Bits of Bacon Sourdough

Yes, you read that right. Bacon Sourdough. Local, pasture-raised bacon is easily our favorite protein. We buy in large amounts and store extra in the freezer. Can I just say, we love our farmers. 

Ok, so let's talk about add-ins. I have read many, many sourdough books and honestly I think the topic of add-ins is way too complicated and quite frankly, overwhelms the home baker. The way I learned how to successfully do add-ins, was to just go for it. You have to surrender to the idea that we can't always control the outcome, and there's a lot of fun and freedom to be found in the unknown. My advice is to simply think about the weight, texture and water amount of the ingredients you want to add in. Herbs are a very forgiving place to start! But, why don't you give this bacon sourdough a shot! We like to take this one camping, toast it up on the griddle and eat with soft boiled eggs. So simple and so nourishing. 

This recipe follows my simple sourdough recipe. If you feel you need more support, check out my complete guide to beginner sourdough here. 

65g starter

350g warm water

500g all purpose flour

10g salt

3-4 strips of cooked, cooled bacon, chopped 

The night before bake day

Add water and starter to your mixing bowl and give a good ‘bubble-bath’ like swishing. Then add flour and salt and mix will by hand until all bits of flour are fully combined. I like to spend at least 2 minutes mixing my dough to really encourage the gluten structure to begin developing. At this point, it should feel like a sticky, shaggy ball. Get most of the dough off of your hands, get washed-up and re-feed your starter. Cover your bowl with a tea towel and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, your dough should appear a little smoother and have more elasticity.

Add Mix- Ins

After 30 minutes of resting, add bacon and mix by hand until combined. 

Stretch and Fold

Now we want to fold the dough to both form into a ball, but also to add structure and vitality to the final crumb. This will also ensure that the bacon is evenly distributed. With a little water on your hand, starting at 12 o'clock, grab the dough and fold down to 6 o' clock, give the bowl and quarter turn and repeat until you've folded the entire dough into a ball. Optional: repeat folding step  2-4 times every 30 minutes if you can spare the time. Cover and let rise overnight somewhere warm, I leave mine on the stove top.

Bench Rest

Good morning! Now its time to rest and shape your dough. Gently guide your dough onto a floured surface, dust with flour and cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes. This step is optional! The bench rest allows the dough to continue fermenting at cooler temperature; developing more flavor and relaxing the dough so it softer and easier to stretch into a desired shape.

Shape 

There are several easy ways to shape rounds. I prefer the envelope method which I share in detail in my guide. With floured hands, grab the top of the dough and with a little tug in your grip, stretch the dough across the middle and pressing the seam into the dough just before the bottom, using your fingertips to press down along the seam to close the ends together. Do the same for the bottom. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. If your dough doesn't seem like its holding shape, you can do another envelope shape.

Proof + Pre heat

Gently place your dough seam side up into a floured proofing basket. Cover with a tea towel and place somewhere warm. Our goal in the proofing stage is for our dough to rise one last time in its final shape. Proof for one hour and up to 90 minutes. You can also proof in the refrigerator if you're short on time, for up to 6-8 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with your enameled cast iron pot inside 

Score 

Time to place our dough into the (very hot) pot. TIp- place a piece of parchment paper on top of the proofing basket and flip over to now have your dough resting on the paper. Score your bread using a bread lame or even just a razor blade to allow air to vent out. Deep lines are key and the possibilities are endless. You can do a simple "X" or two simple lines, can't wait to see what you come up with!   

Bake 

Use the oven safe parchment paper to lift and lay the dough into your pot. With the weight of the bacon in the dough, I like to bake this one a little longer. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack for at least 30-60 minutes before you cut into it.

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