Super-yummy artisan bread, good served warm with butter, or sliced and toasted! Makes great rustic sandwiches.
• 6 strips of bacon
• 1 cup lukewarm water
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
• 3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour, divided
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 2 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (or sharp cheddar)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
2. In bowl of stand mixer, combine water, sugar, yeast, and about 1/3 of flour. Mix well and let stand for 15 minutes. Mixture will be frothy.
3. Add remaining bread flour and tomato paste. Knead with dough hook until dough becomes elastic. Add cheese, crumbled bacon, salt, and reserved bacon fat and knead until all ingredients are incorporated and evenly distributed. Form dough into ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and return to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350° and sprinkle some cornmeal on baking sheet. Remove dough from bowl and form it into ball. Place it, seam-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 30 minutes.
5. Slash loaf as desired, and bake until browned and done, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely on rack before slicing.