This recipe is based on Ken Forkish’s Pain au Bacon. This time I reduced the amount of bacon and added shredded cheddar and a little mozzrella for decoration.
200 gr. shredded cheddar (shredded and chilled in the freezer while preparing the dough)
200 gr. cooked bacon, crumbled, with 2 tbsp reserved bacon fat ( I actually only had 150 gr. of bacon because somebody who shall remain nameless ate some!)
800 gr. bread flour
100 gr. ww flour
200 gr. levain
650 gr. water
20 gr. sea or kosher salt
Optional: 2 gr. dry active yeast
Mix the flours with very warm (90-100 dF) water and allow to autolyse for 30 minutes.
Add the salt, yeast and levain and mix thoroughly using wet hands, pinching and lifting and squeezing the dough to incorporate the ingredients.
Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes then add the 2 tablespoons of bacon fat, the crumbled bacon and the cold cheddar, and mix again till incorporated. Pinch, stretch & fold till the dough is full of cheese and bacon and smooth. Wet hands help.
Place in the proofing box (microwave with a cup of boiled water). Initial dough temp was 67.5 dF probably due to the ice cold cheddar cheese being added. After the first stretch and fold the dough temp was 74dF so definitely the cold cheddar.
Stretch & fold the dough every 30 minutes for the first two hours. Then wait until it is almost double in bulk before dividing and preshaping. Allow dough to rest 10 -20 minutes on the counter and final shape the dough creating into boules to place on a cookie sheet or heated stone, or in bannetons. This dough was very malleable and less sticky than some of the others I’ve made. Well floured hands helped.
The dough will probably be ready for baking in one hour if left at room temperature but keep your eye on it and don’t let it overproof. You can also place in the refrigerator for 12 hours although I haven’t tried this method for this particular bread but it is pretty much a standard.
This time, I put the dough in the refrigerator for the 15 minutes it took the oven to heat up to 475 dF, then slashed it and sprinkled it with shredded mozzarella. I’m still working on my slash technique…I made my own Lame by taking a razor blade and sticking a chopstick through each end. Makes a nice curve on it…but be careful….its very sharp…I speak from experience….forefinger slashed first time.
But remember YMMV…your mileage may vary depending upon your own climate conditions so you need to use your brain a little bit.
That is something I am learning slowly with all of my experimentation. And yes, it has provided us with bread up to our eyeballs lately but half the fun is in creating these delicious recipes and the other half is the delight of taking them out of the oven, seeing their wonderful, golden brown and properly risen results and especially, eating them!