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Make Time for Make Ahead Bread

January 9, 2015

800px-Breads_and_rollsColder days and rainy days mean more time inside. Although there is promotion and other things to do here, as well as paperwork and planning, it’s also a time for reading. Combining books and food – well it can be a good combination! Add some maple or bacon (or both) and what’s not to love?!

One of the books that I came across this last little bit is Make Ahead Bread. Oh the recipes. Don’t have time for fresh bread? This can make time! No basic, flavorless bread recipes here – oh no. How about Yeasted Jalapeno and Roasted Red Pepper Cornbread. Or Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest. Or Cinnamon Swirl, or Sweet Potato Monkey Bread or…oh so many choices! If you like the idea of fresh bread but time is limited, mix it up one night as a family activity and bake the next day while doing other things in the evening. This is a pretty awesome book with a variety of goodies…if you like spreading the work load out go check it out (linked above at Amazon).

Oh and that maple and bacon…yes…make this. If you don’t like it I have a teenager who will be happy to polish it off! (I bet you know one of those too!) Enjoy.

Maple, Bacon and Onion Loaf

Maple, bacon and onion make a lovely combination, withthe maple adding sweetness, bacon adding it’s savory saltiness, and the toasted onion flakes adding their own distinct flavor. For maximum flavor, look for grade B maple syrup, which is deeper and more intense than the more common grade A syrup. If you can’t find it, Grade A will be fine. Don’t use pancake syrup. Most of them contain very little, if any, maple syrup. Toasted onion flakes can be found at most supermarkets as well as specialty spice shops. It’s the familiar topping that you often find on bagels and it’s nice topping on burger buns andother breads too. Makes one 9×5 inch loaf.

nonstick baking spray

1 cup room temperature water

2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 pound bacon, cooked until very crisp, drained and crumbled

1 tablespoon toasted onion flakes.

Variation – eliminate toasted onion flakes and add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Tip: Instead of crumbling bacon after cooking, cut it into small dice before cooking. Freeze the bacon for about 15 minutes to make cutting easier. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces as they’re done cooking and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

On Prep Day.

1. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray

2. Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer and knead with the dough hook until smooth. You can also mix the ingredients in a lafge bowl, then knead by hand.

3. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour in a warm room.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into rough 8 inch square. Fold the top half to about the middle of the dough and press the edge down to secure it. Fold the top over again, this time to within about an inch or so of the bottom. Press the edge to seal. Now pull the bottom of the dough up to meet the dough roll you’ve created and seal the seam. Pinch the ends closed and place the dough, seam side down, in the prepared loaf pan.

5. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or place the whole pan in a large plastic bag and tie the open end shut. Refrigerate the bread overnight or up to 24 hours before baking.

On baking day:

1. Take the pan out of the refrigerator and heat the oven to 350*F. Remove the plastic and bake the bread until it is nicely browned and the internal temperature reaches 195*F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Turn out the bread from the pan and cool completely on a rack before slicing.

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