Bread that includes something rich and fatty such as ham, bacon, or salt pork is an old tradition common to many nationalities. In the United States it is sometimes also referred to as “crackling bread,” which is a key to its origin, I think. Nowadays when we no longer render animal fat to use for cooking, cracklings—those little pieces of stray meat and skin that accumulate while fat is being melted down or rendered—are but a faint memory, even in cultures that used to have them available regularly. This bread uses purchased prosciutto, but there are instructions for using bacon or salt pork as a substitute.
Serve the prosciutto bread with hors d’oeuvres, or with first courses, especially if they are Italian dishes. It’s also a very good accompaniment to a simple salad.
Keep the loaves loosely covered with plastic wrap on the day they are baked. Wrap in plastic and freeze for longer storage. Defrost the bread and reheat it at 350°F (180°C) for 10 minutes, and cool it before serving.
Prosciutto bread also makes a good braided bread. Make one large 1 (the baking time will be a little longer) or 2 small ones, as in the Semolina Sesame Braid.
Substitute bacon or salt pork (with skin removed) for the prosciutto. Dice and cook a pound (
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.