Bacon and Cheese Easter Bread

Yesterday I shared with you a traditional Italian Easter Bread recipe from my Chief Culinary Consultant’s family; today I share with you my grandma’s famous bacon and cheese Easter bread. Growing up, this was by far my favorite Easter recipe in our family. (It should come as no surprise that I love the combination of bacon and cheese nearly as much as peanut butter and chocolate.) Between this and her pigues, I think I sustained myself with dough, cheese, and bacon for the entire week of Easter. A pretty delicious week, no doubt. My grandma always referred to this as “bacon and cheese Easter pizza” and I have seen it mentioned that way in a few other places as well, but I couldn’t find any background regarding the name. All I know is that swirls and swirls of bacon and cheese packed into a light, tender dough is pretty much my savory heaven. My mom always jokes that my grandma’s knack for baking skipped a generation to me, and the more that I work my way through her recipes, the more I realize how similar our tastes are. We are definitely kitchen soul sisters, my grandma and I.

This is a fairly simple bread to bake up, as it only requires one rise and the dough is very forgiving. Once the dough is mixed together (you can do it by hand or with a mixer), you roll it out very thin, into a large rectangle, then sprinkle it with copious amounts of Romano cheese and bacon. I chose to use peppered bacon because I always feel like sharp cheese flavors and bacon pair well with pepper, but you can certainly use regular bacon, my grandma always did.

Once you have the cheese and bacon in place, you roll it up jelly roll-style into a thick log. I never knew this, but my mom told me that my grandma always baked these loaves in pie plates, which helped them keep their round, spiral shape. Genius! You very gently coil the roll of dough into a pie plate and let it raise until about doubled in size. Then all that’s left is to bake and eat!

Below is my grandma’s handwritten recipe for this bread. I just love reading through her old written recipes, and they never fail to give me a chuckle each and every time. This one in particular I love for a few reasons…

First, there are no directions. They are not located on the back of the card – they don’t exist. I think most ladies back in the day just knew how to do things like make bread, so you didn’t need instructions for doing so, you just needed ingredients for different variations.

Second, this is a recipe for “Bacon + Cheese Pizza”. Do you see an ingredient listing for cheese? One of the two primary ingredients? Nope. I asked my mom earlier this week why it was missing and how much was needed. She said it was because my grandma never measured the cheese, she just sprinkled it on the dough until she felt like there was enough.

Lastly, and quite possibly my favorite, is the measurement of “1 whiskey glass oil”. I love it! I wanted to be as authentic as possible when making the recipe, so I actually pulled out an old whiskey glass that came from my grandma’s house, and measured the oil in there. I think she probably smiled at me for doing so :)

When my mom got to sample the bread, she said that the house smelled just like my grandma’s house used to smell the week of Easter, and that the bread tasted exactly like hers. That’s the best compliment I could ever receive. To be able to recreate something of my grandma’s, that I’ve loved since I was a little girl, is a great feeling. And I know she would love that I am sharing her recipe with all of you.

I hope you enjoy this little pillow of bacon and cheese heaven as much as I do!

One year ago: Italian Pasta Salad
Two years ago: Triple-Chocolate Cookies
Three years ago: Banana Cream Pie
Four years ago: Fresh Orange Cream Tart

Grandma's Bacon and Cheese Easter Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
4½ teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted
6 eggs, lightly beaten
5 cups grated Romano cheese
3 (12-ounce) packages peppered bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons butter, melted (for brushing the loaves)

Directions:

1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature of the milk should be between 110 and 115 degrees F. Once the milk reaches the correct temperature, remove from the heat, add the yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes.

3. Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour and begin to mix it into a dough (it will be shaggy at this point). Next, add the vegetable oil and melted shortening and continue to mix. Now, add the eggs and continue mixing until the dough forms a rough ball.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Divide the dough into two and cover one half with a dish towel while you work with the other.

5. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it out very thin, into a large rectangle about 12x24-inches. Sprinkle the dough with half of the cheese, and then with half of the bacon, leaving a half inch border around all of the edges.

6. Starting with a long end facing you, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder jelly roll-style, pinching the seams and ends to seal. Once you have finished rolling the dough, gently coil it into a spiral into a pie plate. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

7. Once both loaves have been shaped and placed into pie plates, brush them with melted butter and then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until almost doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity.

