Pain Au Bacon

 

It has been a long detour before I got the chance to bake this bread. This was the bread I’ve wanted to bake since I first read Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast a few months ago. Then I thought I owed it to myself to take baby steps in honing my bread-making skill before I jumped the gun. So I stepped back, baked the most basic Forkish’s levain bread, the overnight country blonde. That was my first attempt at Forkish’s, a somewhat different process than the Chad Robertson’s Tartine methodology, which is my good-old standby. Dare I say the rest is history: I like the studied steady progression I’ve attained as well as the wonderful breads that have come out of my oven lately.

If you like a BLT sandwich, this bread will do it for you. The bacon in the bread adds a complex savory element — to any salads, soups or eggs. The bread sings when served with seasonal heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella. Just enough animal fat to brighten any vegetable dish and without any guilt whatsoever… The bacon bread also goes well with summer fruits spotted lately in the market: apricots, peaches or cherries. I love the versatility and the extra savory kick of this bread.

The dough needs a shorter overnight fermentation time than the overnight country blonde. The bacon fat makes the yeast extra happy and the dough develops more quickly. I would decrease the amount of salt from 20 g to 15 g since the bacon has enough salt in it. I proved one loaf in the refrigerator overnight in excess of 12 hours while another one sat at room temperature for about five hours. Invariably, the cold proof has resulted in a greater oven spring as it bakes. My oven runs hot, I let the bread steam in the dutch oven covered for 20-25 minutes at 475°F, instead of 30 minutes the recipe calls for. Then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.

Bacon adds an irresistible savory element

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