Saturday, January 10, 2009

Casatiello (Salami and Cheese Bread)

I know I said I was going to celebrate my love of vegetables this month, but as I was fighting the mass of people worried about being snowed in and stocking up on groceries at Walmart I came to a realization. The realization happened as I was looking at some limp and obviously imported asparagus and was furthered by the snow that has been falling since yesterday afternoon. To celebrate my love of vegetables would go completely against eating locally, or seasonally. The only reason to celebrate vegetables in January would be to fight against winter weight gain. And although I'm eating vegetables, the vegetables aren't coming from my garden, which looks like this:

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!


glamah16 said...

That looks incedible and great for a cold snowy day.

Cakelaw said...

This bread looks superb - I love bread with bits in. I have never experienced snow, so am in awe of being snowed in and how to prepare for that.

Johanna said...

the bread sounds perfect for that sort of weather! shame about your vegetables - you do seem to get much better selection of frozen vegetables in the USA than in Australia but maybe that is because we are never snowed in so we can't get the fresh stuff!

Kitt said...

Wow, you all fancy! I would like a slice or two of that.

I had rolled salami and cheese into the Artisan Bread in Five dough, and that works pretty well. It's not brioche-y though.

Mrs. White said...

Wow, that looks delicious! Perfect for the crappy weather, too.

Speaking of vegetables, a question: do you know of any good recipes for celery root? I made some last night for the first time - I just roasted it after tossing it in salt and oil - and it was good, but I feel as if it could have been better had I done some something different...


I have read some of your posts and would like to revisit.

If you like reading short stories from an Indian writer, then a visit to my blogs would be an interesting one for you.

Naval Langa


jesse said...

The bread looks awesome! And yep, trying to stay healthy in the winter isn't easy at all, the temptation to tuck into a big bowl of something hot and creamy is just too darned hard to kick, but seems like you're doing a great job so far!

Amanda said...


And you're not the only one. I secretly like shoveling, too. It's a great workout, and who wants to stay inside all the time! May as well go out, clear some of the driveway and absorb a little sunshine.

Rebecca said...

Salami...Parmesan...bread?!? Where do I sign up for a slice? This sounds utterly, incredibly delicious.

Kristen said...

My husband is a dork like you who loves snow shoveling ;)
This looks great... burn off the calories and then come in for a bite of this tasty bread. Yum!

Emily said...

Wait - there's salami in the bread?! What a fabulous idea. I can't get enough of salami or bread.

Have a good day, Mary!

the cheap chick said...

Remember how I said it wasn't snowing. LIES. It has snowed and/or been below freezing for DAYS in the TC. And that bread would probably be the only thing that would make me feel better. Does it ship? HINT?????

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

It's been a long time since I've had to shovel snow and I can't say I miss it at all. But there is something about being inside with fresh-baked things when the weather outside is cold and snowy that I really do miss. This is such a great loaf for a winter day.

PS I replied to your email -- did you get it?

Mary said...

Courtney- It's great for on the run too!

Cake- That blows my mind that Australia doesn't have snow!

Johanna- I'd gladly trade in fresh vegetables for frozen!

Kitt- I'm not sure I like the rolled breads as much as having all the little chunks.

Mrs. White- I have not tried celery root. I've always been curious to give it a try though. Maybe I'll experiment on it.

Naval- Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.

Jesse- Thanks! Really I'd like to tuck into some chocolate cake! :)

Amanda- Oh good! I'm not the only one!

Rebecca- If you have a Kitchen Aid, this is a supremely easy bread to make. You can do it!

Kristin- Yeah I may have had a couple slices after shoveling!

Emily- Yeah the salami is in the bread. Maybe you can tweak it and get on the Food Network again. Maybe you could get Paula Deen to adopt me...

Erin- Maybe if I had your address I'd send you a loaf when I make it again... ;)

Susan- Yes, I got your email. I've updated my post to include the yeastspotting link. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the form!

Deborah said...

I'll gladly let you shovel the snow at my house!!! This sounds delicious. What a great bread for a winter's day!

BumbleVee said...

hey... a fellow dork who likes to shovel. hiya...

I've been adding different ingredients to a very simple Peasant Bread recipe I found... it's lots of fun and quite tasty...

this sounds like I could adapt some more to my recipe...