Casatiello is an Italian version of Brioche that has been kicked up a notch. It has sauteed hard dry salami and provolone cheese in the bread. The crust is dotted with browned cheese, it's surprisingly good. We ate it tonight with mushroom bisque and salad. It is some of the best bread I've had for dipping in soup in a while. It can be made, start to finish in one day which is nice. Good luck :)
1 large loaf or 2 small loaves
1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
1 T Instant Yeast
1 C Whole Milk or Buttermilk, lukewarm (90-100)
4 oz Italian Salami, dry cured, sliced at least 1/4" thick
3 1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 T Sugar
2 Large Eggs
3/4 C Unsalted Butter
3/4 C Coarsely Shredded or grated Provolone
1. Make the sponge by whisking together the flour, yeast and milk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for about 1 hour.
2. While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami and saute lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly. Shred or coarse grate the cheese and set aside. (Note: I shredded it with the largest attachment I have and it was too small. There were no pockets of melted cheese as I was hoping for. Next time I would dice it as well into about 1/4" cubes.
3. In the bowl with the sponge, add the flour, salt, sugar, and eggs.Mix until all of the ingredients form a rough ball. If all the flour is not hydrated, add a little bit of warm water or milk. Stir for about 1 minute and then let it rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the gluten to develop. Divide the butter into 4 pieces and add one piece at a time and mix with the dough hook until the butter is fully incorporated before you add another piece. Start the timer for 12 minutes when you start kneading in the butter and continue to knead until the timer runs out. At this point, take it out of the mixer and knead in the meat by hand until it is evenly incorporated. Once the meat is evenly distributed, gently knead in the cheese. (Note: I had to do this in steps because there was a lot of cheese). Lightly oil a bowl and lightly roll the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. and ferment for 90 minutes.
4. You can bake the dough as two loaves (in loaf pans) or in one 10 inch cake pan. Be sure to grease the pan(s) with Crisco. (There are other baking options outlined in the book for this bread, but you'll have to get the book to read about them). Proof the dough in the pans for at least an hour or until the dough reaches the tops of the pans. About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.
5. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and then bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 185-190 and the bread is a rich golden brown. Remove it directly from the oven and pans and let it cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.