3 cups bread flour (plus more for dusting)
2 tablespoons wheat germ
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt (less if using table salt)
1 5/8 cups warm water
1/3 cup pesto (scroll down for pesto recipe)
2/3 cup salami, sliced and crisped
This recipe works best if you start the dough the evening before you want to eat it. This way, you can do the first rise overnight, shape the loaf in the morning, let it rise a second time in the refrigerator during the day, then finish it up in the afternoon or early evening so you can have it for dinner. We made pasta the same night with a homemade tomato sauce, and sauteing the onions in the oil rendered out from the crisped salami added a little extra depth of flavor.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 12-18 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and knead it for 2-5 minutes. Try not to add too much more flour to the dough -- it's ok if it's a little sticky. Turn a bowl over the dough and let it rest for about 20 minutes (this will let it relax and be easier to work with) then knead again for a few minutes more, shaping it into a ball as you knead. Place ball in a lightly greased bowl and let rise for 45 minutes on a countertop, then let rise in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
3. Take the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit while you crisp the salami and, if necessary, make the pesto. (Storebought pesto should be fine.) To crisp the salami, cut 1/4 inch rounds, then cut the rounds into quarters. Add to a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan on medium-high heat until some of the fat has rendered out of the salami and the pieces have begun to brown. Depending on the diameter of your salami, you may want to then chop the pieces slightly smaller once they have cooled -- you want your pieces to be no more than 1/2 inch long on any side. Set aside.
4. On a lightly floured surface, take the dough and gently shape it into a rough rectangle. Dab the pesto onto the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the salami. Press the salami gently into the dough. Roll up the dough, and, if desired, flatten out the roll and add more salami and pesto. Fold the dough over again, and shape the dough to seal the salami and pesto inside. Place the dough on a baking sheet and let it rise once more for about 45 minutes (give it a little longer if your kitchen feels cool) while your oven preheats to 425 degrees.
5. When the oven is ready, brush a little water on the top of the dough, and grate parmesan cheese on top (the water will help it adhere until it melts in). Put the bread in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until dark golden brown.
6. When the bread is finished, place it on a wire rack and let it cool before slicing. Enjoy!