This savory Cheese Bread with Bacon is beautiful to look at and super tasty to eat.The dough is enriched with butter and egg then rolled up with cheese and bacon. You won't be able to eat just one slice!
3½cups(475g) bread flour(plus extra if needed and for dusting)
2½teaspoonsinstant dried yeast
2cupsgrated cheese(use a firm tasty cheese you enjoy)
½cupdiced bacon(excess fat removed)
2tablespoonsmelted unsalted butter(cooled)
Prepare the dough
Lightly grease and completely line a 8in(20cm) x 4in(10cm) loaf pan with non stick baking paper.
Heat milk and butter over low heat until butter has melted and the milk is just lukewarm. If the milk is too hot, allow to cool until lukewarm.
Place the 3 cups flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and milk mixture into a stand mixer bowl
Use a dough hook and knead for 1 minute
Add the salt and knead for a further 5 minutes. If too sticky to handle add a little more flour one spoonful at a time. See notes on tips for making the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and form into a ball.
Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to the bowl flipping it over so that the dough is oiled all over.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle 20in (50cm) x 12 in(30cm).
Prepare the filling by mixing together all the filling ingredients until well combined.
Spread with filling mixture evenly over the dough.
Starting on the long side, roll the dough up into a log.
Cut the log in half lengthwise.
Place side by side and tightly braid the dough pieces. See notes on braiding tips. Pinch ends to seal.
The log will seems too long to fit into the pan, Simply, cup your hands around the ends of the braided log and squish the log together to compress the twist and ensure it fits into the pan. Place dough into prepared pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or until risen. Preheat oven 350°F(180ºC).
Beat extra egg with water and salt for the egg wash.
When ready, brush the dough with the egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes until browned and cooked through.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cool wire rack to cool.
Tips for success
There are two things you need to think about when making this recipe.
Preparing the dough. When baking bread the quantity of flour needed is variable. This is where touch is important. The dough should not be too sticky but also not too dry. It should be feel smooth, springy and a little bit tacky to touch. Don't add all the flour at once because then you can adjust as needed. If you think it's too dry, you can always add a bit more milk or water.
Shaping the dough. Good braiding is part of the beauty and taste of this bread. I have added a little bit of melted butter into the filling which serves as the "glue" to hold the filling together so that you don't lose all of the cheese as you try to braiding. However, it is still important to hold the dough carefully together as you lift and overlap the dough pieces. At the end the braided dough is longer than the pan. Simply, cup your hands around the ends of the braided log and squish the log together to compress the twist and ensure it fits into the pan