Baking in a strong salt crust is a great idea for picnicking. Not only does it produce a delicious flavour and tender texture, the crust forms a kind of edible case for transporting whatever you’ve baked inside. And it will stay warm in the crust for hours.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (62 votes)


  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1.5 kg skinless, boneless pork belly

Salt crust

  • 600 g (4 cups) plain flour
  • 500 g cooking salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water


  • 400 g each cauliflower, green beans, carrot, cucumber, pearl onions, cut into small pieces
  • 270 g (1 cup) cooking salt
  • 750 ml (3 cups) apple cider vinegar
  • 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) malt vinegar

Ploughman’s ingredients

  • aged cheddar and blue cheese, red onion rings, celery, cucumber and carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, apple, boiled egg, mustard, crusty bread

Cook's notes

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.


Standing time 2 weeks

Resting time 30 minutes

For the piccalilli, start the recipe at least 2 weeks in advance. Mix the vegetables and salt together in a non-reactive bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave out overnight. Discard any accumulated liquids, rinse the vegetables in plenty of cold water and transfer to a large saucepan. Pour over the apple cider vinegar and sugar and bring to a simmer. Simmer the vegetables for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices, stir well to combine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Mix the cornflour and malt vinegar together in a bowl then pour over the vegetables, stirring continuously as it is added. Transfer the vegetables and the thickened liquid to sterilised jars and store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before opening. It will keep for about 6 months.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Toast the fennel seeds and black peppercorns in a dry frying pan for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Grind to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle.

Place a large frying pan over high heat. Once smoking, sear the pork belly until well-browned on all sides. Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, salt and water in a large bowl and mix to a rough dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out the dough to a large sheet, about 5mm thick and big enough to fully encase the pork. Scatter half of the spice mixture onto the centre of the dough and place the pork on top, fat-side down. Rub the remaining mixture all over the pork. Fold over the dough to encase the pork and seal the edges by pressing firmly, ensuring there are no holes. Place the pork into a large roasting pan, seam-side down and bake in the oven for 3 hours. Remove from the oven allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.

To serve the pork, break open the crust and discard. Slice the pork and serve it with the piccalilli and remaining Ploughman’s Lunch ingredients.