This week our Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge was for the luscious Casatiello. While mine lacked perfection because for some reason it developed a big air bubble in the center, it was certainly one of the best tasting breads we have done this far and after slicing, the bread looked great. I did make a really big loaf, and on reflection, I should have made two smaller loaves.
This Italian version of Brioche, loaded with butter and eggs, though not quite to the extent of the Rich Man's Brioche. Cheeses and meats are added to the dough to make a rich and satisfying bread.
While salami is the suggested meat, I used pepperoni. I also used smoked gouda, caramelized onions and porcini mushrooms. From the minute the bread came out of the oven the aroma permeated the house and tempted us to cut into the loaf before the suggested 1 hour waiting period. I succumbed after 45 minutes. Wes proclaimed it "the best ever", which if you will remember he also did with the bagel dogs. Wes' brother who is here visiting us for two weeks also loved the bread. I thought it was delicious and looked lovely too, studded with the meat and cheeses amongst the buttery bread.
The dough starts with a sponge:
Ready to bake:
When this bread is served warm, the cheese oozes forth and when it is served at room temperature it is almost like eating a sandwich. My decision to include the porcini and onions made the bread even more flavorful, with complex flavors going on in all directions.