Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Carmela Soprano's Prosciutto Bread / Glazing Bread Loaves

Along with homemade soups, fresh breads are great during a long cold winter.
Homemade breads are hot, soft and smell delicious.
And the heat from the oven doesn’t hurt.
It’s better than a portable heater, so making bread is a two-fer.

Sometimes I had trouble believing what I read in Entertaining with the Sopranos.
I can picture Carmela baking bread.
Sure, there are all sorts of ‘buy and bake’ loaves available.
But I really can’t picture Carmela making bread.
Those long nails… Can you imagine trying to get all the sticky goop out of those nails?

Hint:

According to the book, Carmela uses a food processor to make her Prosciutto Bread.
You can use different ground meats, even fake if you're worried about cholesterol.  
Just add some spices, like garlic powder and oregano.

Carmela doesn’t mention glazing the loaves, but it’s something I like to do.
it’s very easy and makes the loaves look pretty.
Combine
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Beat together and brush loaves before baking.

It’s simpler and healthier.
And, yes, she glazed it.


                        Prosciutto Bread

Grease a large baking pan.         

Combine in small bowl
5 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 Cups warm water (100º to 110º F)       
Let stand 5 minutes.
Stir until the yeast is dissolved.

While the yeast mixture is standing:
Combine in large mixer bowl (or a food processor)
3 1/2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Add 
the yeast mixture
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mix or process until the dough comes together into a ball.
Remove the dough from the bowl.
Knead 1 minute, until smooth but still moist.
If it feels sticky add more flour.
Oil a large bowl.
Place the dough in the bowl and rotate it so all the surfaces get oiled.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

While the bread is rising dice
4 ounces prosciutto, or other ham
4 ounces soppressata, or other salami
2 ounces sharp provolone

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Flatten it with your hands to remove air bubbles.
Scatter the diced meat and cheese over half of the bread dough.
Fold the uncovered dough over the meat and cheese.
Flatten and fold it a few times to distribute the meat and cheese.
Cut the dough in half.
Roll each piece into a 10-inch loaf with your hands.
Place the loaves several inches apart on the prepared pan.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375º  

With a sharp knife, cut 3 diagonal slashes in each loaf.
Glaze, if you wish.
Bake 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Slide the loaves onto a wire rack and cool slightly.
Serve warm.

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