WHOLEMEAL CHEDDAR, BACON & CARAMELISED ONION LOAF
I know I might be blowing my own trumpet, but this is a very good looking loaf of bread, topped with rosemary, sea salt and cheddar cheese, which when baked turns a lovely golden brown, with lovely burnt bits of cheddar scattered around. This loaf is perfect with cold meats and pate.
- 200g Strong White Flour
- 300g Spelt Flour
- 1x 7g Sachet Fast Action Yeast
- 100g Mature Cheddar (Grated)
- 3 Sprigs Rosemary (Leaves Picked)
- 8 Bacon Rashers (Cooked & Cut Into Chunks)
- 300ml Tepid Water
- 20g Maldon Sea Salt
- Knob Of Unsalted Butter
- 1 Red Onion (Finely Chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Heaped Tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
- To begin, place the rashers of bacon under a medium grill and cook for 2-3 until very lightly browned but still moist. Remove from the grill, drain on absorbent kitchen paper and cut into 2cm chunk.
- To caramelise the onions, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Once foaming, add the onions and stir for the first 2 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt, cover and turn down the heat as low as possible until the onions have softened.
- Increase the heat and add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and continue cooking until the onions start to catch on the base of the pan and begin to caramelise. Stir every so often until all the onions become sticky and sweet. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- For the bread, combine the flours, yeast, water and a pinch of salt. Combine into a rough dough then knead for 15-20 minutes to form a smooth elastic dough.
- Shape roughly into a round ball and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for 1 hour
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knock back the dough, then add the cheese, rosemary, salt, bacon and onions reserving some salt, cheese & rosemary till the end to sprinkle on top. Knead well until they are all evenly dispersed. (The onions may make the dough very wet, in this case add some more flour until it returns back to a smooth dough. Shape into a boule as per the images. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for a second time for an additional hour.
- 20 minutes before you're ready to bake preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Sprinkle the cheese, rosemary sprigs and sea salt over the dough. Pour 1 cup of water in a roasting tray and place in the oven. This will make steam for when the bread is baking
- Place the bread in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the bread has risen and cooked through.