Saturday, June 13, 2009

BBA Challenge #5: Casatiello

This week's Bread Baker's Apprentice recipe was an Italian version of Brioche, Casatiello. (You can click here for the recipe as it appears in the book.) It is typically baked around Easter in Italy, and while the recipe in our book called for butter, the authentic way to make it is with lard! This was the fifth recipe in the challenge, and probably the most straightforward; from start to delicious finish in about 5 hours. It was a simple dough enriched with eggs and butter and studded with bit of meat and cheese. The recipe called for salami, but I had bacon on hand, so I fried some up and chopped it coarsely. I substituted a third of the butter with some of the leftover bacon grease. (I know, I know...) That was probably partly what made this bread so good. For cheese, I chose swiss, and grated it. If, no, when I make this bread again I'll cut the cheese into little cubes instead of grating it, as I think the melty pockets left by the cheese would be nice. We thought this one was delicious, and am so glad for this challenge, as I likely wouldn't have tried this one on my own.
Do you like the "staging" of the photo? I asked Erik if he could photograph the casatiello before I put it away, so he rushed over with the camera. I was going to move it, or clear the counter at least, but he said to leave it as it would add to the character of the picture. So there you have my kitchen in a very natural state. The wooden surface is the top of a table my Dad made me; it's decorative iron on the bottom, with a shelf for my small appliances and room underneath for food-grade buckets of bulk items. The table sits a few inches lower than my countertops which is easier on the back for rolling tortillas! The vintage rolling pin is something that belonged to Erik's grandmother, BeBe. When we were newly married we were invited to go through some things they had in storage. This was one of a few items we ended up with, and I love it. In the far left of the picture you can just see the crust of Poppy's gluten free "everyday" bread that I use for sandwiches, toast, etc. And at the top is the base of my Vita-Mix, a hard working appliance that serves us very well. I'm so thankful that cooking is something I enjoy, as it's something I have to do an awful lot of!
Coming up next week in the challenge: Challah Bread.


  1. My family makes a bread like that. I wonder if the process was the same as they way that they do it. My dad (and his mother, who is now in the nursing home) don't even need a recipe to make it. We always put some type of dry sausage in it, chopped up. It is amazingly delicious!!

    I love challah bread. Good luck with that one.

  2. I am so behind on bread baking!!! Akkk!
    I have only made Anadama. Then it was a hot week and I didn't want to bake.
    Now I have the book, too, so I am furiously reading all the beginning part. It makes the formulas a lot easier.
    When I get home from camping, I will start break baking in earnest.

  3. Like Jenny, I've only made Anadama too! But my sister made Challah recently. This one you made with meat and cheese sounds YUMMY!

  4. Anonymous7:32 PM

    Isn't the Casatiello just awesome! I finished mine yesterday, and we love it! I had pepperoni for it, and I rendered the fat from that to flavor the bread, also. So much flavor! Your picture is very cool.

  5. can i have the recipe?

  6. I have to tell you that you inspired me to try making brioche on Thursday! I'd never made it but it came out delicious. I shared it with some friends over gelato and served lemon curd with my brioche....heavenly. Now you are making me remember that I've been wanting to make challah again....and I really don't have time until after school ends! Or will I just have to make time? We'll find out! ;-)

  7. Great looking loaf. Nice baking along with you.

  8. oh, my... that's good looking bread! I've been on a baking rampage lately and it always inspires me to see others working with dough. Blessings! jane


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