The holidays are, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year. I'm ready for Christmas but also partly sad that it will be over soon. Well, until the new year comes, I'll be enjoying the endless comfort dishes and baked goods including this bacon cheddar star bread. Although I created this beautiful savory loaf stuffed with bacon onion chutney and cheddar for the holidays, it can be enjoyed year-round. And believe me, I will be making it all year - it's just that good!
Bacon Cheddar Star Bread
- 12 ounces bacon chopped
- 2 medium onions chopped
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ¼ cup warm milk (100-105 degrees F) (312 ml)
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup butter, melted (57 grams)
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (600 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shredded white cheddar (120 grams)
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Cook bacon in a heavy pot over medium heat until the fat has rendered out and the bacon begins to crisp about 15 minutes. Drain the fat.
- Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until the onions have softened, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to simmer the chutney for about 30-40 minutes or until it resembles a dark chutney. Add more water if the pan becomes too dry. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Make the bread dough. Combine the warm milk with yeast and sugar, gently stirring to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast is activated and foamy.
- Combine the yeast mixture with the egg, butter, flour, and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let proof for 1 hour in a warm spot or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 10-inch circle. Lay the first circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread about ⅓ cup of the bacon jam on the dough, leaving a ½ inch border. Place one of the dough portions on top and sprinkle the cheese. Stack another round dough portion on top and spread more jam. Finish with the remaining dough.
- Place a 2-inch round biscuit cutter in the center on the dough. This will help guide where to cut the dough. Cut the dough into quarters, leaving the center intact. Cut each quarter into 4 wedges. Grab two pieces that are next to each other and twist them in opposite directions. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Lightly cover the dough and let it proof for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Beat together the egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush egg wash on the bread. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Let cool completely and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Ready for some bacon action? To make the chutney, check out my original recipe. You're basically cooking the bacon first then adding the remaining ingredients and simmering it all together. The onions will become caramelized and jammy and the vinegar and mustard seeds will flavor the chutney. It's truly a wonderful condiment.
You can make the chutney up to a week in advance. In fact, go ahead and make a large batch, saving some for the bread and use the remaining for whatever you like! It's fantastic with grilled cheese.
Once the jam is ready, start making the dough. It's a fairly simple dough with the addition of eggs, milk, and butter, all ingredients that will make the bread tender. Knead the dough until it's smooth and let it rise in a warm area until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and divide it into four sections. Working with one section at a time, roll each out into a 10-inch circle. I used a plate as a stencil to get the perfect circles.
Spread the jam on the first portion. Then, top it with another layer and sprinkle cheese on top. Repeat the layers with more jam and finish by stacking the last portion on top. Now, get a 2-inch biscuit cutter or glass and place it in the center. We're going to use this as a guide on where to cut the dough.
Cut the dough into quarters, leaving that center circle intact. Then, cut each quarter into 4 equal triangles. You should have a total of 16 triangles by the time you're done cutting.
Grab one triangle in your right hand and the triangle next to it with your left hand. Simultaneously twist those two pieces away from each other. Don't worry if it's not perfect, the bread will still be beautiful no matter what. Continue to do this with the remaining pieces.
Let the wreath rise for another 45 minutes, then brush on the egg wash and bake the bacon cheddar star bread in the oven at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let it rest before slicing right away but do serve the bread warm.
This bacon cheddar star bread is currently my favorite savory bread. I mean you just can't go wrong with layers of bread smeared with bacon onion chutney, am I right? Plus it's just so pretty to look at!
For more savory bread inspiration check out these rosemary gruyere dinner rolls!