I decided to try Giulia's recipe for "Crescia di Pasqua", a savory Italian Easter bread from Le Marche. You will find the recipe and the traditions behind it on Giulia's Valle Nuova blog here.
I was faced with three challenges with this recipe. The first was converting the amounts for all of the ingredients from grams to ounces or cups. That was simple enough with all of the conversion tables on the internet...until I got to the yeast. It told me 14 teaspoons!
That is just one teaspoon short of 5 TABLESPOONS! I am not an expert bread baker, but that sounded like a LOT of yeast to me.
The second challenge was to render fat. My grocery stores had rendered chicken or duck fat, but since this recipe came from Italy, I was 99% sure I needed pork fat. I called my butcher. He said, "Come on in, I am butchering fresh pork this morning! I'll give you some." 30 minutes later, I had a pound of free pork fat. I followed Alton Brown's easy method for rendering fat, and three and a half hours later, I had a jar of pure lard cooling on my counter.
The next day, I made the dough (yes, I used ALL that yeast...), and while it was rising, my third challenge was finding the right pan to bake it in. Then I remembered that I had some panettone baking papers on the top shelf of my pantry. Perfect! Here is the finished product: