Monday, February 7, 2011

BBA #5: Casatiello

CasatielloI did not have a good baking day yesterday, with problems with bread-of-the-week and cake-of-the-week. Both ended up edible, however, just not pretty. I've got theories as to some of the issues, but part of the problem was just doing too much at once, leading to timing problems. Starting with the bread...

It's week 5 of the BBA Challenge 2011, and the bread is a variation of #4, brioche. Casatiello adds meat and cheese to a brioche dough, making a sandwich-in-a-bread loaf.

The dough gave me no problems except that I added more water than called for--beyond the normal dry winter day humidity correction somewhat, but not too far. For the meat and cheese I used a Trader Joe's "Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami" and a sharp provolone which I cut into cubes instead of shredding for more cheese impact. (Thanks for the suggestion, Chris.) I did sauté the salami, which was good and bad. The little 'crispness' made it harder to slice and eat, but on the other hand I did get rid of a good bit of fat which the bread didn't need. There was plenty already with the buttery brioche and the cheese.

I opted to bake my casatiello in an 8" springform. All went well, the bread got to an internal temperature of 185 within the allotted time for a large loaf, and I took it out. I decided the springform counted as a 'bread pan' and went to remove the bread from it to cool....and collapsed the loaf. CasatielloThe melting cheese had stuck to the sides a little so I loosened those, unlatched the springform, but when I was wiggling to get it loose the loaf tilted a little and collapsed the bottom. The sides looked very pale and perhaps didn't have the strength to hold up the tall, crusty part that had rised above the pan. Which perhaps is a sign that I let the bread over-rise--I was working on something else and let both rises go too far. I tried turning my baked loaf upside down, and even put it back in the oven to brown a little on the bottom (and dripped cheese on the oven floor as I did so), but it only collapsed further as it cooled. If I try this bread again I'll do a two-loaf option, and maybe even bake it in paper bags.

On slicing, the edges look great, with an tight even crumb around the cheese pockets. As you'd expect, the collapsed part is denser and has lines that look like streaks of cheese. I suspect that if I toast it a little, even this part will taste fine. Or maybe it will be a good base for a savory bread pudding...if I can make one that's not so rich it causes indigestion.

CasatielloTaste results: my brother and sister-in-law liked it, as did I. Older niece had a small piece but thought that was enough, and younger niece found it way too cheesy for her. Those pockets of cheese are the opposite of what she will tolerate in a cheese bread--the grated stuff that melts away in the bread is more for her. Don't think the nephew tried the bread, as we were having a family Super Bowl snack dinner and he was more interested in the Buffalo wings, mini pizzas, mini veggie frittatas, etc.


  1. Sorry to hear you had issues with this bread. The top looks great! Golden and shiny. This bread actually reminds me of Rose's "Stud Muffin". Ever tried that recipe? I baked it in a round casserole dish and used cubed cheddar (I think Rose said to use Gruyere). I like the addition of meat in your recipe. Good idea on draining the fat.

  2. I have made the Stud Muffin--crusty browned cheese is quite an attractant for me. <g> I can't remember what cheese I used in it, though it was probably Gruyere.

    For a total cheese/bread overload I also love the Gruyere-Stuffed Crusty Loaves on the King Arthur Flour site. I've made that one with a sharp cheddar.

  3. Nancy,

    Carol Field's version of this has way more cheese than this one! It's really loaded up. Sorry to see that it collapsed - I would not have thought of the springform. As you know, I just went free standing, which works perfectly well.

    Ah well, collapsed it tastes just fine in any event!!