If you've ever wanted to learn how to bake bread but thought you couldn't master it, you need to check out The Bread Baker's Apprentice. This wonderful book has a wide variety of breads organized from A-Z. We started with anadama and now we're on casatiello.
Casatiello is an Italian bread with added richness. Traditionally made with salami and cheese, I opted for just cheese (I used Emmenthal). I was delighted that this recipe is a one day prep, unlike many of the breads in the book. With M. newly home from a quick trip to China, I knew that homemade bread would make the turkey sandwich I planned for lunch extra delicious.
It feels weird, but the preparation of this bread was unexciting--no measuring snafus, explosive rising or confusion on my part. After adding the flour and eggs to the sponge, the mixture is beaten for a minute before resting and then adding the softened butter. While this dough isn't enriched as much as the brioche, it definitely has its share of fat. Since I wasn't using the salami, I increased the cheese to 1 1/4 cups of coarsely shredded Emmental. It rose rapidly, and I split it between an 8x4 loaf pan and an 8" round cake pan. It smelled wonderful in the oven, and it was done after a total of 35 minutes in the oven.
My 8" round cake pan isn't nonstick, and since the cheese migrates to the surface, I did have some sticking with that one. Next time, if I use this pan, I'll oil the pan instead of using cooking spray.
Once again we didn't wait the full hour before cutting into this one. I mean, warm cheese bread, who can resist?
I will defintely make this one again, and I'd like to try an olive oil version. I'll also cut some of the cheese in julienne instead of shredding it. The shredded cheese disappeared into the bread, and I'd like to have some small cheesy pockets.