Loaded Blooming Bread Appetizer
I feel like the word ‘loaded’ should be applicable to any and all things food. To me, ‘loaded’ is a warm baked potato with herb butter, sour cream, chives, bacon, cheese…. Mmmm… also known as ‘the works’. This phrase has given me many a dimple in the thighs and a smile on my face. Let’s be real though, why aren’t there more ‘loaded’ items in the word? I think bacon and cheese almost always improve food, but then again, I was raised by Okies, so I guess that explains it!
Either way, you need this Loaded Blooming Bread in your life. This is one of my go-to, most requested, least energy appetizers, and a little actually goes a long way (bread is pretty filling, duh!). So in a pinch, if the tri tip is taking longer than expected, this is something that can save all my friends or family from extreme hanger. Easy peasy, load it, bake it, love it, share it (if you must).
Time: 10 minutes prep, 15-20 minutes baking.TOTAL TIME: .5 hours.
Yield: One super yummy, totally naughty, large sourdough bread bowl or loaf (I prefer the circular bowls, even if you have to do 2 smaller ones, they just slice better). Can easily feed 6-8 people.
1 large sourdough bread loaf or bowl, or 2 smaller ones
½ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons dry Ranch Dressing Mix (I always go for OG Hidden Valley Ranch)
16 ounces Monterrey Jack or Mexican blend cheese, shredded
½ cup green onion, finely sliced
9 ounces (or more if you’re like me) of real bacon bits, or chopped, freshly cooked bacon bits. Freshly cooked bacon, of course, has a bit more flavor. (If you are going to use the premade bits, I prefer Hormel or Oscar Meyer)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut 1 inch slices in the bread, without cutting the bottom crust completely through. If you find yourself slicing completely, just stop about a quarter inch from the bottom of the loaf or bowl.
Turn loaf 180 degrees and slice again, creating 1 inch by 1 inch squares in your loaf.
Melt your ½ cup of butter by putting in the microwave for 20-40 seconds (watch it, or it will bubble over and make a big mess).
Once butter is melted, add 2 tablespoons of dry ranch mix to the butter and stir until combined.
Taking care to separate the “bloomed” squares of bread, pour the butter mixture over top, coating the loaf completely, inside and out.
Take your shredded cheese and begin stuffing it equally between your squares, reserving 4 ounces (a quarter of the bag) to go on top.
Stuff your loaf with the green onion and bacon as well. Add more or less depending on what you like or dislike here.
Note that you can also stuff with other items like a garlic salt/butter mixture with mozzarella cheese, banana peppers, fresh chopped basil, and salami/pepperoni for an Italian style bread, etc. Your imagination is your only boundary!
Top with remaining cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese begins bubbling and browning.
If you notice that the cheese is browning too soon, and loaf is not yet warm, you can tent with foil and allow it to heat up without burning your cheesy goodness.
Remove and let cool for a moment or so or the cheese and butter will be as hot as magma from the center of the earth. Enjoy!