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BBA #5: Casatiello

June 15, 2009
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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.

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Just as with the brioche, now I added some butter (though not as much as in the brioche.)

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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!)

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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!)

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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!

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Out of the oven, it smelled heavenly – like cheese and sweet yeasty bread and salty salami. A thick wedge made a perfect afternoon snack.

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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.

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Previous BBA Bread: Brioche

Next up: Challah

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2009 9:41 pm

    Mmmm… all of these bread posts are really making me want to go out and buy that book! This bread would definitely be a winner with my fiancé, too bad it’s too hot around here to turn on the oven!

  2. June 15, 2009 10:27 pm

    Wow – look at that meaty, cheesy, crusty masterpiece! Very nice.

  3. June 15, 2009 10:34 pm

    Good job! I like the heating pad idea, though I find in my climate the yeast proofs entirely too quickly, haha🙂

  4. June 16, 2009 3:05 am

    I want some.🙂
    Great looking loaf.
    Susie

  5. June 16, 2009 2:10 pm

    That looks amazing. Oh man.

    (btw…I made my first batch of ice cream today after buying my ice cream maker on sunday…its going to be an amazing summer.)

  6. June 16, 2009 7:16 pm

    Ok, you finally did it with this post! I ordered the book. Gosh, these all look so good and I just love to bake bread!

  7. June 16, 2009 8:16 pm

    Meg – you wouldn’t be sorry if you bought the book; it’s wonderful!

    Appoggiatura – thank you🙂

    Manggy – aah, to live somewhere where the ambient temperature is perfect for rising dough!😉

    Thanks Susie.

    Whitney – yeah!!! So happy for you about the ice cream maker! I know you’ve been coveting one for awhile now…I foresee a delicious summer ahead for you.🙂

    Deborah – terrific! I think you’ll really enjoy the book!

  8. June 16, 2009 8:40 pm

    This looks beautiful, and who needs pizza when bread can have it all?

  9. June 17, 2009 12:13 am

    I’m going to get myself a heating pad tomorrow! What a brilliant idea! I’ve always had the worst luck with yeasted breads because of life-long residences in cold houses, so maybe bread is something I can actually get good at now!
    Your bread looks amazing!

  10. June 22, 2009 7:33 pm

    Wow, that’s just gorgeous! I’m falling behind, but definitely can’t skip this one.

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