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the bread until golden brown on top, about 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool to warm room temperature before slicing them (ideally, let them cool completely, but sometimes I just can't wait!). Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap and can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. The bread can also be frozen - be sure sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and then in aluminum foil.

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58 Responses to “Bacon and Cheese Easter Bread”

  1. ala-kat on April 5, 2012 at 2:13 am

    I am so making this, if only a half recipe. You also tell really great stories, guess I’m going to have to pull out the whiskey glass. Thanks :)

    Reply

  2. ala-kat on April 5, 2012 at 2:16 am

    With no cheese listed in the ingredients, how did you come up with romano? What other cheeses do you think would work, say cheddar, swiss, etc?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 5th, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Oh, because Romano is the only type she ever used, I just wasn’t sure how much. I think you could probably experiment with other cheeses if you wanted. If they are soft shredded cheeses and not hard grated you probably don’t need to use as much.

      Reply

      • ala-kat on April 6th, 2012 at 12:03 am

        Thanks for the reply :) I’m going to make it as described. I can imagine this becoming a true ‘pizza’ bread, but I want to start with the original first and let it guide me further. This just looks too awesome and easy. Love your recipes :)

        Reply

        • ala-kat on April 6th, 2012 at 12:10 am

          Thanks for the reply :) I’m going to make it as described. I can imagine this becoming a true ‘pizza’ bread, but I want to start with the original first and let it guide me further. This just looks too awesome and easy. Love your recipes :)

          Quick question… making the night before, how long and at what temp to reheat? TYIA

          Reply

          • Michelle on April 6th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

            Oh hmm we’ve never reheated in the oven since we don’t eat it hot. It’s really best at room temperature, but if you do want to heat it I would cover it with foil and heat it at 300 or 325 until just warm.

            Reply

            • ala-kat on April 6th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

              Once again, thank you for the reply. Room temp it is, as it will be making an almost hour journey to its final stop. I really cannot wait to try this :)

  3. Mireia on April 5, 2012 at 3:13 am

    My goddness, this looks amazing!!!

    Reply

  4. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on April 5, 2012 at 3:52 am

    This sounds so delicious. I love that you measured the oil in a whiskey glass :)

    Reply

  5. Villy @ For the love of Feeding on April 5, 2012 at 4:03 am

    This looks so delicious that I don’t think it only has to be Easter to eat it :D

    Reply

  6. Beastie on April 5, 2012 at 6:05 am

    This bread is too delicious for me……. as well like the others, I am interested in, how would it operate with other type of cheese ? Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 6th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      I have never had it (or made it) with any other cheeses – the Romano is traditional for us. You could always try it though! As I mentioned above, if you use shredded cheese of some sort you probably don’t need to use as much.

      Reply

  7. Kiri W. on April 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Oh, this looks lovely :) I envy you for having old recipes handed down, I only know about one or two from my grandparents…

    Reply

  8. Barbara on April 5, 2012 at 7:23 am

    My oldest son always says he could live on meat, cheese and bread. He’ll be home for Easter, and wake up to your Bacon and cheese bread Easter morning. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  9. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on April 5, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Now I dont know what bread to make the Easter Bread or your Bacon and Cheese Bread!! Decisions, decisions, life is so tough isn’t it?

    Reply

  10. Dianna on April 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I share a love with you of my Granny’s cooking too. She made these great cinnamon rolls I would eat way too many off. Thanks for sharing your recipe and stories. I know your grandma would be proud.

    Reply

  11. Amy on April 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Just when I thought I had finished cooking for my family’s Italian Easter dinner ….. you post this awesome recipe. Looks like the apron is coming back out tonight!

    Reply

    • Amy on April 5th, 2012 at 8:31 am

      I need to mention that your Spumoni recipe from a couple years back is on the menu. It is wonderful!

      Reply

  12. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on April 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

    At first glance I thought this was just a loaf with bacon and cheese flavoring, but then I see the pictures of the loaf cut open and the bacon and cheese rolled inside?! Amazing!!!! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  13. angela on April 5, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I have a bacon loving friend who would move in with you right now. Happy Easter, Michelle.

    Reply

  14. b on April 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

    i am definitely going to try this for easter this year and will keep the whiskey glass measurement included as a tribute to your grandma! thanks

    Reply

  15. Erin @ Brownie Bites on April 5, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I love beautiful breads that appear to be more difficult to make than they are.

