Cost Per Serving:
This bread is an adaptation on Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “Prosciutto Ring” from her book “The Bread Bible.” She calls for using prosciutto, however we replaced it with cooked bacon bits. This bread is relatively fast and easy to make and it is simply delicious! The bacon provides such a good and prominent flavor along with freshly ground black pepper. This bread does not only contain bacon, it is brushed with bacon fat both before going into the oven as well as once it’s done cooking.
Rose Levy Beranbaum provides excellent advice regarding all her breads, such as for example cooking the bread with a couple of ice cubes in order to provide a moist environment in the oven. This methods helps the bread produce a nice and crispy crust.
This bread makes a good meal just as is. Rich, flavorful, with an excellent aroma and nice texture, it gives you a lot of return for relatively little effort.
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon instant yeast
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup water, room temperature
4 ounces cooked bacon, cut in ½ inch pieces
2 tablespoons bacon fat
Mix the flour, the sugar, the yeast and the pepper together in a large bowl. Add the salt and mix well. Add the water and work the dough together with a wooden spoon. On a floured surface, start kneading the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is very elastic. Knead in the bacon pieces. Dust lightly with flour, cover with some plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
Now, roll the dough into an 18-inch rope, shape it into a ring and overlap the ends together. Set the bread on a silpat (or parchment paper) and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about an hour, until the dough has almost doubled.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees (it is recommended that you pre-heat the oven an hour before baking). On the lowest shelf in the oven, place a cast-iron pan or a sheet pan. Above, place a baking stone or a sheet pan.
Just before baking, brush the bread with bacon fat. Insert the whole silpat into the oven and place it on the hot baking stone. On the underlying pan, toss ½ cup of ice cubes.
After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 400 degrees and remove the silpat (place the bread directly on the stone or the sheet pan). Also turn the bread around for even browning. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the bread is deep golden brown. When the bread is done, turn the oven off, open the door slightly and leave in for another 5 minutes.
Move the bread to a cooling rack and brush with another coat of melted bacon fat. Let cool completely.