I made Cheddar Bacon Bread on a whim one afternoon. The weather was brisk and I felt like baking and I knew Cheddar Bacon Bread would fill the house with satisfying aromas. I didn’t really have a plan for this bread, but I figured I could save it for a Sunday morning and serve it lightly toasted with a poached egg on top. Well, once the bread hit the heat the savory aromas I’d promised myself soon became a reality. Lo and behold, I was no longer alone in the kitchen. The aroma of bacon and bread drew my partner Ken up to the oven nose first!
Freshly mown grass, new car interiors, and the scent of cold hard cash – few things have the aural power of browned bacon and freshly baked bread. Except maybe melted cheese.
Well this Cheddar Bacon Bread has it all. Meaty. Cheesy. Decadent. I just had to smile when I saw Ken furtively checking the oven timer inquiring of my intentions for the Cheddar Bacon Bread. If there’s one true thing I can say about most kitchens it’s this: everybody loves the smell of bacon cooking. Really everybody. Even vegetarians!
I mean no disrespect to vegetarians. I’m not implying that vegetarians would or should eat bacon. But they like the smell of it and there’s real true science to explain why.
If you consider yourself a bit of a foodie, you may have already heard of the Maillard reaction.
At the beginning of the 20th century chemist Louis-Camille Maillard discovered that a chemical reaction takes places between amino acids and sugars during the cooking process. This process causes food to brown and savory aromas to fill the air. The science of it says that as food is heated up, the molecular structure of sugars in that food begin to break down and in the process release of a series of complex compounds. The majority of these aromatic compounds are hydrocarbons and aldehydes, both of which give off aromas that are biologically appealing to animals – including humans.
Sauteed Shrimp on Cheddar Bacon Bread
Well, Ken and I are humans. As we sat grooving on the aromas of the freshly baked Cheddar Bacon Bread Ken did something he never does. He made a menu suggestion. Forget brunch he said, why don’t we serve this Cheddar Bacon Bread as a base for a holiday appetizer. We wouldn’t have to wait until Sunday to eat it that way. His idea was to top each slice with an extra-large, spicy, buttery sauteed shrimp. A bit like handheld Shrimp and Grits. Making this a perfectly portable holiday appetizer with all the tastes, textures, and (yes) aromas that we both love.
So I did it. I combined two recipes to create one flavorful holiday bite. I know the addition of shrimp doesn’t make this Cheddar Bacon Bread any more palatable to vegetarians, but heck at least I know they’ll love the hydrocarbons and aldehydes wafting from my kitchen! GREG