If ever, in a moment of aimless thought, you've pondered what heaven might smell like, this recipe will reveal the answer. It smells like a combination of bacon cooking and bread baking. And if you could eat heaven, it just might taste like this bread.
- Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, thoroughly combine 2 cups flour, malt, and yeast. Add salt and mix. (Note: the salt is added after mixing to avoid it coming into direct contact with the yeast.)
- Swapping to the dough hook, add water to bowl and combine with flour at low speed (#2 on a Kitchen Aid) until moistened. Increase speed to medium (#4 on a KA) and knead for seven minutes. Add prosciutto and mix in on low. The dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky. If it is too, sticky add a bit more flour a tablespoon at a time and knead in, if too dry, spray with a bit of water and knead in.
- Dump dough onto a lightly floured counter, shape into a ball, dust lightly with flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- Place baking stone or a baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Heat oven to 450F.
- Roll dough into an 18-inch rope, form into a ring, overlapping ends by two inches on a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a large bowl or oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk - about one hour.
- Transfer bread on parchment to either a baking stone or metal baking sheet. Toss half a dozen ice cubes into the pan on the bottom of the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, remove parchment and rotate bread 180F. Bake another five minutes and reduce heat to 400F. Cook another 10 to 15 minutes. Turn oven off, prop open door, and leave the bread in the oven for five minutes.
- Remove bread from the oven, brush again with bacon fat or butter and allow to cool completely.