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.