Introduction: Swirled Bacon Onion Bread
A beautiful and delicious homemade bread that has the smoky hint of bacon on the sweet backdrop of onion. Can you think of a reason not to try it? I didn't think so.
Step 1: What You Need
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups of flour (plus more for rolling the dough out later)
2/3 cups minced onion
5 slices of bacon
Alas, I had no fresh onions on hand, so I had to use reconstituted dried ones. If you use them too, reconstitute before measuring.
Step 2: Proofing the Yeast
First, add the yeast to the warm water. It will take about five minutes before it fully dissolves. Once that time is up it should smell yeasty.
Step 3: Adding More to the Dough
Add the sugar. Don't add the salt directly onto the yeast water, or it could kill your yeast. Instead, add at least some of your flour first. This will help protect the yeast.
Out of your minced onions, add one tablespoon to the dough. This will give it a little extra flavor.
Step 4: Mix and Rise
A few minutes of vigorous hand mixing (or for those who have a mixer with a dough hook, a few minutes of relaxation before the next step) and you should have a dough that, though a little sticky, should not leave residue on your fingers if you handle it.
Put your dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for one and a half hours.
Step 5: Time for Bacon...
Now, we come to the yummy part. Take your bacon, and finely chop it. Place in a pan and cook on medium low for until crisp (it took me eight minutes, but times can be different.) Once it is done use a slotted spoon to drain and remove from the pan. Keep the fat, we'll be using it later on in the recipe. However, even if we weren't, you should still keep it, because it's great to impart bacon flavor into a multiple amount of items.
The bread only has a mild bacon flavor, so if you really love it, you might want to add a few more slices.
Step 6: ...and Onions
Take the rest of the onions and add them to your pan (which still should be full of greasy bacon goodness). Cook until caramelized, and then drain like you did the bacon (but still keep the fat! Yes, we still need it.)
For some reason my onions actually got crispy, and I have an idea that it was probably due to me using dried onions. However, as they cooked inside the bread they got soft again. Even if they had remained crisp, it still would have been delicious. Whichever way yours turn out will be good.
Step 7: Back to the Dough
Flour your counter. Punch down your dough, and place it on the counter. Then divide your dough into two lumps (more or less guess. It should be close enough).
Then roll out the dough. It should be about the width of the bread pan you are going to cook it in, and rectangular in shape. Make it about 1/2 inch thick.
Step 8: Adding the Filling
Dust off the extra flour from the top of the dough. Sprinkle on half the onions. Then half of the bacon (go ahead and give it an extra crumble when you do this). All that's left is to roll it up into a log and place it in a greased pan. As you roll, remove the extra flour from the other side as well (A pastry brush might do the trick). Then repeat with the other half of the dough.
It's important to get as much grease as you can off the onions and bacon, and the extra flour off the dough, so you can prevent the dough not sticking to itself as much as possible.
Step 9: Final Rise and Grease
Take the extra bacon grease and brush the tops of the dough with it, for that little extra kick of flavor. Then let the loaves rise for a half hour.
Step 10: Bakeing Time
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cook the bread for 35 minutes, or until golden on top and it sounds hollow when you tap on it.
Remove from the pans and let it cool. (Cooling helps the layers to stick together as well.)
Step 11: Eat :)
Now for the fruit of your labor! Enjoy with a little butter or plain, toasted or not, with something or by itself.
As a note, even with all the precautions to make the layers stick together, it won't be perfect. There's just to much grease and filling. So if you want to toast it, I'd recomend a broiler or toaster oven, to help it to keep from falling apart.
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