This wonderful savory bread was made by my mother every year at Easter, as many from Naples traditionally do. I like to make it year round. When Millie passed away (omg, I miss her so) I realized that unlike most things she prepared, I had not watched her enough to reproduce her recipe. So when I was hungry for this unbelievably delicious bread, I searched the internet for a recipe that matched what I watched mom make. After some time I found it! I have tweaked it a little, but by and large it is Mary Ann Esposito’s (of Ciao Italia fame) rendition of a recipe from “Nonna Grasso.” You are going to love this! Let us know what you think!
4 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising flour)
1 package instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups warm water (you may not use all of it)
1/2 pound chunk salami, cut into cubes
1/2 pound chunk sharp provolone cheese, cut into cubes
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper (or coarse ground)
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Grease a 10 inch tube pan and set aside.
Heap the flour on a work surface or put in a big mixing bowl. (Or add it to the bowl of a stand mixer. If using stand mixer, use dough hook only.)
Add the dry yeast, salt and pepper. Hand mix into the flour. (A mixer will explode a cloud of dry flour on this 1 step!).
Slowly add olive oil and work into the flour.
Add the grated romano cheese and enough warm water to make a soft ball of dough.
Remove ball from bowl (or continue to work on counter).
Punch the ball once (helps activate yeast).
Knead the dough.
Roll out into a large rectangle, 18 by 14 inches.
Scatter the cheese and salami over the surface to within an inch of the edges.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Starting at the longest side, roll the dough up as for a jellyroll, making sure to tuck in the ends.
Place it in the tube pan.
Tuck the two ends together.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and put in a warm place on counter away from drafts (important).
Allow to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough is 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown.
Let cool on a rack then run a butter knife along the inside edges of the pan, carefully turn pan over to remove bread. Serve warm, cut into wedges.