Introduction: Bacon and Cheese French Bread
Perfect with a beer at the "aperitif" or as a whole meal during a trek, this bacon and cheese bread is a traditional supply in my home region of Franche-Comté, in France. It was originally done for hard work days in the cold moutains of Jura.
In this I'tables I will bake it with you.
Serve it warm with a drink at the "aperitif" or bake it for your next picnic. With a cup of wine (red, from Jura of course) or with spring water, even with (smoked) tea, it is an energetic meal with wonderful flavours.
What you will need:
- Flour (500g - I used a wholemeal flour)
- Fresh backer's yeast (about 10g)
- Water (about 300ml)
- Emmental or Comté Cheese (I loooove Comté as it comes from my home region but unfortunately I had none to bake that time do I used... Emmental)
- Bacon or lardon (smoked eventually)
If you like it, you can add onions or shallots, white wine etc...
Let's bake it!
Step 1: Making the Bread
You can have much more info about how to bake the bread at the I'tables classe BREAD.
The bread we are baking for our project is described in the First Loaf lesson.
Take your water and make it a bit warmer about 40°C.
Mix your yeast with a little of this warm water. Take care, your water shouldn't be too warm as it could kill the yeast which is something we want to avoid.
Do a well in the centre of the flour and add your yeast and the rest of the water. Salt slightly but not too much as bacon will add more salty taste to the bread.
Stir and stir, mix and knead (I basically have no pics of this phase as the dough is kind of sticky on my hands ;-) ) to obtain a dough which have a good texture.*
We need here to allow the yeast to start working. So let the dough rest for a couple of minutes (let's say 15 min...).
Once the yeast has made its first task, let's knead. It is really important that you realize that kneading is what will make the texture of your bread. So if you want to have a light, aerated, wonderfully tasting bread, knead for at least 15 min.
Once done, it's time for the yeast to work again. Let the dough rest in a jar with a protective towel over it. Over 1 or 2 hours, the yeast will start to activate and transform your dough into bread dough. In the meantime, cook your bacon in a pan.
*one can also use a bread machine which would make this step much easier
Step 2: Bacon & Cheese
Once your dough had a good rest and rose it is time to add cheese and bacon.
Just add it and mix it. Knead a bit again for a couple of minutes.
Add cheese and bacon at your taste.
Cut your dough in two equal balls. Make two line out of them and shape it as a a braid.
We will allow our bread to rest again for at least half an hour. You should obtain a braid with a slightly augmented size due to the yeast action.
Step 3: Baking the Bread and Enjoying Your Work
Start your engine!
Pre-warm your oven at 240°C.
Put your braid into the oven with a bowl of water aside to ensure a good hydration of your bread during the baking.
30 min is a good start for baking time. However you should check it often after 20 min in the oven.
Your bread will be baked when a true brown color appears on the crust. You can have some time more at grill to have a crustier bread (I love it).
Once done, remove your bread from oven and then let it cool down on a grille, allowing air to circulate all around.
Your bread has cooled down? Great, it is time to enjoy the fruit of your work.
Cut it and enjoy!