Day 4: Kale, Apple and Caramelized Onion Bread

9 Jan

I am now out of sugar and butter, limiting my recipe options a tad. So I went with a simple bread, studded with kale, caramelized onions and apples, all of which would have likely been available this time of year. This was actually inspired by a trip to Vermont for a friend’s wedding. We stopped by a farmers’ market in Dorset, and happened across a stand from a baker who grew his own wheat, and cut it down with a scythe, milled flour, and then baked it into bread. He served delicious kale and cheese bread in individual rolls. That got me thinking about hearty breads that are less sides and more meals in themselves. Kale and apple are such a wonderful pairing – they make for a great salad together – and when paired with caramelized onions they create a sweet-savory balance inside the bread. If you aren’t on rations (hopefully that’s everyone?) you might want to consider finishing the bread with some egg wash and popping it in the oven for a few minutes to create a nice sheen.

Speaking of which the egg in my fridge has taken on mythic proportions. I’m not normally an egg person, but I have been craving egg in all forms for the past few days – scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, you name it. I am experiencing a major dilemma here – when I finally cook my egg this week, do I make French toast with it, or do I soft boil it and dunk toast strips into the molten, golden yolk?

Kale, Apple and Caramelized Onion Bread

4 small loaves

INGREDIENTS
1/3 strip bacon, small diced
2 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 small onion, sliced thin on a mandolin
1 apple, cored and sliced thin on a mandolin
Salt
2 cups kale, without the ribs, torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
4 ½ to 6 cups flour
Water, as needed

METHOD
Render the bacon in a medium sauté pan and add the drippings reserved from bacon throughout the week. Caramelize the onions and apple in the bacon drippings and season with salt. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Steam the kale briefly, then remove from the heat and squeeze out any excess moisture. Cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl combine the yeast and warm water and allow to dissolve. In the bowl of a large standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the dissolved yeast mixture, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Mix well. Add the kale and onion mixture and start adding flour in ½ cup increments until it has all been added. Add water as needed to create a smooth dough. Turn it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Remove the cloth and punch down the dough once risen. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and heat 4 lightly oiled small cast iron pans. Add the dough to the pans and bake 20 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

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