I have received a large number of requests for an Easter bread that contains cheese and ham or prosciutto. This recipe is similar to savory breads eaten around Easter time in Campania, which are filled with a variety of cheeses, cooked ham and salami. The quantity of water needed depends on the type of flour used. Use just enough to create a dough that can be kneaded by hand. You can substitute any other cold cuts in place of the prosciutto if you prefer. I recently made this bread with half white wheat flour and half all-purpose flour and it was just as tasty.
Deborah Mele 2011
Prosciutto Cheese Bread
A traditional southern Italian bread made each year around Easter that is studded with prosciutto and cheese.
- 1 Package (2 1/2 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Both Salt And Black Pepper
- 4 Ounces Prosciutto, Cut Into Small Dice
- 2 Ounces Provolone, Cut Into Small Dice
- 3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Warm Water
- Sprinkle the yeast over one cup of warm water and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes, then add the oil, flour, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and just enough additional water as needed, mixing with a wooden spoon until a workable dough has been formed.
- Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until you have created a smooth dough.
- If the dough seems sticky as you are kneading it, add a little more flour.
- Oil a large bowl twice the size of the bread, and place the dough in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Oil a baking sheet, and place the dough in the center.
- Flatten the dough with your hands, and spread the meat and provolone cheese over the top, and fold the dough over to cover the meat and cheese, and then flatten and fold the dough over a few times with your hands to distribute the ingredients throughout the bread.
- To shape, either form the dough into a large oval shape, or roll into a 24 inch rope, and loosely twist the ends together, sealing the ends together so you have one large ring.
- Cover with plastic wrap once more, and let sit to rise until doubled once more, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake the bread for 30 minutes, or until it is a nice golden brown in color.
- Cool on a wire rack, and then slice when still slightly warm.
- Variation: You can brush the bread with a glaze of 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water to give the bread a shiny surface if you desire.