typical neapolitan casatiello with salami and cheese
Food - Drink
Prosciutto Bread: A Southern Italian Delicacy That's Made Its Way To NYC
What Is It?
Prosciutto bread is a New York Italian-American bread inspired by the classic Italian bread, pane con ciccioli. It is believed that Southern Italian immigrants brought the bread to New York, but because they had access to different ingredients, they swapped out the traditional crispy lard for bits of salty prosciutto and other meats.
Italian Origins
Pane con ciccioli originated as a way for families to avoid any food waste since it incorporates lard and other byproducts left after slaughtering a pig. These small bits of fatty meat, called ciccioli, would get crisped up during the rendering process and incorporated into dishes like bread for flavor and texture.
American Version
In 19th-century New York, Italian immigrants found an explosion of industry, and with Italian butcher stores popping up, families no longer had to butcher their own pigs. More than that, Italians had access to more ingredients, such as meats from Northern Italy, and perhaps that’s how prosciutto bread was born.
Making It
While both versions of the bread incorporate lard in the batter for fat, prosciutto bread gets its texture from small chunks of prosciutto rather than crispy bits of rendered lard. However, there are variations, and you might include salami, sausage, traditional pork chunks, or cheese such as mozzarella and provolone.
Finding It
While prosciutto bread can also be found in parts of Philadelphia and New Jersey, your best bet for finding it is in New York, where a select few Italian bakeries offer prosciutto bread. Bakeries like Mazzola Bakery, Royal Crown Bakery, Napoli Bakery, and Little Italy's Parisi Bakery regularly bake the bread.