Name: Bacon Bread
Inspired by: Final Fantasy XIV
Serving Size: 2 baguettes
Secret Ingredient: Alaea (Hawaiian) salt
"Soft dough mixed with thick-sliced bacon and twisted into a pattern resembling a sheaf of wheat." - Description of the Bacon Bread item
Bacon bread is a great reward after a long quest! Delicious with cheddar cheese, maple syrup, or just on its own. Makes an incredible sandwich bread.
The in-game recipe calls for red volcanic rock salt, which I took to mean Alaea sea salt. If you don't have any, Cajun seasoning or even normal table salt will do.
As an optional advanced step, steam the oven to yield a rustic bread crust. Before preheating, put a cast iron pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Once preheated, place the dough above the bottom rack. Carefully (!) fill the iron pan with half an inch of hot water, which will immediately become steam. Close the oven to keep the steam in for 5-10 minutes.
Making the Bacon Bread
You will need:
- 1/2 lb. smoked bacon (about 8 strips)
- 4 tablespoons bacon fat (or melted butter)
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1-2 teaspoons Alaea salt (use less if your bacon is salted)
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Cook the bacon on a frying pan over medium heat. For best results, do not overcrowd the pan.
- Drain bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel, and reserve any bacon fat.
- Warm the milk and add to a mixing bowl with yeast. Allow to proof (about 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, finely chop the cooled bacon.
- Add salt to yeast mixture.
- Mix in 2 tablespoons fat: measure what you have in bacon fat, and then add melted butter to make up the remainder. (I like to keep it 50-50).
- Mix in two cups flour, then the bacon bits, and finally the last 1 1/4 cup of flour. (If too dry, add water).
- Knead into a smooth ball, and place in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover and let rise (about 45 minutes).
- Punch down, and shape into two thin baguettes on a cookie sheet. Let rest 10 minutes.
- Use kitchen shears to make slanted cuts along each baguette every one or two inches.
- Alternate moving the cut pieces of dough to the left and right, to make each baguette resemble a sheaf of wheat. (This will also help you pull apart the bread into slices.)
- Brush the top of the baguettes with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). While waiting, place bread on top of oven to rise some more.
- Bake until golden brown (about 30 minutes).
- Brush the top with remaining bacon fat (or melted butter), and sprinkle with additional salt.