated yeast
3 cups lukewarm water (body temperature is perfect and will not damage yeast)
- 5-1/2 cups (29.30 ounces) bread flour, more for dusting
- 1-1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp yellow cornmeal
Cook bacon over medium heat until brown and crunchy. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.
- Add yeast to your dough mixing/rising container. Pour in warm water and give the yeast a little stir with a wooden spoon. Add flour and salt. Start mixing with a wooden spoon, use your hands as necessary to fully wet the flour and salt. Add the cheese and bacon into the dough until fully combined. Cover dough with container top or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for at least 3 hours.
After 3 hours place dough in the refrigerator overnight. (This helps make the dough less sticky and easier to work with). When ready to bake, place a metal baking pan (not glass) on the bottom rack of the oven. Fill it with water. (This helps steam the bread, giving it the nice crust).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, the water will heat up during the preheat. Meanwhile, butter the bottom of an 11 x 17 baking tray and sprinkle cornmeal over the butter to prevent the bread from sticking. Sprinkle the dough with flour and flour your hands as well. Divide the dough into two even loaves, shaping each into a ball. Place on the baking tray, several inches apart. Sprinkle generously with flour. (You can also bake one at a time, saving the dough in the refrigerator for another day).
Let rest on the baking tray for 30 minutes. Right before placing in the oven, score top of bread with an "x" or other decorative mark, cutting right through the dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before slicing.