    I giggled heartily at the missing ingredient and directions. I’ve told my husband I was born in the wrong decade. Aside from the whole being oppressed thing, I would have LOVED to be able spend all day with the kitchen and with my children!

    Reply

  16. Paula on April 5, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Beautiful bread! Best wishes for a lovely Easter ;)

    Reply

  17. Elly @ Nutmegs, seven on April 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

    This is so pretty! I love the idea of all the bacon and cheese nestling inside the bread like a surprise.

    Reply

  18. Deb on April 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

    This kind of reminds me of pepperoni bread. Do you think you could use this dough for that? I like that there are no big air pockets in the dough. When I make pepperoni bread with frozen bread dough there are always big pockets of air which I don’t care for.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 6th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Deb, My family always uses frozen bread dough for pepperoni bread as well. There are always those big air pockets ;-) I have used a homemade yeast bread recipe and still got those air pockets. (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/11/09/soft-cheese-and-pepperoni-bread/) Not sure if it’s from the pepperoni, or the cheese? In any case, you could certainly try with this, but I haven’t had much luck with eliminating the big open spaces either.

      Reply

  19. Julianna B on April 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Simply perfect! Yammy! Yammy!

    Reply

  20. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on April 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Now this is an Easter bread I could not say no too! Great job recreating your Grandma’s recipe, huge accomplishment!

    Reply

  21. Georgia on April 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I love your stories about your grandma. Good thing you had that whiskey glass! My mama used to write all the recipes on those cards. I love this recipe.

    Reply

  22. ang on April 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for FINALLY sharing this recipe! I’ve been missing it for years and am so happy that I can make it this year and have my Easter feel complete.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 6th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Oh you are so welcome! Enjoy it! :)

      Reply

  23. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on April 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    This looks sooo good! It’s so nice to make old family recipes!

    Reply

  24. CherylK on April 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    What a wonderful treat this will be on Easter morning! Many thanks for sharing. I love that it was your grandmother’s recipe. I have some of my grandmother’s handwritten recipes, too, and they truly are special.

    Reply

  25. Kathryn Baldwin on April 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    One picture of an old recipe card and I fell in love with your grandma. I love this entry!

    Reply

  26. NerdyBaker on April 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    If I don’t make one or both of these breads for Easter, I will never forgive myself. You have knocked it out of the park with both of your last posts. So classic, so yummy.

    Reply

  27. Christeen on April 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    This bread looks yummy! It will be a wonderful addition to our Easter meal. One question, do you think it could be halved?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 6th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Christeen, I have never done so, but I don’t see why not.

      Reply

  28. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on April 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    three of my favorite things in one recipe!

    Reply

  29. Sarah on April 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    My grandmother and her father wrote recipes down exactly the way your grandmother did. In my family, we call it the Grocery List Effect. I have now found myself doing exactly the same thing.

    Reply

  30. Kelly on April 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I have recipes from my great grandmother that look exactly like that. Love that old cursive writing. Makes me miss my granny. The bread looks amazing too! :-)

    Reply

  31. Eileen on April 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    This bread sounds delicious. i’m going to have to make it. I am a homemade bread fanantic :)

    Reply

  32. Cindy @ Once Upon a Loaf on April 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    This looks GREAT! I won’t be able to make it for Easter but you can bet next week I will. Thanks for this post!

    Reply

  33. Jennie @ The Messy Baker Blog on April 6, 2012 at 7:22 am

    This bread is beautiful. It sounds delicious. Don’t you just love baking up family recipes. It makes you feel good inside. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  34. Marty on April 6, 2012 at 7:35 am

    This looks amazing, have to make it for Easter! My mother passed away a few years ago and I’ve been going through her old recipe box and it’s amazing that the recipes are similar to your grandmother’s recipes when writing them down. I remember a lot of the recipes so I am able to figure them out, probably should write down the amended version for my daughter. I was wondering, if I make this bread the night before, would it be just as good and could I reheat it. Thanks Michelle and have a great Easter Holiday!

    Reply

  35. Laura on April 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I love this post, and yesterday’s. I love hearing the stories about family recipes, and the pictures of the recipe cards are beautiful! I have many of my great-grandma’s recipe cards and hers are the same. Mostly lists of ingredients, sometimes an oven temperature. I’m going to try the orange-anise bread!

