Rustic Bacon and Cheddar Bread

I’m a bit lazy when it comes to baking bread. Sure, there’s nothing nicer than the smell of homemade loaves baking in the oven, and the taste of a fresh-from-the-oven roll, but when it comes to kneading….I’m reluctant to commit.

So when I found this recipe by Rachel Allen, I knew it was just my thing. In her book ‘Bake’, she describes it as “seriously easy and no-nonsense”, and truer words have never been spoken!

The combination of bacon and cheese is always going to be a winner and the addition of mustard is really tasy. I’ve experimented in the past and halved the amount of bacon and added finely diced and cooked onion, which adds another layer of flavour and texture to an already delicious loaf.

Rustic Bacon and Cheddar Bread – makes 1 loaf

320g flour
1 T baking powder (I use slightly less, given that Edmond’s baking powder is a bit more active than most!)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper (I never measure this, but give our mill 12-15 good grinds)
100g cheddar cheese, grated
100g bacon, diced (if you can find them, lardons are best, but it really doesn’t matter)
200ml milk
2 eggs
1T wholegrain mustard
60ml olive oil

Heat a small fry pan, and fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from the heat and drain on kitchen towel; cool.

Preheat oven to 180degC. Lightly grease and line a 13 x 23cm loaf tin.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add grated cheese and cooled bacon, and mix well.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard and olive oil.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the liquids, stirring all the time until it is all incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the tin and bake a further 10 minutes, on the oven rack/shelf, to crisp up the bottom. The bread will be cooked when it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Cool* on a wire rack before slicing into chunks and slathering with butter.

* Sometimes, I’ve been impatiently hungry (or running late) and haven’t let the bread cool sufficiently… will crumble quite impressively if you try to slice it while warm!

Recipe: ‘Bake’, by Rachel Allen


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