Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

March 7, 2021

Once a week, we have bread and butter plus whatever little noshes I have around. The bread always starts with an adapted version of the King Arthur Flour Cookbook‘s Crusty Italian Loaf. I use half bread flour though, and bake my loaves (usually 2) in a dutch oven rather than braiding anything. Starting the preferment- the biga- overnight, makes the process a day and a half long project but it’s not very hands on. The flavor is great and it has a nice open crumb. Plus you can add whatever you like. A favorite is dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate. Cheese and jalapeƱo hits the spot. Tonight was cheddar, bacon, and chives. Smeared with a little butter, it tastes like everything I want in a loaded baked potato.

A note on the cheese: You really do want to leave it in chunks. If it’s shredded or in small pieces it will disappear into the dough and just leave you with a sort of cheddar flavor and it will soften the bread a lot.

For the biga:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tbs cool water
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

For the dough:
2-2.5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup water
2 tsp yeast
1 heaping tsp salt (probably more 2 in my house bc I feel like bread needs salt)
6 oz aged white cheddar, large (3/4 inch) cubes
10 strips crispy bacon, chopped or crumbled
2-3 tbs chopped chives.

On the night before you wish to eat your bread, mix the bigga ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Just use your hands or a rubber spatula. It will be thick and pretty shaggy looking. Cover it with a shower cap or plastic wrap and then let it sit in your warmish kitchen over night. The longer it sits on the counter, the more flavorful the bread will be.

The next day: add the cool water, 2 cups flour, yeast, salt, cheddar, bacon, and chives to the bigga. Turn on the mixer and allow the ingredients to mix at a 1 or 2 speed until it just cleans the sides of the bowls. Add the rest of the flour in small amounts if it’s too sticky. I don’t really work the dough at all at this stage. It’s together in a ball, but it’s not stretchy.

Remove the dough ball from the bowl and let it rest on the counter while you wash, dry, and very lightly oil the bowl. I’ve never needed flour on the counter at this stage. Then put the dough ball back in and cover it again. Set a timer for about 40 minutes. By that time, the ball should have sort of loosened up and gotten a little bigger. Wet your hand, then slide it under the dough, scoop/stretch the dough from the bottom and sort of fold it over the top. Vaguely like this. Do that 4 or 5 times, working around the dough ball. Re cover, let it rise another 40 minutes, and then repeat. Leave the dough to rise for another 30 minutes. Were I making just a plain bread, I would reduce each of those 40 minutes to 30…. the add ins will weigh down the dough and it will take longer to rise. You’ll notice these loaves aren’t particularly tall… another consequence of the additions.

Next, shape your bread. May I suggest youtube for tips, bc there’s no way I can accurately describe it? There are 10,000 ways to shape but I generally cut the dough roughly in half and make two loaves. 1’s a boule and 1’s an oblong simply because those are the bannetons I have. Leave these two loaves to rise, covered, for about 75 minutes. I’ve also done just one large boule in the round banneton and increased the rising time to about 90 minutes. You would also need to bake it significantly longer.

While the loaves are rising, place your dutch oven with it’s lid in the oven and heat to 450.

When the loaves have risen, place one in the fridge to cook after the first. I make a parchment sling and turn my loaf out onto it from the banneton. Then slice a cross in the top. Remove the dutch oven from the oven. Working very quickly, place the loaf (seam side down) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid, and put the whole thing in the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid then bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the bread and allow it to cool on a wire rack while you repeat with the refrigerated loaf. Allow loaves to cool totally before cutting. I find it much easier to turn the loaf on it’s side and cut, rather than attack from the top.

The end result is a loaf w/ a crunchy crust that tastes slightly of cheese, an open crumb w/ little pools of cheddar remaining, and a nice smokey bacon flavor. We ate it off a cutting board piled w/ fruit and deviled eggs.