We don't do things by halves at the Shack as you well know.  I've thrown all of my favourite things into a mixing pot, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best and I've got to say this has been an absolute winner.

The bitter coffee and rye combined with the sweetness of the dates and the smoky saltiness of the bacon makes this a bloody delight for breakfast or lunch served with a thick layer of butter.


Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting time 3 hours
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 400 g Strong bread flour
  • 100 g Rye flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Quick action yeast
  • 30 g Caster sugar
  • 320 ml Tepid whole milk
  • 30 g Butter - softened
  • 30 ml Very strong espresso coffee - cold
  • 150 g Dates - chopped
  • 1 handful smoked chopped streaky bacon


  1. Put the flours, sugar and ginger into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine
  2. Add the salt, yeast and butter, then pour in the cold espresso coffee and 3/4 of the milk
  3. Add to a stand mixer with a hook, adding more of the milk as required - the dough should be soft and not flaky, but it should also not be too wet or sticky.  Let the mixer do it's thang for about 10 minutes.
  4. Put the dough into a clean bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size (approx 1-2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is).
  5. Grab the dough and scatter the chopped dates and bacon over it, fold it up and knead for a few minutes to distribute the fruit and pig throughout the dough.
  6. Shape the dough into a round or an oval. Lay it onto a floured baking sheet and put it inside a large plastic bag to prove for another hour or so until nearly doubled in size
  7. Heat the oven to 220C and put a roasting tin filled with water into the bottom shelf.  Slash the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife (or a razor blade) and sprinkle with a little flour.  Put the loaf into the oven and at the same time fill the baking tin with water
  8. Cook for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C and bake for another 5-7 minutes.  Leave the loaf in the oven, but turn off the heat and let the bread cool down in the oven with the door ajar.
  9. Eat as soon as possible and within 3 days with a thick lashing of butter.