Pizza di Pasqua al Formaggio

Umbrian Easter Bread

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    2 or 3

    Large Loaves

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is not a pizza as such, but is called a pizza since the word is sometimes used to describe a savoury bread, or a simple cake. It is actually very rich and labour-intensive, which is typical of the traditional dishes that mark the feasting for important religious festivities. In Italy, Easter Monday is often the day when family and friends head into the countryside for a picnic, and this bread would be exactly the kind of food that is suitable for taking along to share on such an occasion. Serve with cured meats, olives and cheeses.

Ingredients

  • 225 g/5 lb 6 oz ready-made, risen basic bread dough
  • about 725 g/1 lb 9 oz/6 ¼ cups strong white bread flour
  • warm water, as needed
  • 115 g/4 oz pork dripping
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 10 g/¼ oz fresh/compressed yeast mixed with 75 ml/5 tbsp warm water
  • 275 g/10 oz/1⅔ cups freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 45-60 ml/3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • unsalted butter, for greasing
  • plain/all-purpose flour, for dusting

Method

  1. Knead the bread dough with 500 g/ lb/5 cups of the flour and enough warm water to achieve a very soft dough.

  2. Turn this dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled clear film or plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

  3. Knead the pork dripping, eggs, yeast mixture, pecorino cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper into the dough.

  4. Knead thoroughly, using the remaining 225 g/8 oz/2 cups strong white bread flour, to achieve a dough that is not too sticky.

  5. Butter and flour two or three large loaf tins or pans. Divide the dough among the tins. Leave in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and bake the bread for 50 minutes, until the top of the loaves are golden brown and crisp. Cool completely before removing them from the tins.