Seasonal squash, pancetta and sage loaf with parmesan

I love baking this bread when I am off and I normally upscale the recipe to yield an approximate 2+ kg.
You can create your own flavour variations by adding nuts, seeds, dry fruits or cheese to the dough, up to 20% of the doughs weight.

In this recipe I use seasonal squash , sage and Parmesan.

This loaf is a perfect serving in any meal period and it is fantastic with baked Camembert. I topped mine with gently cooked shalllots and smoked bacon,honey and walnuts, then slowly baked until the cheeses is fully melted in the centre and then tucked in with this delicious loaf.

It can also make great party snack -by cutting the day old loaf into soldiers and cooking it in hot foaming butter until golden all the sides. Once it’s cooked spread on a little philly cheese and grate Parmesan over, sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds. For a more luxurious version fry in bone barrow butter and top with caramelised shallots with thyme and grate over fresh Parmesan and truffle.  This is an amazing way to serve up a stunning snack to your guests.

Recipe for one large loaf

Poolish dough 
(Mix this 4-6 hours prior to baking)
125 gr rye flour
125 gr strong bread flour
250 gr luke warm water
6 gr fresh yeast or 1 gr instant yeast

Mix all ingredients together and cover with a cloth. Let it rest on room temperature for up to 6 hours. Once it’s ready it should smell fruity and sweet with the aromas of rye.

750 gr strong flour
375 gr luke warm water
3.5 gr fresh yeast or instant yeast
15 gr salt

At first fold
280 gr roasted diced seasonal squash
2-3 sprigs of sage, shredded or chopped
80 gr freshly grated Parmesan 

To make the dough, mix 300 gr luke warm water with the 750 gr flour until just incorporated. Let it stand for 30 minutes to allow the gluten development. This process is called autolysation.
Once the 30 minutes is up, mix  together the yeast and the remaining water, add to the flour mix. Add all the poolish dough and mix together, then add all the salt and knead the dough until smooth. If you doing this by hand it can take up to 15 minutes.
Once the dough is mixed, place it in a a lightly oiled bowl and rest for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, add the squash, sage and parmesan to the dough and fold. Rest for further 45 minutes.

At this stage you have two options. You ether bake the loaf in the next coming hour or to retard the dough for up to 4-6 hours in your refrigerator.

If you decide to bake the bread just now, then carefully place the dough on a slightly floured bench and rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the bread proofing basket if using and preheat the oven and baking stone or Dutch oven on maximum temperature for 40 minutes.

Shape the dough into a round ball and place into the basket if using, or onto a floured baking paper. Prove for 40 minutes. When you are ready to bake, carefully place the dough on the baking stone/ Dutch oven and slash the surface of the dough. By slashing the dough you can control the way the dough should rise during baking as well as you can create that artisan look and feel.

If using baking stone - bake the bread in 200C for 30 minutes, and then a further 15 minutes on 170C with the oven door slightly open. 

If using Dutch oven or baking cloche, bake on 220C for 45 minutes and then a further 5-10 minutes with out the lid.

Remove from the oven and place on a baking rack to allow air circulation. Once the bread is completely cool, slice and enjoy.


I use Doves Farm rye flour and ether Carrs strong bread flour or Allinson strong bread flour.

The dough and your baking result is also hugely depends on the water you use and your room temperature.   

Happy baking,


Zoltan Szabo