The next bread on the list was Casatiello, the Italian cousin of Brioche. The dough is pretty similar to brioche dough, with a little less butter (3/4 cup) and fewer eggs (2). However, it makes up for those smaller amounts with the addition of salami and provolone cheese! Definitely a great follow-up to my rich, buttery brioche.
I had off on Columbus Day, so I took the opportunity (periods of free time are becoming few and far between) to work on the bread. I made the starter at around 10am, which contained milk, flour, and yeast. However, something went terribly wrong during this process, and over an hour later, there was still no fermentation going on. Luckily, I had the whole day to work on it, so I scrapped the starter and made a fresh one, which worked fine. Once it was ready to go, I added more flour, etc. Here’s the dough.
Then, I had to add the butter, which was just as difficult to do as last time.
Then, I added the salami. I fried it while the first starter was supposed to be “starting,” so by the time I added it to the new batch, the pieces were pretty hard. It felt like I was kneading little rocks into the dough! Uncomfortable.
Once the salami was incorporated, I added some shredded sharp provolone cheese.
The book outlined a few different baking methods (cake pans, coffee cans), but I decided to bake it in muffun pans. I figured it would be better to have smaller, individual servings rather than a huge loaf. At this point, Michael and I are up to our ears in bread products, so the thought of devouring another loaf any time soon is a little daunting. The muffins were photographed among prep work for dinner (Thai curry chicken with vegetables).
They baked for about 20-30 minutes, if my memory serves me correctly. Luckily, I smartened up and bought TWO muffin pans to make it a more efficient process. I must confess, though, I did not love the aroma that wafted through the house while this bread was baking. This provolone cheese was quite sharp, and as it baked it smelled kind of like feet to me. But, they still tasted good in the end.
All in all, this bread came out pretty nicely, but I can’t say it was my favorite…mostly because I tend to avoid salted meats in my normal diet. Next on the list is Challah, a Jewish celebration bread. I’ll have to see when I can carve out some time for that one.