Sunday, June 7, 2009

Casatiello (Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge)

Casatiello, this week's Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, is a rich, dreamy Italian elaboration of brioche, loaded with flavor bursts in the form of cheese and bits of meat. (Hey, we weren't supposed to copy the recipe on our blogs, but no one said anything about pilfering the descriptive text from the book; so that's what I did. Besides, I couldn't have said it better myself, obviously, or I would have...lol)

I'm glad that I had a few weeks of bread baking under my belt before attempting this. And here's why. I've finally discovered why bread baking can be such a challenge if you've had minimal experience with it. The book's author, Peter Reinhart, uses terms such as sticky, tacky, smooth, pliable and supple to explain what the dough should look and feel like as we're lovingly kneading it to perfection, but it's only after experiencing those characteristics with our own senses that we are able to really "get it." Experience really is the best teacher. (To all three of my kids: This is why I made you drive 5000 miles with me in the car before I turned you loose on your own!)


Experience then, is what helped me realize that my dough was entirely too stiff. This was the first of this challenge's recipes that I didn't have to add extra flour to. In fact, because I was certain that my dough was a little on the stiff side, I ended up adding at least two tablespoons more water. And I really put some time into getting all the butter incorporated into the dough and assuring myself that I had kneaded it enough. I'm guessing it took me about 15 minutes between hand kneading and Kitchen Aid to get the job done. Now for my take on the tasty add-ins. Instead of salami, I opted for pepperoni. My cheese was extra sharp cheddar, and I decided at the last minute to also add in about a quarter cup of sundried tomato bits. That was a good call.

I proofed my loaf in an 8" cake pan with a parchment collar attached to support it as it rose. (Look at me acting all like I know what I'm doing!)



OK, fine. Of course I didn't come up with this method on my own, I'm not quite that brilliant. I got the parchment tip from fellow Bread Baker's Apprentice, BuffaloBaker over at "At The Very Yeast." Thanks, BuffaloBaker. I initially thought I was going to be a big girl and try to braid it like Susie did, but I chickened out. I'm probably going to have to practice braiding on the dog or something before next week's Challah challenge though...lol


Great tasting bread, I must admit. It made a HUGE loaf and I was thankful that the kids were here this weekend to share it with me. I served it with my homemade pasta salad yesterday for lunch (post to follow later this week.)

And we also made grilled sandwiches with it. I think that this was the way I loved it most.

21 comments:

burpandslurp said...

rich brioche, with cheese and meat? Where has this baby been all my life? Have I been living under a hole? I MUST try this now!!

Mags said...

burpandslurp: yes, you must try it. and you must add banana peppers to the panini if you make it. and a little dab of mayo. and serve it on a white plate to someone you love!

Elle said...

That is a very professional looking loaf...isn't it great when some of the terms like sticky or supple start to mean something via experience? Gorgeous bread!

Tammy said...

Gorgeous pictures! It looks delicious! I'm making mine this week. Tammy

Mags said...

Elle... you had me at "professional." I'm getting such a kick out of this!

Mags said...

Tammy.. good luck! Have fun with this.. I did!

HoneyB said...

This looks great! That sandwich is killing me. Wish I had that to pack up to take to work today!

susies1955 said...

You are most definitely a writer AND certainly a bread baker. :)
Your loaf looks awesome. I "SO" enjoy reading your posts.
I've never done the collar thingy but will have to give it a try sometime.
I sometimes add 1/4 cup of extra water if it needs it and sometimes up to 1 cup of flour or more. Tacky but not sticky is a great rule. :)
I'm going to do my Challah challenge tomorrow but not sure how I'll do it. I don't feel like a braid.
Enjoy your week,
Susie in cool northern NY

Moogie said...

Your bread looks picture perfect. I'll bet the kitchen smelled wonderful while it was baking.

Do you have a panini press? My daughter has a special skillet and cast iron press that she bought from Williams-Sonoma. What she paid for those two items would have bought a press.

Mags said...

HoneyB: I know you love panini and grilled sandwiches too. I think it was your last post that inspired me for this one. Thanks!

Susie: I'm glad that you always go first so I can see your results and learn from your tips. And as always, thanks for the nice comments!

Moogie: Yes I have a panini grill. In fact, it's the one from Williams Sonoma. It was my Christmas gift from hubby last year. I absolutely love it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting girlie!

Debbie said...

Oh does that ever look good! So hearty and such a nice looking sandwich!

Cindy said...

Wow that sandwich looks amazing.

stephchows said...

The bread is beautiful! And that sandwich... totally drooling :)

misterrios said...

Oh man! I am totally making sandwiches with this bread. That sandwich shot is making my mouth water, even after a huge dinner!

peteeatemall said...

Looks so good! When I made the apartment smelled so good. I made little rolls for neighbors and friends...toasted some last night and just smelled great...your looks absolutely perfect! Yum!

Mags said...

Cindy, Steph (welcome back, we missed you!) Misterrios, and pete... thanks for the comments. I live for comments, I really do!

Kelly said...

Looks great! Nice job!

oggi said...

Practicing braid with the dog. LOL. It's so much fun reading your posts.

I love the panini idea with banana peppers. Yum.

Mags said...

Kelly...thanks!

oggi.. my doggie may never be the same...lol

niagaragirl said...

Thanks for the link to my blog. BTW the parchment collar works really well for questionable cakes too, like when you think you have just a bit too much batter.

Your Casatiello looks great, better than mine. From reading your post, looks like you are starting to learn about dough feel and handling. That's awesome. Your are basically experiencing "the Zen of Bread". Keep at it, and what you learn while discerning differences will always be with you.

Libby - At The Very Yeast Blog

Mags said...

Libby.. and thank YOU for sharing your tip!