Monday, July 8, 2013

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread (With Bacon)

So..........I'm not a huge bacon fan.


I know, right?  I just, don't really get it.  I mean, don't get me wrong, bacon is delicious.  But, I don't understand why everything has to have bacon in it these days.  It's gotten a bit out of control.  Everyone just need to calm down a bit with the bacon.  Personally, if I'm going to eat pork, I'd rather have ham or sausage.  Especially ham.  Maybe you think I'm crazy, but I really love me some ham (#hamandcheese).

The one good thing that has come out of this bacon craze is the bacon-for-desert trend.  Yes, sometimes it is excessive (have you seen the peanut butter and bacon shake at Sonic? It looks really gross), but I LOVE salty and sweet together.  Why would I eat salty or sweet when I could have salty and sweet?  I'm not sure who can take credit for the bacon desert thing.  Maybe it was Bobby Flay's bacon ice cream on Iron Chef that did it.  Or maybe it was Paula Deen's brown sugar bacon.  Whoever is responsible, I'd like to give them a high five.

I also recently had a bacon donut.  I know that these are trendy right now, but my local donut shop Gibson's (home of the world's best donuts and no one could ever convince me otherwise and if you tried to convince me otherwise I will fight you) just started making them.  And they are so good. good.  I don't know what else to say about them.  If I really tried to describe it, it would get very inappropriate very fast.

That's why when I decided to bake a cinnamon pull-apart bread, I thought I should add a little bacon.  And let me tell you, I'm glad that I did.  It's not too much, it's just the perfect little salty bite to cut through the super sweet bread.
You should make this bread.  I guess I say that about everything that I bake, but this time I really REALLY mean it.  I made it twice in one week.  It's that good.

I got the recipe from Joy the Baker.  She's got some good ones.  But I added the bacon.  I will take credit for that.

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread (With Bacon) adapted from Joy the Baker

3  cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

bacon, cooked and crumbled (use as much as you want, cuz you probably like bacon more than I do)

Whisk 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together in a bowl.

Whisk eggs together in a separate bowl and set aside.

Place butter and milk in a saucepan on medium heat.  Mix together until butter is just melted.  Remove from the heat.  Add your water to the hot milk and butter.  Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a spatula.  Then add the eggs and mix until incorporated.  Add 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and mix for about 2 minutes.  Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

While dough is rising, mix sugar, cinnamon, and ginger together.  Melt 2 ounces of butter (for filling) on medium heat until browned.  BE CAREFUL!  It can go from browned to burnt very quickly.

After dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and knead the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into the dough.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a large oval shape.  Roll dough as thin as you can, but don't stress about it.  It's not crucial for it to be super thin.
Once you've got a nice big oval, spread butter all over the dough.  You can brush it on, or you can just use your hands.  It's ok.  Make a mess.  It's fun.

Then pour your cinnamon mixture mixture over the dough and spread it out evenly.
Now add that bacon!  Like I said, use as much as you want.  I used about half of a package of bacon.  
Slice the dough into 6 even slices.  Stack these slices on top of each other.  Then slice the stack into 6 slices.
Grease a loaf pan with butter.  Place the 6 stacks into the pan so that they stand up.  Like this:
Any cinnamon and sugar that fell out while I was slicing and stacking the dough I just sprinkled over the top.  Now cover the loaf pan with a clean towel and let rise for another 45 minutes.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cook in the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes.  You want the top of the bread to be dark brown.  If it's not a dark brown, it will probably be a bit raw in the middle.  Not cool.  Let the bread sit for about 20 minutes.  This will be hard, but I know you can do it.  
I topped mine the first time with a cream cheese icing.  The second time I just used a light glaze.  Both were very delicious, but the cream cheese icing was pretty incredible.  Cream cheese icing is just cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract whipped into a frenzy.  Some recipes add butter, but I don't think that is necessary.  Let's not go overboard.  

Now dig in!  This bread is heavenly while it is warm, but it's actually really delicious the next day.  I made it the night before I threw a little brunch for my family and it was very yummy cold.  I'm not sure how it tastes the day after that, because it hasn't lasted that long in my house.  And I'm pretty sure it won't last that long in yours.  

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