Prosciutto Bread (aka Lard Bread)

There’s a bread that can be found at most Italian deli’s in New York City – it  used to be called Lard Bread but it’s been referred to more recently as Prosciutto Bread.  It’s an unbelievably delicious bread and I’ve always wanted to make a homemade version of it.  Some of my research stated that the bread is usually prepared for Easter but I don’t recall that being the case.  What I do recall is thinking that there should be more prosciutto and less black pepper.  By baking the bread myself, I can change it to my taste.

When I’m having antipasto, I normally like to buy Parma Prosciutto (which tastes out of this world) but when you’re cooking with it, there’s no need to use the most expensive one.

For Mother’s Day, I tried two different Prosciutto Bread recipes and my family absolutely loved this one.  I had to hide some of the remaining loaf, so I would have some for the pictures in this post.

Enjoy.

After kneading the dough needs to rest.

Ready for the oven.

Hot out of the oven.

Take a bite after tearing the bread into a nice big hunk.

Prosciutto Bread

Yield:  1 loaf                Cook Time:  30 – 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plus 3 tbsp bread flour
  • 1 tbsp. malt powder (or 1 tbsp sugar)
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper (I used regular grind pepper and a scant 1/2 tsp)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water (70F -90F)
  • 8 oz. Prosciutto, 1/8″ thick, cut into 1/4-inch dice (no need to use Parma Prosciutto for this bread and you can substitute salami, sweet capicolo or pancetta or, if you don’t like the meats, you can try cheese but you should probably use half the amount)
  • 4 tsp. bacon fat, lard, or butter, melted

Directions:

Step 1:  Mix flour, malt powder and yeast in a stand mixer.  Combine salt with flour mixture in the mixer bowl – this is done separately from the first mixing so the salt doesn’t retard the action of the yeast.

Step 2:  Add water to mixing bowl and mix into flour with dough hook on low to moisten.  Knead for seven minutes on medium speed.  Mix in prosciutto on low speed.  Dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky.  If dough is too sticky knead in more flour a little at a time.  If the dough is too dry, spray with a bit of water and knead.

Step 3:  Shape dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle dough with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

Step 4:  Roll dough into an 18” cylinder and form into a ring.  Ensure the ends stick together and place on parchment paper on a large cookie sheet.  Spray dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled for about 1 hour.  I usually heat my oven to the lowest setting and then shut it off before placing dough into it to allow it to rise.  Also, I like to let the last rise happen overnight but I didn’t have time for that this time.

Step 5:  Use a pizza stone or baking sheet on a low shelf of the oven and place a baking sheet on the lowest shelf of the oven (or on the bottom of the oven if your heating element isn’t on the bottom of the oven).  Preheat oven to 450 degrees for at least 10 minutes.

Step 6:  Transfer bread to pizza stone or baking sheet in the preheated oven and brush with about 1/3 of melted butter.  Add about half to a dozen ice cubes into the baking sheet on lowest shelf of the oven.

Step 7:  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove parchment paper and turn bread front to back to allow for even baking.  Brush bread with about another 1/3 of melted butter.  Add another dozen ice cubes.  Bake another 5 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake another 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 8:  Turn off oven and leave bread in the oven with door propped open for another 5 minutes.

Step 9:  Remove bread from oven and brush with the remaining butter.  Allow to cool but if you aren’t having company or bringing this bread to a function, this bread tastes delicious slightly warm and crispy.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Seriously Good (originally from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible).

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