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Cheese Bread with Bacon and Gruyère

February 11, 2011

We were invited to a potluck dinner party this past Saturday, but there was a catch – it was a bacon party! Every dish brought had to include bacon in some way, even the desserts. Since I was working that day, I had to figure out something I could make ahead of time that could be served cold or at room temperature. Cheese bread with bacon caught my eye as I looked through the index of my baking cookbook, and I decided to give it a try. It even uses reserved bacon grease as the fat component rather than butter, which Devin and the party host were both very excited about (because men always love bacon grease for some reason). It is a quickbread that uses baking powder as a leavener rather than yeast, so the whole recipe including the baking time only takes about an hour and a half. Although it’s probably best if served the same day, it was still really good the next day! The recipe is from the Family Baking Book published by America’s Test Kitchen.

Bacon and gruyère bread

Makes one 8-inch loaf

Ingredients

  • 5  slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/2  cup minced onion
  • 3  ounces Parmesan cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 1/2  cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon black pepper
  • 4  ounces gruyère cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1  cup whole milk
  • 1/2  cup sour cream
  • 1  large egg

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (I put parchment paper in the bottom of my pan to make release from the pan easier), then sprinkle half the Parmesan evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  2. Fry bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 3 tablespoons bacon fat in skillet. Cook the onion in the reserved fat until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool (do not drain fat from cooked onions).
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the gruyère and bacon, breaking up clumps, until the pieces are coated with the flour mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, egg, and onions with reserved bacon fat together until smooth. Gently fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix). The batter will be heavy and thick.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan evenly over top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
  5. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.

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