Casatiello: Or, Brioche with Bacon. And Cheese.

17 Mar

The reason for my returned equilibrium at the end of the day: casatiello, which is what you call this. It's really just brioche with extra stuff.

We all screw up from time to time. Sometimes we even don’t take our assignments seriously, and it leads to Bad Things. (Which I shouldn’t be making fun of because they are still a mystery.)

This is not a post about Bad Things. Screw that. This is a post about delicious things because, hell, this is a food blog.

This is my intense face. I make it when hacking frozen sausage with a dull meat cleaver and trying not to sever my fingers. Also, never cook in French cuffs, you get meat on your sleeves and it's gross.

By the by, I was accepted to sell at the next Atlanta Underground Market at an Undisclosed Location. I’ll be there from 6pm to 9pm with a variety of cupcakes so good you might just have to buy some and try them yourself.

But that’s why it took me so long to do this. It turns out that baking for five straight hours on a Friday night really relieves you of any desire to cook.

Turns out, brioche/casatiello dough looks really disgusting. It also takes kind of a while to work all the butter in.

So I waited until Wednesday, because I am a senior, and I am lazy. But that’s okay. Everyone ever who isn’t a vegetarian (or, god forbid, vegan, in which case, turn back now, because there is nothing for you here) will love me for this recipe forever.

Sponge, Pine Street Market bacon, assorted Dekalb Farmer's Market cheeses. In other words: three go vegan.

It’s from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, but unlike most of his bread recipes this one does NOT require several days. This one is just a few hours (maybe five? I started around 4ish and was done a bit after 9.) and it is a combination of everything good in the world: bacon (ours was from Pine Street Market), cheese (jarlsberg, yellow cheddar, provolone, and chocolate stout cheddar), butter, and bread. (Plus, with the addition of the chocolate stout cheddar you get the addition of, well, chocolate and stout.) You just can’t lose.

Another benefit: it’s brioche, so you wind up with super mousturized hands after kneading a cup of butter into your dough.

I now, of course, am realizing that I didn’t make this quite right. It seems as though the internet has, generally, smoother bread, with a browner crust. To which I say “whatever internet, my bread was good too.”

Casatiello

Ingredients:

Sponge

½ cup( 2.25 ounces) bread flour
1 tablespoon (15ml) instant yeast
1 cup (236ml) whole milk or buttermilk, lukewarm (I used buttermilk)

Dough
4 ounces Italian salami (or other similar meat)
3 ½ cups (16 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
1 tablespoon (15ml) Sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup coarsely shredded or grated provolone or other cheese (I used mozzarella)

To make the sponge, 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.

While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into small cubes and saute it lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly.

Stir together the flour, salt, and sugar with a spoon. Add the eggs and the sponge until the ingredients form a coarse ball. If there is any loose flour, dribble in a small amount of water or milk to gather it into the dough. Mix for about 1 minute, then let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the butter in 4 pieces and work into dough, one piece at a time while mixing. After mixing about 4 minutes, the dough will change from sticky to tacky and eventually come off the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in more flour to make it do so.

Brioche with bacon. That is all.

When the dough is smooth, add the meat pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed. Then gently mix in the cheese until it too is evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough increases in size by at least 1 1/2 times.

Remove the dough from the bowl and leave as 1 piece for 1 large loaf or divide into 2 pieces for smaller loaves. Bake in 1 large or 2 small loaf pans by misting the pans with spray oil, shaping the dough, and placing it in the pans. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover.

Proof for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough just reaches the top of the pans.

Place pans in a 350′F oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until the center of the loaves registers 185-190′F. The dough will be golden brown on top and on the sides, and the cheese will ooze out into crisp little brown pockets.

When the bread is done, remove the bread from the oven and from the pans and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

3 Responses to “Casatiello: Or, Brioche with Bacon. And Cheese.”

  1. Cheryl March 18, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    Looks splendid, but I couldn’t resist ordering the Bread Baker’s Apprentice…Sacramental Magic and Slow Rise as Method and Metaphor have been favorites for quite some time.
    Looking at the picture of your finished loaf, I wonder if you let it rise too long when it proofed in the pans…That can cause it to collapse a bit in the oven (clues = flattish top and the texture looks coarse). But I bet it tasted terrific.

    • Flour Child March 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

      Cheryl: I definitely did let it proof too long. We were eating dinner so it was closer to two hours than an hour and a half. But it still tasted good, and my standards aren’t too high.
      Also, bacon!

  2. Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies March 23, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    That looks like one great tasting bread. After all, it has bacon in it and, as everyone says, bacon makes everything better. Great job making it.

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