The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Prosciutto Bread

  • Pin It
Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

Prosciutto Bread

This is my first post on the forum after reading some weeks and while I'm an experienced cook, I've only recently started baking and I was hoping for some good advice.


A few weeks ago I walked into an italian bakery nearby and picked up probabbly the best prosciutto loaf I've ever enjoyed. It had soft and chewy crumb with a buttery but flakey crust, with chunks proscuitto, sharp provolone and coarse ground black pepper, it was just amazing. Since then I've been on a mission to duplicate this bread at home and I've made a few great attempts but I'm not there quite yet, There is a photo of the latest rendition below; (sry for the cell phone quality photo)


In anycase, originally my crumb was coming out too hearty. It wasn't the soft, fullfy, and chewy texture I was looking for, but after getting the rise right, it's coming together.


So I havet two questions;


1) I can't seem to get the flaky crust right, the bread I'm emulating had a crust that practically peeled off with some bites and I am not sure of how to produce such a crust, does anyone have any idea's.


2) To get the rise I'm looking for; I've found it's best not to disturb the bread at all after it's risen and was wondering if anyone has even risen on a perforated metal sheet, then placed the entire sheet onto a stone for even heat distrobution, and if that really would make a difference, I'm trying to avoid using a pizza peel for this bread as it's very heavy but also delicate.


 


Any advice would be appreciated.



 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The bread sounds lovely - I did a quick WWW search on prosciutto bread and came up with quite a few hits, including lots of interesting recipes.  It is also mentioned here at TFL a few times (using the search bar).


Perhaps if you list your ingredients, some suggestions can be made.


In answer to your question about not disturbing the bread: if you proof it on parchment which sits on your peel, the only movement will be when you slide the parchment and bread into the oven, to your stone.


 

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

[deleted by original poster's request -Floyd]

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Chef Sier,


I'm not one to give advice on how to achieve a soft crust since I bake primarily crusty sourdough breads, but I have read that if you brush the crust with butter before moving it to the oven, that will soften it.


I've also read that some brush again with butter when the bread is removed fom the oven.


Whether that will achieve the flaky crust, you seek, I've no idea.   But the crust will be soft.


Let us know what finally works - the bread sounds delicious and I just might have to take a break from sourdough!

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

Lindy, just to let you know.


I did exactly that, brushed a little oil on the parchment paper resting on my peel, placed the formed dough, let it rise, then slid both loaves and parchment right on to the stone with no problem. I'm new to baking, thanks for the tip.


 


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Glad it worked out for you, Chef Sier.


Parchment is a terrific kitchen aid.


While you may be new to baking, you've done a great job with your prosciutto bread!

Marty's picture
Marty

I suggest you look at the recipe for a prosciutto ring in "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. The book may be in your local library. The recipe is very good. She suggests a coating of bacon fat or butter. At least you can compare the recipe and procedures with your current recipe.

DRKGH's picture
DRKGH

I agree with Marty's comment. I would highly recommend Beranbaum.  Though I have encounter others, this recipe seems to consistently produce the best results.  I have not opted for the bacon fat, though.  Just about 1 tsp of melted butter works beautifully, producing a soft crust with beautiful color.  The interior of the bread is delicate and flaky as well.  Good luck and keep us posted.  DRKGH


 


 

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

Hi Marty,


I indeed watched the video where Mrs. Beranbaum shows you how to make it, but the end result was not like what I am trying to acheive. It was more of a hearty crumb, with a smooth crusted loaf. I am looking to produce a crispy, crackly, flaking crust with a tender soft crumb where flavors of spiced meat and sharp cheese along with the aroma of fresh prepper permeate the entire loaf and senses.


I'm really enjoying baking, and this site is an excellent resource, so many perspectives.

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

I kind of feel like bacon fat is cheating, ham in the bread alone is pushing it, but check this out, I think I've got it down! It's all about the steam time. Probably need to work on formation a little, but that's just experience. Personally I like all the nooks and flaky crusty/chewy crumb contrast.


There's cheese in them ther' hills!



