Pane contadino - Rustic farmers’ bread

Pane contadino - Rustic farmers’ bread

This is a country bread traditionally made by rural housewives for their husbands working in the fields. It was made using up leftovers of ham, salami, cheese and pork lard.

Serves 6
500g/1lb 2oz/4 cups strong (bread) flour
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
3g salt
3g black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to brush
300ml/10fl oz/1¼ cups lukewarm water
70g/2½oz pancetta, cut into small cubes
70g/2½oz coppa (or prosciutto), cut into small cubes
40g/1½oz salami, cut into small cubes
70g/2½oz Gruyère cheese, cut into small cubes
30g/1oz pecorino (romano) cheese, grated
30g/1oz Parmesan, grated

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper and olive oil. Gradually add the water and mix well to form a dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, then leave to rest for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the cured meats and cheeses.

Open up the dough slightly, incorporate the cured meats and cheeses and knead for about 5 minutes, making sure all the ingredients are well combined. Form into a long sausage shape about 65cm/26 inches long and seal the ends together to form a ring. Place on a baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Brush the top of the bread with olive oil, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and bake the bread for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.




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