Segale con Pancetta

“The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through.” The first line of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, a book that made me laugh for five hundred pages. The first line of the novel is a sentence fragment, rather than a whole sentence, which properly foreshadows the family dynamics of the Midwest characters. It is precisely this fragment which comes to mind each year when the summer finally ducks under the covers. There is always a day, and I think it was yesterday, when one notices that autumn has arrived. And, you think, the madness! Can I really weather another rough cold winter? The anxiety, the madness, is always met by the smell of woods, of fire smoke on a cold moonlit night, of leaves knowing new color in their last days.

It’s time for hearty food. Warm rye on bright cold mornings.

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Segale con Pancetta

Adapted from The Italian Baker


2 cups sourdough starter

3 ½ cups warm water

3 ¾ cups flour

Stir and let rest for 30 min.


¼ cup EVOO

4 to 4 ½ cups rye flour

1 TB salt

7 oz pancetta, cut into small pieces

segales pancetta

Stir the oil into the sponge. Add rye flour and salt, slowly. Knead this massive dough lump for ten minutes, you may need to sprinkle with additional flour as it becomes tacky and elastic. Add the pancetta toward the end of the kneading (I totally forgot, and put it on top with eggs, haha.) Let rest in an oiled bowl for 1 hour until doubled, covered, of course.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Split the dough into two boules and lightly shape. Place into bannetons for proofing. Cover with a heavy towel and let rise another one hour. Because it is rye it will feel tacky to the end.


Bake at 400 on a hot stone for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. I slashed mine into funky patterns. And then, because I forgot to fold the pancetta into the rye dough, I lovingly placed it on top of each slice, atop scrambled eggs. Divine breakfast. Very hearty.

segale con pancetta

5 thoughts on “Segale con Pancetta

  1. Your beautiful words about what comes after summer have helped me immensely in my mourning process as the season draws to a close, thank you for that gift! I’m going to be clinging to those words for dear life in the middle of January and February 🙂

    1. Oh Susan, do not mourn! Me and the chickens have decided that this year, January and February are going to be balmy– for their sakes!

      1. I am 100% on board with you folks/fowl! The power of positive thinking will be completely and fully in action, making temperatures rise 😉

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