Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix. Add the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Gently fold the edges into each other four times, turn once, then pat the dough out into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. With a sharp knife, make two large slashes in the shape of a cross on the top.
Lightly grease a 2 X 10-inch round cake pan with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in it and sprinkle the top with the bacon. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 F and bake until the bread is brown and sounds hollow when thumped with your fingers, about another 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, then remove the bread from the pan and let cool on wire rack before slicing to serve.
Yield: 8 servings