the tastiest and best quality vegetables I'm finding right now look like this.
So I think I'm going to postpone my vegetable celebration until I have some fresh vegetables that are in season and local.
Instead I bring you my fun project for passing the time while snowed in. Well, besides shoveling snow, which burns a ton of calories and I consider to be strength training as well. And I think it's possible that I may be the only dork out there that actually likes shoveling snow. But I digress. My fun project yesterday was Casatiello bread. I know, I said I probably wouldn't post bread until I start really playing with recipes. But I've made this bread twice already and I love it. It's so super delicious. Chunks of salami and pockets of cheese melted in the fairly rich brioche dough. The bread is much richer if you make it the way Peter Reinhart's recipe suggests. I personally felt that I could deal with less fat, so I cut some of it out.
The Brain and I traveled with the first loaf up to Michigan for Christmas Eve. The drive was pretty much freezing rain the entire time, until it changed to snow when we hit Detroit. And let me tell you the Detroit area roads were not good. There weren't any plows or salt trucks or anything. I think they've cut back. Anywho, the Brain and I traveled at 35mph the entire trip and the smells wafting from the warm loaf of Casatiello in the back seat were mighty tempting. Almost torturous. And the bread is so worth the wait. This is the type of bread that I have to cut myself a slice and then freeze the second loaf and put the rest in the fridge and walk out of the room to eat because if I were left alone with a loaf I don't want to know how much I would eat.
I'm totally loving my bread book Christmas present!
*update!* My bread will be included in this week's Yeastspotting over at Wild Yeast! Go check it out!
adapted from the Bread Bakers Apprentice
1/2 cup all purpose flour (bread flour would be better though)
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 cup low fat buttermilk
Stir together the flour and yeast in a bowl. Whisk in the milk to make a pancake like batter. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour. The sponge will bubble and should collapse when you tap the bowl.
4 ounces hard salami
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (again you could use bread flour)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
7 oz. Parmesan cheese cut into chunks
While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into cubes and fry it until it gets a little crispy. Transfer the salami to drain on a paper towel saving the rendered salami fat.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs and the sponge and mix with a paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute. If there is any loose flour, add some additional buttermilk a little bit at a time to gather it into the dough.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the butter into 3 pieces. Add the salami fat to the dough mixing on medium speed until it is incorporated. Do the same thing with the butter, one piece at a time. The dough will be soft. Continue to mix with the paddle attachment for 4 minutes. Then switch to a dough hook and mix for 8 minutes more.
When the dough is smooth, knead in the salami pieces. Once those are evenly distributed, add the cheese chunks. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes or until it increases in size by about 150%.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in 2 pieces. Form each piece into a boule or ball shape and place in lightly oiled 8-inch round cake pans. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover with a towel and let ferment for another 60 to 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and move the rack to the lower third of the oven. Bake the pans of bread for about 40 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through to get an even golden brown crust. Bits of cheese will be oozing out.
When the bread is done, transfer it to a cooling rack and try to wait an hour for it to cool before slicing and eating it.
Mr. Reinhart's instructions are way more specific and I think the recipe as originally written is better than this somewhat lower fat way. I love The Bread Bakers Apprentice and really encourage people new to making bread like me and who want to learn more about how to make really good bread to buy the cookbook!