Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kevin: Prosciutto Bread Ring Recipe

Republished from Seriously Good.
I read recently that the most popular sandwich in the US (discounting hamburgers, I assume) is ham. Although I presume most people eat of some sort of processed ham on some sort of commercial bread in their sandwiches, even some of those products aren't bad. And when you branch out into less common hams and handcrafted breads you can create some really spectacular sandwiches.

Such sandwiches can be as simple as a couple of slices of Prosciutto or Serrano ham on a single crust of country bread — perhaps with a slice of Manchego or Fontina. This is best enjoyed standing in a tavern in Spain or Italy, but it's good at home too. Grilled country ham on a biscuit is a breakfast mainstay in the South. Fresh baked ham on a good sour rye with German mustard and sliced dill pickles is wonderful on a picnic. And I think my favorite ham sandwich is a Black Forest ham Panini with Bierkase on my own sourdough bread. A light brush of olive oil on the bread before grilling really sets it off.

The last bread book I bought was The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum has a recipe in it for a Prosciutto Ring. Right off the bat I liked the sound of it. Reading further I discovered that it's brushed with bacon fat before baking. Ham and bacon and fresh baked bread? Sounds like a ham sandwich lover's dream!

Prosciutto Ring

2 cups + 3 tbsp bread flour
1 tbsp malt powder (or 1 tbsp sugar)
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 c water (70F -90F)
3 oz Prosciutto, 1/8" thick -- cut into 1/2" pieces
4 tsp bacon fat, lard, or butter -- melted

Using the whisk attachment, thoroughly combine flour, malt, and yeast. Add salt and mix. (Note: the salt is added after mixing to avoid it coming into direct contact with the yeast.)

Swapping to the dough hook, add water to bowl and combine with flour at low speed (#2 on a Kitchen Aid) until moistened. Increase speed to medium (#4 on a KA) and knead for seven minutes. Add Prosciutto and mix in on low. Dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky. If it is too sticky add a bit more flour and knead in, if too dry, spray with a bit of water and knead in.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured counter, shape into a ball, dust lightly with flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Place baking stone or a baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Heat oven to 450F.

Roll dough into an 18" rope, form into a ring, overlapping ends by two inches on a sheet of parchment paper or Silpain sheet. Cover with a large bowl or oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk -- about one hour. Brush with melted bacon grease.

Transfer bread on Silpan or parchment to stone or baking sheet. (Use a peel if bread is on parchment.) Toss half a dozen ice cubes into the pan on the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, remove Silpan or parchment, and rotate bread 180 degrees. Bake another five minutes and reduce heat to 400F. Cook another 10 to 15 minutes. Turn oven off, prop open door, and leave the bread in the oven for five minutes.

Remove bread from oven, brush again with bacon fat or butter, and allow to cool completely.

Note: I ended up adding almost an additional half cup of flour to the dough to get the texture right.
If ever, in a moment of aimless wondering, pondered what heaven might smell like, I know. It smells like a combination of bacon cooking and bread baking. And if you could eat heaven, it just might taste like this bread.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin,
sounds pretty sweet. Although I think you forgot to add the first bacon fat brushing before baking in the procedure?

10/12/2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Thanks. I fixed it,

10/13/2007 9:52 AM  
Anonymous carol said...

Kevin, is there another method to make prisotto bread without a bread kneading hook type machine?

10/16/2007 2:21 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

You can do the whole thing by hand.

10/16/2007 2:35 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I just made this with some leftover bacon and it is amazing. I'm looking forward to many peanut butter sandwiches with this bread.


10/20/2007 2:18 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Yeah, it's one of my favorite breads.

10/20/2007 3:19 PM  
Anonymous A different Carol said...

Dear Kevin,
Please help. I'm dying to make this; I want to smell heaven. I'm waiting for my baking stone to arrive. But I've been looking at all the good grocery stores in my area, including Whole Foods, and can't find malt powder. Can I use Ovaltine malt drink mix (without the chocolate flavor), or is it something different? I love malt flavor so I hesitate to substitute the sugar for it.

11/12/2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I get malt powder mail-order from King Arthur Flour ( But I've meade the bread without it an it's still wonderful.

11/12/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

This was not heaven for me. It just didn't work out. I followed the instructions, but it "flat-lined". :(

The dough didn't really rise much. So I went ahead and put it in the oven.. it was looking golden & toasty, but the inside was sort of raw and doughy.

I was ready with my camera for the grand finale..and flop.

Note: I did it by hand. And used sugar instead of malt.

Question: I thought yeast was supposed to be mixed w/ water first to get it "going", and then incorporate it??

Final note: I've been trying new "baking" recipes for about 2 weeks now..and EVERY single one has been bad. Could it be I'm not a baker? Am I destined to just make cupcakes out of a box? :*(

1/23/2008 6:59 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Perhaps your yeast was old. There's no need to proof instant yeast (wake it up in warm water) but if you used ordinary active dry yeast ad it was more than a year old and hadn't been stored in the refrigerator that could have been the problem.

Another problem is not needin it long enough to build up the gluten. In that case there's no structure ad the CO2 the yeast produces simply leaks our of the bread.

But the most commo problem is simply not allowing the bread to rise. Bread can easily take two or three times as long to rise as a recipe indicates if your house is cool. If the dough hasn't doubled in size, it's not ready for the next step.

1/27/2008 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can bakery-bought bread dough be used or must I make it from scratch? Does bakery dough have to rise once or twice? I use bakery dough for sausage bread and olive bread & it's great.

12/17/2008 8:52 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I suppose you could, I've never used store-bought dough as it seems to defeat the purpose of making your own bread.

12/18/2008 1:59 PM  

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