I feel like bacon tends to be more of a buzzword than a flavor these days. We make bacon doughnuts, bacon lollipops and even bacon flavored ritz crackers. While I’m the first one to take a deep appreciative sniff of bacon, I feel like it’s too much, almost.
Then breakfast challah walks in. And boy, does it make an entrance.
A sweet, eggy loaf laced with bacon and loaded with maple syrup flavor. It’s sweet, salty, maplely fun. Growing up mostly in Vermont, I stand firm in my need for real, thick, maple syrup. Grade A Amber is my favorite, but I don’t really care as long as it actually comes from a tree. You might find that the maple flavor is somewhat hard to coax out in glaze, so I kick it up a notch with some vanilla extract. While I’ve never actually tried maple extract, it seems like that could help boost as well – so do as you wish, seems like you couldn’t possibly go too wrong.
Feel free to inhale this bread, ten minutes out of the oven, with some salted butter. Or, if your stomach is allowing some semblance of patience, fry up an egg and slap it on a toasted slice of this bread. My dad suggesting french toasting it…. and on that note, I’m off to make more.
challah recipe adapted from molly on the range
makes two loaves
for the bread:
41/2 teaspoons (about two envelopes) of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
6 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup flavorless oil (i used sunflower)
1/4 cup brown sugar
maple-bacon mixture: for one loaf. if you’d like two breakfast loaves, double this and the glaze.
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt
8 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp
3 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
for the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs half and half (or cream, or milk, or anything. you know the drill).
In a medium sized bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir it together, and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to foam.
While it’s foaming, mix the flour, salt and remaining white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and put the dough hook on. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and brown sugar.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and immediately add the egg mixture. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and somewhat sticky. If it is really sticky, add a bit of flour, but try not to add to much, since it will make the dough tough.
Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about two hours.
In a small bowl, place 5 chopped strips of bacon and toss with the maple syrup. Chop the other 3 strips and set aside in a small bowl, for topping.
Once the dough is doubled in size, turn it out onto a slightly floured surface, and divide in two. Keep one half covered while you work with the other. Divide the half into three pieces, and pat/roll each piece into a twelve inch log, and pat out about three inches wide. Divide the mapled bacon between the logs, and roll them up like a jelly roll and pinch to close. Pinch the ends together, and braid down, pinching the ends as well.
Place on a baking sheet with parchment, cover with a dishtowel, and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Brush the loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, and an internal temperature of 190°F. Check for completion at about 28 minutes.
Let them cool, eat while warm with butter, fried eggs, and more bacon, or glaze when room-temperature with the maple glaze. To make the glaze, combine the cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Add more maple, cream, or powdered sugar as desired. Top with reserved chopped bacon.