Make-ahead marvel for breakfast, brunch…or any meal of the day!
This rich, brioche-style bread is incredibly delicious and super versatile too. While it’s absolutely amazing fresh out of the oven, my taste testers have decided it’s even more delightful the next day, toasted and buttered, possibly with a fried egg on top. No matter how it’s served, it’s a loaf that will be the star of the show at any meal. You can make and bake it all in the same day if you like, or prepare the bread and let it nap in the fridge overnight before baking. It’s terrific made with pancetta, but double-smoked bacon would be ridiculously tasty in this as well. Next time I might even go wild and add some caramelized onions too.
- 4 cups (17 ounces or 480 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) grated Parmesan
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) diced pancetta or bacon
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) melted butter (to brush on loaf before baking)
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 mL) fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
- In a large frying pan, cook pancetta or bacon until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the dough by putting the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one); set aside.
- Heat the milk gently in the microwave until it is warm to the touch, but not hot (110F with an instant-read thermometer if you have one).
- Add the yeast to the milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes then add the mixture to the flour and stir into a shaggy dough.
- Add the vegetable oil and beaten eggs and continue stirring until dough forms a ball. Knead 3 minutes with the stand mixer or turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for 5 minutes, adding a little flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl or the counter.
- Transfer the kneaded dough to a clean bowl that’s been lightly oiled. Cover with a clean towel and let rise 1 hour.
- Take the dough out the bowl and roll out as thinly as possible to form a large rectangle about 12 × 24 inches (30 x 60 cm). Sprinkle the dough with the Parmesan then the pancetta, leaving a half inch (1.25 cm) border around all of the edges.
- Starting with a long end facing you, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder jelly roll-style, pinching the seams and ends to seal. Once you have finished rolling the dough, gently coil it into a spiral and place in a 10 inch (25 cm) springform pan that’s been lightly coated with vegetable oil.
- Brush the coiled bread with melted butter and then cover loosely with plastic wrap and then a tea towel. Let rise again for 45 minutes.
- NOTE: At this point you can put the shaped, covered bread in the fridge and let it sit overnight instead of having it rise on the counter for 45 minutes. Remove from fridge in the morning when you turn the oven on to preheat.
- After 45 minutes (or overnight in fridge), preheat oven to 350F.
- Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle loaf with fleur de sel or kosher salt. Place in preheated oven and bake 35 – 40 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- Store leftover bread in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for longer storage.
Makes 1 large loaf.