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Brown Ale Bread Stuffed with Bacon, Gorgonzola, and Figs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter plus another 1-2 tablespoons for coating the bowl and pans
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 packets rapid rise active dry yeast
  • 1 cup brown ale or honey brown ale
  • 3 tablespoons honey 1-2 more if you want to drizzle it on top prior to baking
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 7-8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola crumbles
  • 2-3 pieces of cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 3-4 dried figs diced

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter on low until butter is melted, remove from heat and let cool until warm to touch but not hot.
  2. Slowly stir yeast into warm water and set aside for about 5 minutes
  3. Combine brown ale and honey, heat in microwave until warm, 45 to 60 seconds - you don't want it hot, just warm
  4. Pour beer/honey mixture, butter/milk mixture, salt and yeast/water into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook
  5. Set mixer on medium speed and add flour 1 cup at a time until dough is formed and it isn't super sticky - you can turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a bit to finish
  6. Grease a large bowl with butter, add the dough ball, flip it to get butter on both sides, clover with a clean linen kitchen towel and set it in a warm spot to rise for about 1 hour and doubled in size
  7. Punch down an turn onto a lightly floured counter
  8. Divide dough in half
  9. Knead one while continuously adding bacon, figs, and gorgonzola alternately - about 5-7 minutes until all the air bubbles pop
  10. Knead the plain loaf about 5-7 minutes, until you feel all the air bubbles pop
  11. Grease two round cake pans with butter, add one dough ball to each pan flip it to coat both sides, cover with the kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size - about 30 minutes
  12. Preheat oven to 375
  13. Drizzle plain loaf with honey if desired
  14. Garnish the stuffed loaf with gorgonzola, figs, and bacon pieces, if desired
  15. Bake 45 - 55 minutes, until golden brown and crusty
  16. Cool on a wire rack