BBA #5: Casatiello
I thought brioche was pretty perfect on its own, but that was before I tasted this bread. Peter Reinhart describes Casatiello thusly: “This is a rich, dreamy Italian elaboration of brioche, loaded with flavor bursts in the form of cheese and bits of meat, preferably salami.” Cheese and cured meat, in bread! It’s wonderful. This was the next bread in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, and unlike the previous 4 breads that I’ve made in the challenge, this one could be made all in one day — so, this was my project yesterday while I caught up on some reading in the afternoon.
As with the other breads, this one started with a quick sponge (flour, yeast, and milk). Once the sponge has foamed and bubbled and fermented for a bit, it’s added to the mixing bowl with more flour, salt, sugar, and eggs.
Just as with the brioche, now I added some butter (though not as much as in the brioche.)
After the butter is incorporated, I let the mixer do the work, kneading it with the dough hook for about 8 minutes, until it passed the windowpane test. (I could have kneaded it by hand, but…well…sometimes a girl’s gotta take a load off and let her machines do the work for her.)
Now it was time to add the salami and grated cheese (already smelling good!)
After the salami and cheese were mixed in, I transferred the dough to an oiled bowl to let it rise. I keep forgetting to mention this: one of the best tools I have for bread making is this electric heating pad, which I picked up at CVS for about $10. We keep our place on the cool side, so the heating pad under the bowls where the dough is rising helps create a little microclimate where the yeast can stay warm and do it’s thing (in less than, say, 4 hours!)
Proofing followed the rise, and I decided to make this bread in a cake pan, which was one of the suggestions in the book. Look at that big beautiful proofed dough!
Out of the oven, it smelled heavenly – like cheese and sweet yeasty bread and salty salami. A thick wedge made a perfect afternoon snack.
I think this bread would make a perfect picnic takealong food, too; it’s kind of like a sandwich all wrapped up into a slice of bread. As it was, we brought it to dinner at a friend’s house last night, and I think everyone enjoyed it.
Previous BBA Bread: Brioche
Next up: Challah