What an excellent site, so much info.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

"prosciutto bread" is the Italo-American adaptation of an Italian bread that was made using leftover fat and meat, mostly from the pig's leg, but really to use up scraps of any kind. The leftover prosciutto was beaten with a mallet or a narrow pin. The fat was rendered. The pepper should be cracked. A little olive oil softens the crumb. It was typically shaped as a ring, twisted on itself. The fat, and the twisted form, made the loaf crispy and "pullable." Obviously, the original versions of this bread would not have used commercial yeast.

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

Perhaps, but between 4 people, both were gone in about 2 minutes, and they still need a little work. I prefer freshly semi course ground white & black peppercorns for a nice kick myself. Also, this bread was originally made using Lard, not the commercialized homginized garbage people buy in the store, I'm talking real lard boiled down from the "leaf". Lard is actually a monounsaturated fat, contains no transfat and is in fact, healthier than butter. It would also give me an even flakier crust but it's a lot of effort to produce.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

You can render it yourself, which is laborious, or you can by it from a good butcher. It's worth it for the convincing result.


 


As for your breads disappearing, I'm not surprised. 

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

You know, I never considered asking my butcher, that's an excellent idea Louie. Later tonight I'm picking up a brisket for a smoked coffee/ancho chili rubbed beef taco night soon to come, I'll certainly ask about the lard. It would definately improve the flakyness and richness of the bread.


- I suppose I would substitute the egg protein and for the lard.

rolls's picture
rolls

your description sounds like the recipe found in the bread bible adapted from zito's bakery in new york.


could you substitute anything else other than ham etc, would any smoky salami type work, eg cabonossi, etc

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

I just last night used equal parts "semi-hot" sopresso and proscuitto along with the picante and it MUST BE SHARP, provolone cheese. It was pretty incredible, I was certainly at the gym, 6am this morning. lol


 


BTW - Neat little trick; Semi-freeze your small cubed provolone. Doing so will prevent it from loosing form when working it into and shaping the dough

bakerslife's picture
bakerslife

We made this bread with our home made cracklings.  We used the rendered lard to mix in the dough, we also added cheese, cracked pepper, and sultanas.

Marty's picture
Marty

For a little more info look at this thread. It's kind of related to what we're talking about here.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7858/italian-lard-bread

roselevyberanbaum's picture
roselevyberanbaum

just in case you have an earlier printing of "the bread bible" i have since met the people who made this bread for zito's and learned the true secret! they use all the end scraps from the pepperoni and hot sopressata which have become hard, dry, and intense. (they get that way if you leave them in the fridge for a while as well.) and they use double the amount--a total of 1-1/2 cups/6 ounces/170 grams. the extra fat also contributes to the flakier less smooth crust and the extra flavor makes brushing it with bacon fat unnecessary. I also like the combination of half bread flour half unbleached all-purpose or 100% better for bread flour which is similar in protein. 

roselevyberanbaum's picture
roselevyberanbaum

just in case you have an earlier printing of "the bread bible" i have since met the people who made this bread for zito's and learned the true secret! they use all the end scraps from the pepperoni and hot sopressata which have become hard, dry, and intense. (they get that way if you leave them in the fridge for a while as well.) and they use double the amount--a total of 1-1/2 cups/6 ounces/170 grams. the extra fat also contributes to the flakier less smooth crust and the extra flavor makes brushing it with bacon fat unnecessary. I also like the combination of half bread flour half unbleached all-purpose or 100% better for bread flour which is similar in protein. 

roselevyberanbaum's picture
roselevyberanbaum

PS they also add a little lard to the dough--i now use 2T/1 ounce/28 grams--which makes the crust more crispy.

Marty's picture
Marty

Thank you so much for the replies. I am a great fan of your work. Your "Bread Bible" is my bread bible.

Marty

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

Here is what my prosciutto loaves look like these days. Folding the dough is key

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

eating wheat again.  Wow!  :)

Chef Sier's picture
Chef Sier

Made a nice batch tonight with salami and swiss. Rise, Fold x 9, Twist, Rise, Wash, Steam Towels, then bake dry.