Lard Bread w/ Pancetta & Onions
What is lard bread, you ask?
It's this wonderful bread made with pork drippings and only freaking fantastic!!!!!
I used to buy this old school Italian loaf in a Soho bakery years ago, that is no longer in business. They probably died from eating too much lard.
It was the BEST loaf of bread ever, loaded with pancetta and some of the salty fat. Ah, organic and healthy.
Jim Lahey has a recipe for lard bread made with pancetta, but I used good old smoked slab bacon and sauteed onions and rosemary to make this loaf an amazing piece of art.
I like to plan on baking my bread at 9 a.m. on Sunday to have it ready for lunch, so it's nice and warm. I usually start the process on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to be exact, so 24 hours later we are in business.
By the time you wake up the next morning, this thing is alive. It has tripled in size and wants to escape from the glass bowl. It has a life of its own and wants to get on with it.
I sauteed the bacon pieces with the onions, then cooled and drained them on paper towels.
Mixed them in with the flour, yeast and salt and the baby is on its way.
Lard Bread w/ Pancetta & Onions: (adapted from Jim Lahey)
3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of cold water
2 cups of choppped pancetta, or slab bacon
1 onion, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
24 hours before you are planning on eating the bread, get started.
Cook the bacon and onions in a large nonstick skillet on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain and cool the mixture on paper towels.
In a large glass bowl, mix the flour, salt, yeast. Once the bacon onion mixture is cooled, add that with the rosemary to the flour mixture. Add a about a tablespoon of the lard or fat from the pan.
Now add the cool water and mix with your hands to form a nice sticky dough and form into a ball.
Leave in the glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave on the counter in a cool dry place for about 18 hours (I usually do 24 hours, depending when I wake up in the a.m.).
When you check on it, the dough will have spread in the bowl and doubled in size.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape out the dough onto a floured surface and fold it a few times, turning it over and forming another ball of dough.
Now you are supposed to let it rest in a dishtowel for another hour or two for the second rise, but for some reason, this loaf did not need it.
I put it in the oven almost right away. It was ready to go.
Preheat your heaviest 7-9 quart Dutch oven for 15 minutes in a 475F oven.
Carefully remove the Dutch oven and lay the dough on a piece of large parchment paper, big enough to slip into the pot.
Place the dough and parchment paper into the preheated pot and bake covered for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, and bake another 10 minutes uncovered until you have a beautiful crust.
Slice into it whenever you like. I never wait for the bread to cool, it's too good.
This was my favorite loaf from Lahey's book so far.
It was like an Italian onion roll with little bits of bacon in it.
PERFECT on its own, with butter, or with an egg over easy.