The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian Lard Bread

Joe L's picture
Joe L

Italian Lard Bread

Anyone have a recipe to make this bread that was made in some Italian Bakeries back in the 60's in Brooklyn.

I'll describe it from memory- Round loaf with hole in the middle. The bread was braided and included the following

ingredients: pork fat ?, pepper. I have not seen it in years, I believe a few bakeries in Brooklyn still make it.

Does not include ham or salami.


Marty's picture

I remenber a bread my mother made, not with lard, but from the renderings of lard making. Cracklings is perhaps a good word for the renderings. These little bits were baked into a fantastic tasty bread. I have no recipe but I remember the bread. I'd say any decent bread recipe will work. How you get the cracklings is beyond me unless you make lard. Closest I can come to the Italian name for the renderings is cicoli.

chezangelo's picture

Napoletana "CASATIELLO" Lard Bread. The Easy Way.

Use Frozen Bread Dough. NOT PIZZA DOUGH. Since you'll want to make a few loaves, then in advance  Prepare diced dry salami, diced pecorino cheese, diced salt pork or pork bellies (rendered=fried slowly until crisp) called "ciccioli".  salt & pepper.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil and place 1 frozen loaf, 1lb, into it, add all fixin's on top and Let Rise (first time). Punch down and mix fixin's into dough. DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH, JUST MIX. Set aside in bowl and  Let Rise (second time). Punch down and mix again, then shape dough into a long (french bread log), cut in two and Braid into a round circle. Place onto a oven heated baking stone, with cornmeal on stone to prevent sticking, OR, in an oil sprayed disposable aluminum angel food pan.  Bake in 450 degree oven for about an hour (or less) and be sure to "spray water" on the baking bread every 15 minutes to get a nice brown crusty bread. Let Cool. Then Enjoy.  Mangiare e Buon Appetito. Saluti, Angelo

Tips: You can use Prosciutto, Ham, Pancetta, Provelone, Asiago or whatever tastes you prefer. The most "important" is "CICCIOLI". 


KosherBaker's picture

This exact bread was featured on Todd English's Food Trip show that airs on PBS. He went to an Italian Bakery somewhere in New York (maybe in Brooklyn) that still makes this bread today.


RFMonaco's picture

Ciccioli Bread from Carol Field's book, "Italy in Small Bites"1 recipe pizza dough made with 2 Tbs. of olive oil prepared thru thefirst rise.2 lbs pork fatback or 1 Tbs. olive oil & 1/2 cup , about 3 ounces dicedpancettaOne & a quarter tsp. coarsely ground pepper1 Tbs. olive oilCornmealWhile the dough is rising, cook the cracklings or pancetta.  If you areusing cracklings, slice the porkfatback into small pieces.  Set in a small saucepan, cover with coldwater and cook slowly over medium-lowheat until the fat is completely rendered.  Remove the crisply goldencracklings with a slotted spoon and drainon paper towels. Turn up the heat under the saucepan and boil until thewater has evaporated. Save 3 Tbs. of thefat. Allow the cracklings to cool.If you are using pancetta, heat the olive oil in a small heavy skillet.Saute the pancetta over medium-high heatuntil it is crunchy & crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool. Reserve the pandrippings.Shaping and second rise.The recipe continues to tell you to flatten the dough & scatter thecracklings & reserved fat, or the pancettaand its drippings over the surface and forming into an  18 inch log. ( InCarol Field's other book, "Celebrating Italy", she forms the dough intorounds ).Set the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with a towel & letrise until doubled, about one to one & a quarter hours.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375degrees & continue baking until the top is golden&  a tap on the bottom of loaf produces the hollow sound, about 20 to 25minutes.

Marty's picture

Don't forget to take your statins.

pattycakes's picture

Since New York City has banned trans fats, many bakeries have been faced with the dilemma of what to replace it with. The natural choice is lard, since lard was the original excellent baking fat (along with butter).

Interesting enough, lard has a way better fat profile in terms of health than does trans fat or even butter, but it also has a bad rap. It's worth looking into, because it's way better for you than many of the fats we have been eating. I'm talking about real lard, either rendered at home or from a butcher shop, not the hydrogenated, tasteless stuff in the blue box.

In the end, eating moderate amounts of good quality animal fats is not necessarily unhealthy for a person who is active and eats a well-balanced diet. A look at the cultures where lard is used a great deal is testimony to that. Mexicans and Chinese who eat their traditional diets are often thin. They don't eat too many calories, and they aren't sedentary. When they move to the United States and start eating our diet and sitting in front of the tube, they begin to have our health problems, too.

An excellent book on this subject is FAT by Jennifer McLagan.

jerzeemike's picture

Cuputos bakery on Court st in Brooklyn makes the best! Where do u live. I moved from Brookly to NJ and the first thing I had to do is Find All my fav food places like Bagels, pizza , pastry and breads. Its not that easy to get the same taste as u would in brooklyn do to the taste of the water when the dough is made . But I found a few places that was pretty good. Mike

RebelWithoutASauce's picture

There is a recipe for what you describe in Rose Levenbaum's Bread Bible.  I checked it out from the library awhile ago and remember the recipe because of the shape and added pepper.  I believe she calls it prosciutto bread because she cuts up bits of prosciutto for it.  I'm sure you can easily modify the recipe if it isn't quite right.

Marty's picture

I tried the recipe from "The Bread Bible" for prosciutto bread this week. I used pancetta instead of prosciutto. I chopped it up and removed some of the fat. Fried it up a little before adding it to the dough. I also coated the dough ring with the drippings before baking. Very tasty!

rolls's picture

i have that book i've always looked at that recipe and said im going to make it soon with some smoked beef. it looks so yum. and easy.

annulla's picture

the Italian bakeries in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn still produce delicious lard bread. In fact (not to make you jealous), I just bought two loaves this morning, hot and crusty, straight out of the oven. The best places to find it are, in my opinion:

  • Mazzola Bakery at 192 Union Street (at Henry) 

  • Caputo Bakery at 329 Court Street (near Union)

  • F. Monteleone & Cammareri Brothers Bakery at 355 Court Street (near President)

  • Caputo's Fine Foods at 460 Court Street (near 4th Place) has the bread as well as amazing homemade mozarella cheese.

Perhaps if you call them, one of these place can give you a couple of tips on making your own. Good luck!


Bronxgurl117's picture

Joe L 

My grandmother use to make this and now I make it for my family. I only use the fork fat, pepper, and grated cheese. I do make the dough,  mix in just those 3 ingredients and twist as you round the dough in a circle and bake until it's golden brown. A lot of bakery's use pepperoni, ham and other stuff we never did. 

Lechem's picture

Is it similar to the British Lardy Cake?