Spelt bread-crusted ham

Spelt bread-crusted ham

Home Comforts
Yuki Sigura

I had this idea while in the States. They served something similar in a smaller portion – which is unlike them – but I’ve made it with a large piece. The idea is, when its cooked with the bread topping, you just dive in and then the bread is used to mop up the ham juices.


Quantity Ingredient

For the ham and vegetables

Quantity Ingredient
1 raw ham (about 3-4kg), bone in, soaked over-night if necessary, (check with your butcher)
2 onions, cut into thick slices
1 carrot, cut into big chunks
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
600g potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
8 spring onions, trimmed
350g runner beans, trimmed and cut in half
300g fresh peas
small handful sprigs of mint, torn in half
small handful sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, torn in half
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the spelt bread

Quantity Ingredient
1kg spelt flour, plus more to dust
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 x 7g sachets of fast-action yeast
700ml water


  1. Place the ham into a large saucepan, add the onions, carrot, bay leaves and peppercorns then cover with cold water. Bring to the boil rapidly, skim off any scum that rises to the top, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes per 500g; it will take 3–4 hours, depending on size.
  2. To check the ham is cooked, insert a skewer into its centre, then run it against the inside of your wrist: if it’s piping hot, it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and cool totally in the liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, put the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl or a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Put the yeast into a jug with 200ml of the water and mix to combine, then turn on the mixer and slowly add the yeast water, then measure in the rest of the water to the jug and add gradually to the dough, making sure you’ve pulled all the flour into the dough.
  4. Tip out on to a very lightly floured work surface then knead well for five to 10 minutes until elastic. Place into a large bowl, cover and set aside to double in size, about two hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the ham from the stock and discard the vegetables, reserving the stock. Carefully peel off the ham skin and discard.
  6. Place the potatoes, spring onions, beans, peas and mint and parsley sprigs into a large ovenproof casserole big enough to fit the ham in. Pour over 1.25 litres of the reserved ham stock (use the rest for a soup), then place the ham on top. Brush the outside edge of the casserole with the beaten egg.
  7. Lift the dough out of the bowl, tip out on to a lightly floured work surface and stretch it into a shape big enough to fit over the casserole and ham. Carefully lift it over the ham and stretch to the edges of the casserole. Pinch the dough all the way round to secure it to the casserole, except where the ham bone is (leave it loose around here, allowing the steam to escape).
  8. Place in the oven to bake for one hour until golden brown. To check the bread is cooked through, tap it lightly; it should sound hollow. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving directly on to the table. Break the bread crust, lift the ham out and carve, then spoon out the vegetables.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
comfort food
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