I usually like to keep titles short and sweet but I feel it’d be a huge injustice to this sandwich. I could have made it even longer, I didn’t mention that the bacon is coated with brown sugar and the portabello was sauteed in a balsamic glaze.
It’s strange how plans can change. I spied a sweet dough recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine from a year ago- I really have to purge some of our bathroom reading material- and got all weird and excited to make it. It’s featured as an ideal dough that can be used for a bunch of different recipes, pretzels being one and it’s been a while since I’ve played with some yeast.
And then I opened the fridge and saw a hunk of habanero chili jack cheese. It’s way too spicy for anyone else but me so fitting it into a weeknight dinner isn’t exactly a snap. But wait, when you read as many food blogs as I do you start to see trends and right now grilled cheese sandwiches are a hot ticket. April is actually National Grilled Cheese Month. The gooey, ridiculously simple sandwich gets thirty days of worship- that’s special and well deserved. So basically all visions of plump, chewy pretzels went poof and the pretzel loaf was born, sliced, filled with awesome spicy cheese, introduced to mushrooms and bacon and gently embraced between two panini plates.
The bread is sweeter than I had imagined. After that first bite the sweet gives way to savory and salty and then the habanero kicks in like a cheap illegal firecracker- you know the ones- after they go boom you’re checking to see if you still have any eyebrows.
You could just use sourdough and skip the brown sugar on the bacon and even forget the balsamic for the mushroom but I don’t think your world will rock as much as mine did when I ate this sandwich.
You have 22 days left to make a grilled cheese sandwich…go!
Bacon Portabello and Habanero Grilled Cheese
For The Bread
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg white
- sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature 4oz
For The Sandwich
- 1 large portabello mushroom sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- 4 slices bacon cooked
- 4 slices habanero jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a two-cup measuring jug, heat the milk in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and let sit until it gets foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs and whisk until well combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the other 4 tablespoons of sugar, flour and salt. Add the yeast/milk mixture and mix on low speed until it starts to come together.
- Start adding cubes of butter to the dough making sure each one is blended before adding another.
- Once all of the butter has been added, mix the dough for 4-5 minutes until it becomes smooth and shiny.
- Brush a large bowl lightly with some butter or olive oil. Knead the dough by hand into a ball shape and place it into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for about an hour and a half or doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and knead the dough again forming a loaf shape. Place it in a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan, cover and let rest for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Gently glaze the loaf with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with crunchy sea salt.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool before slicing.
For The Sandwich
- Heat the butter in a saute pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Add the balsamic and season with some salt and black pepper. Heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a dish to cool.
- Preheat a panini grill. Lay the bacon on the bottom slice of the bread. Add the sliced cheese and then top with some of the mushrooms.
- Place the top slice on and drizzle with some olive oil. Place the sandwich onto the grill and close. Let it cook until you see the cheese start to ooze from the sides of the sandwich, about 8-10 minutes.
- Cut in half and serve at once.
I cooked my bacon in the oven and sprinkled it with about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar before baking it.
If you use your own bread, the cook time should be adjusted to about 8-10 minutes.