Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. 1 envelope active dry yeast

  2. 1 tablespoon sugar

  3. 2 cups lukewarm water

  4. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  5. 1/2 pound pancetta, diced

  6. 2 teaspoons salt

  7. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and 1 cup of the water and let proof about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the flour, beat vigorously with a wooden spoon till well blended, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 2 hours. Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a skillet over moderate heat till lightly browned, drain on paper towels, and reserve the fat. Add the remaining 1 cup of water, the salt, pepper, pancetta with its fat, and the remaining 2½ cups of flour to the yeast sponge and beat vigorously till the dough is very soft, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area till doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a large baking sheet with olive oil and set aside. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead about 2 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball, flatten slightly, place on the prepared baking sheet, and, using your floured fingers, pull the dough outward from the center to form a wide hole in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 30 minutes. Gently re-form the wide hole, bake the bread till golden and crusty, 35 to 40 minutes, and transfer to a rack to cool.


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