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Casatiello (Brioche with Salami and Cheese)

October 18, 2014

This has got to be one of the richest, tastiest loaves of bread I’ve ever made. You can toast it, or pack it for a picnic instead of sandwiches (the meat and cheese are already built into the bread!).  On the one hand, I’d like to make this again tomorrow, but on the other hand, I know I shouldn’t. I think I need a rich bread rotation…casatiello one year, pulla the next, etc.

Anyway, this is delicious and very much worth making.  There are quite a few options for ingredients. I used hard salami, gruyere cheese, and buttermilk, but you can use other meats and cheeses and regular milk too. You can also cut the butter by half if you want, and just add a little extra milk if needed (I did not try that).

casatiello

Sponge:

1/2 cup bread flour

1 Tbsp instant yeast

1 cup whole milk or buttermilk, lukewarm (90 – 100 degrees F)

Dough:

4 oz. dry-cured salami, or other flavorful meat (pepperoni, crumbled bacon, pancetta, crisped chorizo, Italian sausage, or even smoked tofu cut into bits), diced in small cubes

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (6 oz.) coarsely grated or shredded gruyere, cheddar, provolone, or gouda (or other similar cheese – avoid mozzarella or jack, or parmesan or other hard cheeses, unless using a combination of hard and soft cheeses)

First, make the sponge by stirring together the flour and yeast, then whisking in the milk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. It should be foamy.

Saute the cubes of salami or other meat until slightly crispy, and set aside to cool.

To make the dough, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and sponge and mix until all the ingredients form a coarse ball. Mix for about 1 min. (by hand or using a paddle attachment in an electric mixer on low speed), adding a little water or milk if there is loose flour.  Let the dough rest for 10 min.

Divide the butter into 4 pieces. Work the butter into the dough one piece at a time, stirring vigorously or mixing on medium speed.

Keep mixing the dough until it forms a smooth, tacky dough, about 12 minutes. If using a mixer, scrape down the bowl and switch to a dough hook after 4 min. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl. Add a little more flour if needed. (If mixing by hand, keep your hands floured as you knead the dough.)

Once the dough is smooth, add the meat and mix or knead it in, then gently mix in the cheese. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If you want to bake it the next day, put it in the fridge immediately. If you want to bake it the same day, let the dough rise at room temperature for 90 min, or until it has more than doubled in size.

Oil an 8-inch round cake pan, or 1 large loaf pan, or 2 smaller loaf pans. Lightly flour your hands and the dough and shape the loaf (or loaves) and place in the prepared pan(s). Mist the top of the dough with oil and cover. Let sit for 60-90 min. The dough should just be at the top of the pan.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 20 min, rotate the pans and bake for another 20-30 min, or until the center of the bread reaches 185 – 190 degrees F. Remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.

When the bread has cooled completely, you can wrap some slices and put them in the freezer to save for later.  It just might make your day to find them a few weeks after you thought the bread was all gone.

toasted casatiello

(Recipe adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)

 

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From → Breads

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