The Irishman: Prosciutto Bread
Once again, it’s the beginning of a new year, which means two things: it’s time for New Year’s resolutions and award season! If you’ve had the chance to see The Irishman–which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actor–you may have noticed the delicious looking bread that Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro enjoy together at several of their favorite restaurants in New York.
Called prosciutto bread or lard bread, this classic Italian recipe is basically traditional yeast bread with added prosciutto and cheese. In The Irishman, an epic Martin Scorsese biopic that spans four decades, Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro break bread together throughout the movie, sipping on red table wine while discussing Frank Sheeran’s next ‘painting’ gig.
If you’re in the mood for ‘procrastibaking,’ prosciutto bread is the perfect recipe; it’s simple and easy to make. For those sensitive to violence in movies, we recommend checking on the bread right when DeNiro prepares to shoot a gangster in the face. Luckily for sensitive viewers, DeNiro narrates throughout the movie and always gives you a heads up before he takes anybody out. And when you open the oven for a quick peek, you’ll also release all the glorious smells of this flavorful bread into your home.
- KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 10-Speed Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachments
- Large silicone cake spatula
- Large mixing bowl
- Pandoro mold or 9-cup mold
- Parchment paper
- Aluminum foil
- Silicone brush
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
- 1 ¾ cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup prosciutto, diced into ¼ inch cubes (about 4 ounces)
- 1 cup Fontina cheese, diced into ¼ inch cubes (about 4 ounces)
- Olive oil for the bowl
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten (for the egg glaze)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook, mix together yeast and sugar with warm water; stir until dissolved. Let stand until it becomes foamy–about 10 minutes.
- Add flour, salt, and pepper to the yeast mixture. Mix on low until it forms a ball, which should take about 5 minutes (the dough will be slightly sticky).
- Place parchment paper on a flat surface and dust with flour. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and form into a 10×10-inch square.
- Sprinkle Fontina cheese and prosciutto on top; press into the dough. Form a ball by pulling each corner of the square into the center and folding inward.
- Transfer, seam side down, to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume (about 1 hour).
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the third row. Punch down the dough and pull four corners into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled pandoro mold. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until the dough is slightly mounded and sits evenly with the top of the mold (about 30 minutes). Brush the top with the egg glaze. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is a dark golden brown. Cover with an aluminum foil tent, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes. The sides should be golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the sides. Unmold the bread and place it on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
Interesting Fact: The Irishman took 106 days to film, making it the longest shooting schedule in Martin Scorsese’s career.
Bonus Tip: For the best prosciutto bread experience, we recommend enjoying it fresh out of the oven while watching the Irishman. The opening credits are 45 minutes long (or at least it seems that way), which gives you plenty of time to pour a glass of wine and break some bread with your nearest and dearest.