Friday, April 12, 2013

Bacon & Onion Pull Apart Bread

The weekend is coming, the weekend is coming!!!!  Also, Spring turkey season is coming on Monday.

Mike will be out early in the morning to go and outsmart a Tom or Jake and bring him back as a trophy, bragging rights to his neighbor, and dinner. :) You will probably be able to find notes and stories about his first turkey hunt of the season at his hunting blog "Fowl Mouthed Therapy."

So this last week I have spent hunting down Peeps, yes Peeps. Those fluffy sugar covered marshmallow confections shaped to look like rabbits and chicks. Yes, those. My mother didn't buy any for Easter this year (goodness knows why!?) so I had to go hunt them down. Unfortunately it seems that Walmart dumped them and ran out FAST! So I had sort of given up on them and came to terms that the next opportunity I would get to have peeps would be July for the 4th.

But wait!!!! On a routine run to Hyvee for a quick food pick up I came across the mother load.

10 cents for the chicks and smaller options of bunnies and 25 cents for the larger groupings of peeps. YES YES YES!!! I bought about 10. But hey, a girl has gotta have her peeps from Easter, it's just not Easter without them.

So that was one of the major accomplishments of this week, I know, I'm totally a thrilling person who lives such a fascinating life.


Since this was a more restful week in preparation for a 5k I will be running tomorrow I decided I would make a few things. My oven has a bit lonely lately with my lackadaisical approach to baking this past few months.

What I chose to bake? Bacon & Onion Pull Apart Bread. I have never made a pull apart bread for one and the idea of bacon and onion in bread was just intriguing and such a wonderful idea.

The ingredient list was not terribly extensive nor were the directions complicated. Just time consuming, as any bread usually is - unless you have a bread machine. Even then it's time consuming having to wait for the silly thing to finish.

I like things that are simple to throw together. Such as tossing in flour, milk, sugar, eggs, yeast, salt, milk and butter together to create a lovely dough that will soon rise and create a puffed fluffy dough ready and willing for the filling. (ignore my naked foot in that picture above there).

So the main reason I wanted to make this was the bacon, I mean come on, it's BACON! I love bacon, I really do. To think at one time I wouldn't eat this delicious salty and savory strip of meat. I mean, what was wrong with me!? If you don't like bacon, there's something wrong - you need to get your head checked. Who can resist a food that cheers for you as it cooks and just crisps up so nicely as well as accents just about any dish perfectly. Salad, sandwiches, casseroles, potatoes, sides, veggies, and even cupcakes! It can also be eaten for every meal and snack, so I would say this is the perfect food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert. Yes please.

So then there's the onion. A large onion, caramelizing in the bacon grease. Which I have no finesse for caramelizing onions I suppose, as you can see here:

As you can see, I burned a few pieces. I just need more practice I suppose. Or let Mike take care of the onions like I normally do. We really need a place together, this way I can avoid onions in the future.

Soon you have to chop up your bacon so that it's in nice bit sized pieces to sprinkle all over the lovely dough. How gorgeous is that bacon?

So now we have this beautiful golden egg-y dough. It was quite lovely for bread. I had to stretch it out and try to create square out of it so I could sprinkle my bacon and onion and then cut into strips, which then get cut into squares.

Having to pile this into a loaf pan (in my case a mini loaf pan) is tricky and the help of a bottle of Dawn dish soap and a can of cooking spray helped hold my pan upright on end so I could do so.

But in the end it's worth the pain of having to constantly readjust the pan so it doesn't go sliding off the counter and to the floor. But in the end it should kinda look like this in the pan. Then you bake and wait.

In the end it comes out gloriously golden brown and smelling AH-MAZING! Talk about my apartment smelling like I was just making breakfast. I'm sure the neighbors are jealous. Way better than the fish smell that used to overtake before the crazies moved out.

And when it's cool enough to pull from the pan, you have this, a nugget of delicious, bacon, onion, and dough. The recipe is from Yummly and they suggested serving with some maple syrup. I tried it and was ok, I preferred some nice salted spreadable butter. It was a heart attack in a bite that way but was soo delicious. Will work on my onions next time.

Bacon Onion Pull Apart Bread - by Yummly
Serves about 8-16 (depends on how many pieces you decide is a serving.
Makes 1 regular loaf or 2 mini loaves

4 Tbsp unsalted butter/margarine
2/3 cup milk (I used skim)
3 cups all purpose flour - divided (I used unbleached)
2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
2 1/4 tsp (usually 1 pkt) active dry yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs (I brought mine to room temperature - you can do this by letting sit out or placing in hot tap water for a few minutes)

10 slices bacon, prepared and chopped (about a 12 oz pkg)
1 large onion, sliced
olive oil, if needed (I had plenty of bacon grease)
dash of salt
sugar, optional

Make the dough:
1. Melt the butter together with the milk over low heat on the stove top until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
2. Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Add your butter-milk mixture and mix until your flour is moist. Mix in your eggs one at a time. Add the remaining cup of flour and mix it in until a soft dough forms. Knead it for a few minutes more. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a light cloth, and let sit in a cool place for about an hour.

Make the Filling:
3. Cook your bacon. Pan-fry your bacon (or cook however you prefer). Set your cooked slices aside on a paper towel and let it sit. Reserve the bacon drippings to caramelize the onions (or just use olive oil if you prefer).
4. Caramelize your onions. Slice up a whole onion. Make sure the bottom of your pan is coated with reserved bacon drippings (or olive oil) and toss in your onions. Sprinkle them with salt and let them cook over medium heat for about 30-45 minutes. NOTE: you may need to turn the heat down on your stove top or add more oil if the onions are drying out too quickly. You'll need to stir them and monitor them closely. Scraping them up off the pan if they burn, and usually with more frequency toward the end of the process.

Assemble the bread:
5. On a well flour board (with a well floured rolling pin), roll out the dough into a very large rectangle or square (20in x 12in or 16in x 16in at least is probably good). The dough is very stretchy, especially when you're putting it into the loaf pan, so more is better.
6. Spread your caramelized onions and bacon across the entire surface of the dough, even up to the edges.
7. Turn your loaf pan onto it's narrow side. Slice your dough into long strips (probably about 4 inches wide) and stack those strips on top of each other. Very gently cut the stacked strips into squares (or rectangles) and pile those stacked squares into the loaf pan until you have got a Jenga like, filled pan.

Bake the bread:
8. In an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake your bread for 30-40 minutes (or until it's very golden brown on top - but not burnt).
9. Remove it from the oven and let it sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes before shifting it out.
10. Once the bread has cooled a little, serve and enjoy.

Can drizzle with maple syrup, spread with butter, jam, or eat on it's own. You can even tweak and add herbs and spices to the dough. You're choice, get creative.

Now go out and cook!