It was a fad about a decade ago. When I first made blooming bread, I used a crusty loaf baked free form and we had a lot of fun eating it. It was gone so fast I had to make it again and again until my family starting hankering for something else. Right. You can have too much of a good thing.
But it’s been a decade. I asked my younger daughter, Alex, to make milk bread so I could redo the photos of another recipe. But Alex made more than enough and I figured I might as well use one loaf to make blooming bread and publish a new recipe for it.
As the title of the post says, the bread in this recipe was filled with bacon. If you’re not a fan of bacon (who isn’t?), you may substitute ham or sausage meat. Or even canned luncheon meat, in fact. If using ham, you don’t need to pan fry it. But sausage meat or canned luncheon meat you definitely need to precook until nicely browned.
How do you cut the bread? Use a serrated knife to cut the loaf. Cut into slices first then turn the bread and cut those slices into squares. Don’t cut all the way through. You want the bottom uncut; otherwise, the bread will not “bloom” during baking. I’d say cut the bread almost all the way through.
The next step is stuffing the bread. The cheese goes in first. Slices or shredded? Cheese slices are easier to insert. But I wouldn’t recommend those pre-sliced cheese slices meant to go on top of a burger. That’s too soft to handle. I prefer a block of cheese than can be cut into rather thick slices.
To prevent the bread from drying out during baking, there’s melted butter poured carefully between the bread squares. Salted or unsalted butter? That depends on the cheese you’re using. If the cheese is salty, then pair it with unsalted butter. If using a bland cheese like mozzarella, use salted butter.
After the bread has been buttered, the crevices are filled with crispy browned bacon. The bread is covered with foil loosely and baked. What’s the foil for? And why does the bread have to covered loosely?
The objective here is to melt the cheese and, at the same time, lightly toast the bread. The foil prevents the top (and the bacon) from turning too brown. This is especially true if you want to use an air fryer rather than a regular oven. The foil covers the bread loosely so that there is no steam buildup which will make the bread soggy.
To serve my blooming bread, I sprinkled the top with grated Parmesan and sliced scallions. Then, I placed it on a plate and surrounded it with sliced lettuce.
Blooming bread with bacon and cheese
- Preheat the oven to 320F.
- Cut the bacon into thin strips and fry in an oil-free pan until browned and crisp. Drain on a stack of paper towels.
- Without going all the way through, cut the bread into thick slices then turn the bread at a 45-degree angle the bread and cut again to form squares.
- Stuff each cut with a slice of cheese.
- Drizzle melted butter into the crevices evenly.
- Fill the crevices with bacon.
- Place the stuffed bread in an oven-safe dish and cover loosely with foil.
- Bake at 320F for 10 minutes then remove the foil, turn up the heat to 350F and bake for another five minutes.
- Sprinkle crumbled Parmesan and scallion over the bread and serve immediately.