Saturday, December 3, 2011

Casatiello - Italian Savoury Bread

I really enjoy flipping through all my bread books and virtually feasting on the mouth-watering photos in them :p  Each baker has its own method of preparing the dough and their sharings on how to make good bread in books are really wonderful.  I have two of Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread books and I have tried out a few of his bread and I was never disappointed.  I have tried his Ciabatta and a few others which turned out great and today , I want to share with you his Casatiello , ( taken from his " The Bread Baker's Apprentice " ) which is a rich, dreamy Italian elaboration of brioche , loaded with flavor bursts from cheese and bits of meat, preferably salami ( I don't have them  at home and too lazy to run to the supermarket and moreover it is so expensive , so I used bacon bits instead )  This bread is traditionally baked in paper bags or panettone molds, but it can be baked in loaf pan. And you can think of it as a savory panettone , replacing the fruits and nuts with cured meat and cheese ! One word ...YUMMY!

I can only bake bread on weekends...the proofing period takes a bit of time. This is the easiest to make and it turned out great. This is a fast sponge and the entire bread can be made in about 5 hours from start to finish. The dough can also be made a day ahead, and then shaped and baked the following day, like brioche, but you must chill it as soon as it comes off the mixer to avoid overfermenting.

No need for you to guess who ate the most and requested for more...yea the Wild Boar !  He loves anything with bacon and cheese in it :)   I  took quite a hugh portion too :p  The bacon bits and cheddar cheese are great ingredients for this Casatiello.  It is a sandwich by itself.  You do not need to spread butter or jam on it.  It is tasty and flavorful enough to eat alone.  A rich Italian savoury bread that the old and young would welcome as a breakfast item :)

the dough is light and I love the texture of the dough :)
it is like a sponge..soft, light  and springy
and I baked the dough in a 9 " cake pan :)

love the browned crunchy crust...mmm yummy
the moist and flavorful inside 

Casatiello  - taken from  Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice
1 large or 2 small loaves

Days to make : 1
1 hr sponge;
12 mins mixing;
3 hours fermatation, shaping and proofing;
30-60 minutes baking


Sponge :
1/2 cup (2.25 ozs) unbleached bread flour
1 tbsp (.33 oz) instant yeast
1 cup ( 8ozs) whole milk or buttermilk lukewarm - 90º F- 100º F

Dough :
4 ozs dry cured italian salami or other meat * I replaced with bacon bits
3 1/2 cups ( 16 ozs) unbleached bread flour
1 tsp (.25 oz) salt
1 tbsp ( .5 oz) granulated sugar
1 large (3.3 ozs) eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup ( 6 ozs) unsalted butter @ room temperature
3/4 cup ( 6 ozs) coarsely shredded or grated provolone or other cheese * I replaced with cheddar cheese

To make the sponge:

1. Stir together the flour and yeast in a bowl. Whisk in the milk to make a pancakelike batter. Wrap with plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for 1 hour. The sponge will foam and bubble and should collapse when you tap the bowl.

2. While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into small cubes and saute it lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly ( or cook and crumble bacon or saute the fresh sausages or salami substitutes until crisps ,saving the rendered fat ) 

3. To make the dough, in a mixing bowl ( or in the bowl of an electric mixer), stir together, flour, salt and sugar with a spoon. Add the eggs and the sponge and mix together ( or mix with a paddle attachement on low speed) until all the ingredeints form a coarse ball. If there is any loose flour dribble in a small amount of water or milk to gather it into the dough. Stir ( or mix) for about 1 minute, then let the dough rest for 10 minutes to allow the gluten to develop. Divide the butter into 4 pieces. Begin working the butter into the dough, one piece at a time, stirring vigorously with the spoon ( or mixing on medium speed). The dough will be soft but not a batter. Continue mixing with the spoon, or switch to your hands but keep them floured as you knead working the dough the dough into a smooth, tacky mass. It will take about 12 minutes. ( In the electric mixer, scrape down the bowl with a plastic bowl scraper or rubber spatula and then switch to the dough hook after 4 minutes. The dough will change from sticky to tacky and eventually come off the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in more flour until the dough forms a ball and clears the sides of the bowl ).

4. When the dough is smooth, add the meat pieces and knead ( or mix) until they are evenly distributed. Then gently knead ( or mix) in the cheese until it too is evenly distributed. The dough will be soft and stretchy, very tacky but not sticky. If it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour until it firms up. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

5. Ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough increases in size by at least 1 1/2 times.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl and leave as 1 piece for 1 large loaf or divide into 2 pieces for smaller loaves. The loaves may be baked in white or brown sandwich-sized paper bags set in metal cans just large enough to hold them, such as a no.10 can or a coffee can. Or they may be baked in 1 large or 2 small loaf pans. ( you may also use paper or metal panettone molds, available at specialty cookware stores, or an 8-inch cake pan, as shown opposite) If you are baking in bags, generously spray the inside of 1 or 2 small brown or white sandwich or lunch sized paper bags with spray oil. Lightly dust your hands and the dough with flour and shape the dough ( or dough pieces) into a boule . Place a ball of dough in the prepared bag, and roll the top of the bag back to make a collar about 2 inches above the top of the dough. Place the bag in a metal can just larghe enough to hold it. If you are baking in pans, mist one 9 by 5 inch or two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch pans with spray oil.  Lightly dust your hands and the dough with flour and shape the dough into 1 or 2 loaves, and place in the pans. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover the bags or pans with plastic wrap or a towel.

7. Proof for 60 or 90 minutes or until the dough just reaches to the top of the bags or just crests to the top of the pans.

8. Preheat the overn to 350°F, setting the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

9. Place the cans or pans with the dough in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans 180degrees. If you are baking in cans, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F ( do not reduce the oven setting if you baking in regular bread pans ). Bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes for bread pans or abut 40 minutes for cans, or until the center of the loaves registers 185°F to 190°F. The dough will be golden brown on top and on the sides, and the cheese will ooze out into crisp little brown pockets. The bread will rise to just above the top of the bags.

10. When the bread is done, remove it from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. If you are baking bread pans, remove the bread from the pans; if you are baking in bags, remove the bags from the cans and either remove the bread from the bags or cut slits in the bags to allow the stream to escape. Let the bread cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

Enjoy !

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  1. Does it taste more like a yeasted cake?
    Bake in paper bag? Hmm... maybe those brown paper muffin cups might do the trick.

  2. Wendy....something like a yeasted cake but taste better :) panettone molds are better for this :)

  3. Oh man! Bread with bacon!? And cheese!? How come I've never heard of this before!!!

    Buzzed :)

  4. I think I will love this too, because it's filled with bacon and cheese. Me too, only have time to bake bread during the weekends :)

  5. Parsley Sage...:) this bread is bursting with flavors...thanks to Peter Reinhart for introducing this italian savory bread!

    Min...I think you will love it since you are a bread person :) and do try this sponge method.. thumbs up!

  6. is this something in between a cake and a bread? the dough looks a little different from the normal bread dough. a savoury panettone? yeah, why not?

  7. Umm, yes please!! Cheese + bacon = freakin delicious! Sounds absolutely amazing!