Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 30 minutes
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the water and start to incorporate it with your fingers, then turn out onto the bench and knead until incorporated. Return to the bowl and add 80 ml (⅓ cup) of the lard, slowly working it with your hands to make a soft dough. Knead for 5–10 minutes or until soft and elastic, adding a little extra flour if it is too sticky.
Flatten out the dough into a large rectangle. Sprinkle the ciccioli and cheddar evenly over the dough, roll up and quickly knead again. Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat in the oil, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Cut the dough into two portions and press each out on a well-floured baking tray, about 25 cm x 35 cm to a thickness of 1–1.5 cm.
Press your fingers all over the dough to make indentations. Brush the top with some of the remaining lard and sprinkle with extra salt and rosemary leaves. Alternatively, you can simply roll up and place on a well-floured baking tray, brush with lard and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake in the hottest part of the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until golden brown (the rolled version will take about 40 minutes). Brush with extra remaining lard and serve warm.
• To make the ciccioli, finely chop the 400 g pork leaf lard and place in a heavy-based saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour or until the fat has rendered and the ciccioli are golden and crisp. Drain and reserve the ciccioli and use the rendered fat for the dough.
-This dough is better if you have the patience and time to make it like brioche. To do that, keep 80 g of the lard in the fridge until set, then cut into small pieces. Then mix together the dough without the lard. Knead the dough for the required time, and then knead in the lard at the end. (If you have a dough hook on your electric mixer, you could use that.) It’s messy, but worth giving it a crack because it makes for a nicer textured bread.