Frozen dough and precooked bacon make this bread as easy as it is delicious!
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Sometimes I try recipes and they flop. Other times, they become a staple. This is one such recipe. I first came across it way back in 2001 in a magazine called “Quick Cooking” that was put out by “Taste of Home.” The magazine may no longer exist, but this recipe remains in my family.
This recipe is the one I make for my husband when I owe him something — like when he overhauls my technology or sets up a website for me. He is a technical genius. I am not so much. I can’t come close to affording his actual hourly rate, but fortunately for me, he accepts this bacon ranch cheese bread as payment.
Most of the time, I make it just for him, but it also works nicely for a carry-in dinner. The best part is that it starts with frozen bread dough and pre-cooked bacon, so it is pretty darn easy.
Of course you can use your own bread dough recipe and cook bacon fresh if you want. Back when I was first making this recipe, I had no clue how to even make my own bread dough. Nowadays I do, but I still go with the frozen for this recipe.
It’s up to you whether to cook your bacon first or thaw your bread dough. I usually cook the bacon first in the microwave. I get it good and crispy then set it aside while I do the dough. The benefit to making the bacon first is that it has time to cool before you have to crumble it up later in the recipe. I’ve done it both ways and have nearly burnt my fingertips breaking up hot bacon!
After your bacon is all nice and crispy, it’s time to thaw the bread dough. When I first started making this bread, I assumed you thawed bread dough much like you thaw anything else. So I put it in the microwave on the setting to thaw for meat. I set it for 1 pound. It’s not the correct way to thaw bread dough, but it works for this recipe. Seriously. You don’t have to plan way ahead or anything. Thaw it in the microwave like you would anything else. You could also leave it out at room temperature for a few hours.
While your dough is thawing, go ahead and turn your oven on to 200-degrees to preheat for dough rising.
Once your dough is thawed, put it on a cutting board and roll it out to about 1/2-inch thick, so it looks something like this:
Next you brush it with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then it’s time to cut it into about 1-inch squares. You can use a dough cutter for this, but I am a fan of just using a really sharp knife. I love ceramic knives because they really do stay sharp! And your pieces don’t have to be exactly 1-inch in size, but they should be close in size so they all bake at the same rate.
Next you put your bread dough pieces into a bowl. I use my glass batter bowl with a lid, because you have to cover it and shake it. You could cover a bowl with plastic wrap if you want also.
Add the other 1 tablespoon of oil, cheese, bacon and ranch dressing mix to the dough in the bowl. I’ve tried adding the items in various orders and it really doesn’t seem to matter what order I add the ingredients. It will look something like this:
Cover the bowl with its lid or plastic wrap and shake it all around so the pieces get coated. If your kids are helping you, they love shaking the bowl — or at least mine do! When you’re finished, it should look like this:
Next, prepare a cookie sheet. You can spray it with non-stick cooking spray or do what I do and use Reynolds Non-Stick Aluminum Foil. I love the stuff. I use it for recipes like this so I have have easy clean-up and even use it by itself to serve as a baking sheet for smaller frozen pizzas. Parchment paper would also work.
Put the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. I usually just dump it in the center and then spread it out a bit into a large oval shape.
Cover the bread (I usually use foil to do this.) Put the bread into your oven preheated to 200 and turn off the oven. Let the bread rise for about 30 minutes until its doubled. Turn the oven to 350-degrees and once it is at temperature, remove the foil from the top of the bread (but hang onto it for later!).
Bake it 15 minutes then cover the bread with foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. It will look like this:
So good! You can serve it warm or at room temperature. My husband likes to dip it in honey, but you can also dip it in ranch dressing or just eat it as is.
- 12 bacon strips diced
- 1 loaf 1 pound frozen bread dough, thawed
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil divided
- 1 cup 4 oz. shredded pizza or Italian blend cheese
- 1 envelope 1 oz. ranch salad dressing mix
- Partially cook bacon; drain on paper towels. (I use the pre-cooked bacon and cook it in the microwave until crispy.)
- Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness; brush with 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Cut into 1-inch pieces; place in a large bowl.
- Add the bacon, cheese and dressing mix and remaining oil; toss to coat.
- Arrange pieces in a 9×5-inch oval on a baking sheet lined with Reynold’s Non-Stick Aluminum Foil, layering as needed. (You can also grease your baking sheet or use parchment paper; I like the non-stick foil best for this.)
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled. (I turn my oven to 200-degrees while I’m preparing the bread. Then I turn it off and let the bread sit in the slightly warmed over to double.)
- Bake at 350-degrees for 15 min. Cover with foil; bake 5-10 min. longer or until golden brown.