    Reply

  36. Sheli on April 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

    This looks like a great bread and I can’t wait to try making it. But what really sold me on it was your grandmother’s whiskey glass of oil. Many of my grandmother’s recipes call for a juiceglass of oil or juice, or some fraction there of. My grandma has been gone for 15 years now, but my folks still have 2 of those juice glasses left, and I treasure them both. I don’t think she even owned a measuring cup! And whenever I would ask for any amount of something for a recipe, she always replied “Add enough, stir enough, cook or bake enough until it looks, feels or tastes done”. I think Grandma would be happy to know this is how I cook to this very day!

    Reply

  37. brandi on April 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

    1 whiskey glass of oil – those are my kind of recipes :) and exactly the same type of measuring i find in my grandmother’s recipes, too!

    Reply

  38. Dishka on April 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing the recipe, and the story of your grandmother. She sounds like a very special lady. I love the whiskey glass measurement of oil, but even more I love the reference to Crisco. That must be a Pittsburgh thing. I have recipes from my mom from some of her older acquaintances that would have been your grandmother’s age, if not older, whose handwritten recipes are so precious to me now. References to Crisco, oleo, and lekvar immediately transport me back to my childhood and simpler, carefree times. Enjoy your holiday. I will be making this for my family soon. They have never met anything with bacon they didn’t like. I will be sure to find a “whiskey glass” to measure the oil too. I hope that would make your grandma smile.

    Reply

  39. claire @ the realistic nutritionist on April 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    This is GENIUS!!!

    Reply

  40. Laura on April 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Is it possible to make the dough and then refrigerate it overnight until you’re ready to bake it? I’ve done this with other bread recipes but wasn’t sure if it was possible with this particular recipe. I LOVE your blog by the way!!! I made the peanut butter eggs this weekend and the Easter sugar cookies with royal icing…YUM!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 9th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Laura, I don’t think that it would work as well with this recipe since it only goes through one rise. You could try assembling the bread, but instead of letting it rise at room temperature and then baking, you could place it in the refrigerator for a longer, slower raise and then bake in the morning. I’ve never done it, but I think that should work. Just be sure you have it covered in plastic wrap so that cold air doesn’t get in and dry out the dough.

      Reply

  41. Katie on April 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    made this for Easter Brunch and it was a hit! i subbed in whole wheat flour for 1/4 of the flour, which i probably won’t do again.. it made the bread a little crumbly.

    for those asking about the cheese: at first, i completely messed up and started shredding cheddar & jack cheese all over the dough.. i realized my error, took most of that cheese off, and added grated parmesan instead. the little bits of shredded cheese that were left did no harm at all. in fact, they were like little cheesy surprises in the bread!

    Reply

  42. Linda on June 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Bacon in an Easter bread, when pork is forbidden…

    Reply

    • Beth on April 20th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Not for everyone, Linda

      Reply

  43. Irina on December 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    This looks amazing. I’m looking at our calendar/plans and I think to make it for next Easter. Thanks!

    Reply

  44. Susan on October 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I just came across this today while looking for your pumpkin muffin recipe. Did we have the same Grandma? My grandmother’s recipes were written just like this. Even looks like the same handwriting! And the raisin cookies and chipped ham BBQ are foods she always used to make too. I have been looking for the raisin cookie recipe for years. She called them Hermits but I never could find it in her recipes after she died. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try them.

    Reply

  45. Janice on April 19, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful story of your love for your Grandmother!
    Happy Easter…she would be so proud of her bread…

    Reply

  46. Enid Luchtti on April 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I love what you said about the women back in the day having no directions, my Grandmother was born in Palermo Italy and her receipes for the Italian Butter cookies were like a bunch and a pinch of whatever…I am 62 and you are so unusual for a girl of your age to even cook…the young generation your age, has no clue what is like to prepare a homemade meal nor do they care. My husband could not believe you are like you are for your age, and he is from Pennsylvania Italian Family where the grandmothers would sit in a room and make homemade Ravioli, but his sister no way Cooking a waster of time first thing you do when you get married you call take out and use TV dinners… My husband is shocked at your cooking for your age. Maybe its how your were raised.

    Reply

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