Pancetta & Black Pepper Bread

Pancetta & Black Pepper Bread
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 3 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup diced provolone, preferably aged
  • Olive oil, for greasing
  • Cornmeal, for dusting


In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta over medium until crispy, about 6 minutes; transfer to paper towels to drain.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add 1 1/3 cups warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees ) water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the sugar; stir until dissolved. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup flour, the pepper and salt. Mix in the pancetta and cheese. Add the remaining 2 cups flour. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Knead by hand (or mix on medium-low), until a slightly sticky dough forms, about 6 minutes. Using floured hands, shape the dough into a ball; place in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat in the oil, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Line another large bowl with a towel; dust with cornmeal. Punch down the dough, reshape into a ball and place, seam-side up, in the bowl. Loosely fold the towel over the dough; let rise 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Set a 5-to 6-quart covered Dutch oven on the rack; preheat to 450 degrees . After 20 minutes, remove the Dutch oven, uncover and dust with cornmeal. Uncover the dough. Invert the bowl over the Dutch oven, letting the dough land in the bottom. Slice a deep X in the center of the dough. Cover; bake until golden and a thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 190 degrees , about 30 minutes. Transfer the bread to a rack. Let cool completely.