Pepper and Pancetta Batter Bread
- serves 6
2 slices slices pancetta (or 3 strips lean bacon), finely chopped
¾ cup hot water
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
½ tsp each salt and pepper
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 1 tbsp)
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (approx)
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1. In skillet, fry pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove and crumble pancetta, reserving fat.
2. In large bowl of stand mixer, combine 1 tbsp pancetta fat with hot water, 1 tbsp of the sugar, basil, salt and pepper; let stand for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix remaining 1 tsp sugar with lukewarm water; sprinkle yeast over top, stirring to dissolve granules. Let stand for 10 minutes.
4. With fork, stir down yeast mixture, whisking to dissolve all yeast; mix into pepper mixture. Blend in egg.
5. Beat in flour in 2 additions, adding a few tablespoons more flour if necessary to form smooth, elastic wet batter; beat for 4 minutes. Beat in pancetta. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes.
6. Punch down batter. Grease 6-cup ovenproof casserole dish, preferably round; sprinkle with cornmeal. Scrape batter into dish; cover and let rise until risen to top of dish, about 1 hour.
7. Bake in 400°F oven until bread sounds hollow when tapped, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from dish; let cool on rack.