Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes well and prick several times with fork; bake approximately 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out potato pulp; set aside. Discard skins. Learn how to bake a Perfect Baked Potato.
Cook bacon until crisp; remove from heat. Drain of fat, reserving drippings and set aside. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
Oven-Bake Bacon: This is the way to get perfect crisp bacon without having to constantly turn it, watch over it, or get burnt by splatters of grease. Cooking bacon can be a real challenge as frying bacon is a mess and microwaving has inconsistent results. Baked bacon does not curl – you get nice straight bacon pieces every time. This oven technique will solve all your bacon problems and is also especially great when serving a large crowd
In a large soup pot over low heat, add reserved bacon dripping (fat) and butter. Add onion and saute approximately 4 to 5 minutes until soft. Whisk in flour until well combined; cook for several minutes, but do not let brown. Gradually add milk and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, crumbled bacon, and 1 cup cheese. Stir and cook until cheese is melted. Stir in sour cream. Add extra milk, if necessary, for desired thickness.
At this point, soup may be refrigerated until ready to serve. When ready to serve, warm over low heat, stirring until hot. Remove from heat and serve in soup bowls.
To serve, serve in individual soup bowls garnished with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Additional crumbled bacon, sliced green onions, and/or chives may be served to sprinkle onto the top of the soup.
Makes approximately 6 to 8 servings (10 cups).