BBA Challenge #5: Casatiello

I am still very behind in my BBA Challenge postings.  Once again this may be photo heavy and text-lite as  I attempt to clear the backlog!
I was notvery excited about making this bread.  I thought a sausage and cheese bread was going to be an overly salty loaf with barely chewable little pieces of dried up meat inside.  I can’t speak to the last point, because I went ahead and made it without the meat (because I noticed this bread only takes about 5-6 hours to make and I had everything else on hand, and not being very interested in this bread, “wanted to get it overwith!”)
First I noticed just how much yeast this dough requires.  I’m not sure the exact reason, but the one-hour pre-ferment looked almost frothy when it was time to proceed to the next step.  If I left it long enough, would I have wheat beer?
Very fermented pre-ferment

Very fermented pre-ferment

Here’s halfway through the mixing process.  Having just made brioche the day before, I cut the butter in half–when Peter Reinhart said you could do so, I latched on to that.  I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the dough, though he warns it may be necessary if you make such a modification.

Casatiello midway through mixing

 And the dough set to rise.  Because I had deli-sliced provolone, I actually used my kitchen shears to snip them up into small pieces.  It worked well enough, though I didn’t get the pieces nearly as fine as if I had grated.  They were also stuck a bit together and I had to separate them so all in all it may have been less effot to have just shredded the cheese.

Dough with cheese set to rise

With all that yeast and the warm weather, it won’t surprise you to learn that the dough rose pretty fast.

Risen casatiello dough

 Since Peter Reinhart calls this a “dreamy elaboration of a brioche” I used my larger brioche tins!

Set to rise:

Molded for second rise

 Risen and ready for the oven:

Risen in molds

 Finished Casatiello

Baked casatiello

 I was reallysurprised by how much I liked this bread.  (This seems to be a general feeling–other BBA participants initally seemed unenthused about making this bread, yet it seems to be emerging as a group favorite).  Now, perhaps my opinion would have been different if I had made the more carnivorous option, but probably not.  It was deliciously savory, and the cheese melted in little pockets inside the loaf and browned into crisps on the outside.  It reminded me of a bread at one of the “fancy restaurants” in Oklahoma City that baked a log of parmesan cheese into a peppercorn loaf that we just LOVED.  (I say “fancy” in quotation marks because it was, after all, in a mall.  Mall or not, the bread was great!).  I had to take the second loaf to work to stop eating it myself.  Sorry guys.

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4 thoughts on “BBA Challenge #5: Casatiello

  1. Beautiful Casatiello Brioches!

    You must try this sometime with the meat in it. Being a vegetarian, I used some faux spanish-style chorizo with smoked Scamorza, and it was heavenly. I had to give most of it away to keep myself from eating it all.

  2. I’ve made ten breads now and Casatiello is still my favorite (although the cinnamon raisin walnut bread came close)! I used small chunks of extra sharp cheddar and dry salami and it was absolutely amazing! I even bought more salami and cheese recently so I can make this again soon. Glad you like it, too! 🙂

  3. I LOVED Pepperoni Grill. That eggplant sandwich would kill me every time but I always ate the whole thing! There was something special about the baked in Parmesan and balsamic vinegar. Nothing quite like it. Penn Square mall. Ah, the memories.

  4. Pingback: BBA Challenge #43: Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche | Three Clever Sisters

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