Two weeks ago I spent the weekend in Denver and came home to a pleasant surprise: bacon in the fridge. I qualify this as a surprise because 1) I didn’t grow up eating it and have bought it maybe 2 or 3 times ever and 2) I live with a human nutrition and dietetics student. She had made a big batch of pasta sauce over the weekend and added some bacon to give it a really nice smokey flavor.
While walking to work on Monday I was thinking of all the different things I could make with the remaining bacon and had what I considered at the time to be an absurd thought: bake the bacon into a loaf of bread!
Turns out it wasn’t that strange of an idea and if Zingerman’s does it then it’s certainly ok by me. But, I thought, ‘This weekend I wanted to make that caramelized shallot sourdough I found on WordPress’. The obvious and most delicious answer was to bake a loaf with both of them! The fat from the bacon and shallots (which I baked in the bacon fat) softened the loaf a bit and gave it an incredible taste, while not overpowering the tangy flavor of the sourdough. You might only get one small piece of bacon per bite but the taste permeates the entire loaf.
I used the Tartine country bread dough as my base since it has clearly (from a quick look through previous posts) become my standard sourdough recipe over the past year. If I’m looking to bake a sourdough loaf with certain spices or add-ins I will generally incorporate them into that dough rather than seeking out an entirely new formula.
I have been making an effort recently to diversify my bread posts and try out completely new recipes. The Fresh Loaf continues to be a great source of inspiration and information. If you are interested in browsing a blog that is 100% Tartine all the time, look no further than the Tartine Bread Experiment. You will find some incredible ideas and exceptional pictures, although unfortunately the baker has stopped posting.
Even if you don’t use the Tartine dough for this particular bread, I highly recommend giving the bacon and shallots combination a try!
Bacon & Caramelized Shallot Sourdough (Makes 1 loaf)
- 100 g leaven (fed sourdough starter)
- 375 g warm water
- 450 g bread flour
- 50 g whole wheat flour
- 10 g salt
- 8 shallots, diced and caramlized
- 1/10th lb bacon (about 5 thin strips), cooked and diced
The night before you plan to make the dough, refresh your sourdough starter. Discard all but a few tablespoons, and add in 200 grams water, 100 grams AP flour, and 100 grams whole wheat flour. Cover loosely and let sit overnight. The next morning, you know the starter is ready when it floats in water.
Disperse the starter in 350 grams of water. Add all the flour and mix by hand until you do not see any dry bits of flour. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
After the resting period, add the salt and remaining 25 grams of water. Once everything is incorporated, cover the dough again. For the next 2 hours, ‘turn’ the dough every 30 minutes by grabbing the underside of the dough and stretching it over the rest of the dough. At the end of the first turn add in the ground sesame seeds. After 2 hours, turn the dough just once every hour. Do this for 3.5 to 4 hours (total rise time).
Once the first rise is complete, turn the dough out onto an unfloured surface. Flour the top of the dough, then flip it over so that the floured side is down. Work the piece into a round shape, and let rest of the counter for 30 minutes.
After the rest once again flour the top of the dough and flip it over. Fold the third of the dough closest to you inward, and then stretch the dough out to the sides. Fold the right, and then left, sides in toward the center. Fold the top of the dough inward, and then wrap the bottom part of the dough over it all. (See here for a more visual description)
Let rise for 3-4 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator). Before baking place a dutch oven, with the lid on, in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Once hot, drop the dough into the pan and score the loaves. Immediately place the top back on and return to the oven. Turn the heat down to 450 degrees and cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the top of the dutch oven and rotate the pan. Continue to bake the bread for another 20-25 minutes, until the crust is deeply caramelized. Enjoy!