Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pancetta and Cheddar Focaccia or, an adult Cheese and Bacon Roll

The great Australian Classic - The Cheese and Bacon roll. 
You know the one - Baker's Delight circa 1998. The one with the hard set cheese with semi-to no flavour. The perfect tiny cubes of bacon, gritty and chewy. The soft white roll that satisfies all carbohydrate induced desires after a tough day at school. The little plastic bag they wrap it in, greedily thrown to the wayside. Whose childhood wasn't filled with these after school dreams?

I was reflecting on foods I used to eat as a kid, and why I never eat them now. It seems that with age I become more boring with my food choices - like most evolutions into becoming an adult, the excitement of food can dwindle to just those moments of going out to fancy pants dinners and not much else.

Well I'm bringing the arvo snack back baby, albeit a grown up version. Cheddar cheese + Pancetta Focaccia or, an adult's way of getting away with eating a dodgy cheese and bacon roll from the corner shop (even though we all know that's what we'd prefer to be eating).

Prosciutto and Parmesan Focaccia
Makes one big, crowd-pleasing loaf

For the dough:
7g yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbs olive oil
450g plain flour
For the topping:
1 brown onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Sea salt + Pepper
80g thinly sliced pancetta (8 slices)
140g aged cheddar cheese, broken up into chunks
Bunch of thyme/rosemary
Drizzle of olive oil

Let's get the dough on the go - in a measuring cup add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Leave to let sit in a warm place for about 5 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and smells like a pint of Guinness. Add the olive oil to the mix.

In a bowl add the flour with a small well in the centre. Pour in the yeast/water combo and slowly mix through with your hands to combine. This is where I whack my mixture into a my beautiful baby pink Kitchenaid, but for those of you out there who prefer to sweat it out, knead vigorously for 10 minutes until light and springy. Set aside in a bowl, covered with a tea towel for an hour until doubled in size. 

Meanwhile, thinly slice the brown onion. Add to a small saucepan with the butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Whack the hob on medium heat and start to slowly fry off the onions until they are soft, darkened and delicious - about 10 minutes.

Grab your dough which has now risen. Place on a floured bench top and roll out with a rolling pin/your hands until a rough rectangle of dough appears. Stab the bread with your fingers to create little pockets for the topping to fall into - Jamie Oliver is king of this. 

Grab the onions and scatter on top of the tough, add the cheddar cheese, carefully lay down the pancetta and finish with a sprinkle of thyme + rosemary and one last swig of olive oil. Bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, until the dough is springy and the toppings are crusty. 


  1. Great to see you posting again. Long time reader of your blog. Can't wait for more content.

  2. Great to see you posting again. Long time reader of your blog. Can't wait for more content.