This marks my second indulgent week of deliciously sinful carbs. I enjoy bread baking, especially the lengthy proofing process, and find it therapeutic. However, the amount of bread I’m turning out (and consuming) is the downside to my so-called therapy. There’s only so much almond filled brioche a person should eat in one sitting.
I can feel the extra calories bunching up in my body, accelerating the growth of my love handles.
I’m enjoying The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge and can only participate for another week or two. Why? Well, in July we will be heading out for a much needed vacation. We’ve booked a cruise through the Scandinavian/Baltic region followed by a few days catching up with friends in London. We will be gone for three weeks and I anticipate limited internet access during our travels. I’m planning to schedule a few posts to publish during my absence, so you shouldn’t even notice that I’m away.
In the meantime, I’m continuing to bake bread until we leave … or until my jeans become too tight, whichever comes first.
This week’s bread is the Casatiello (recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice), a rich and savory bread typically filled with salami and cheese. Since the recipe makes two loaves, I opted to make two flavors. For one, I used a Hungarian salami and provolone cheese, for the other I used a mix of chopped olives and provolone.
The bread contains 6 ounces butter and two eggs, with both provide a delicious richness to the bread. The addition of meat, cheese and olives builds upon the richness by bringing a mix of savory flavors.
After mixing the dough, I divided into two equal portions. I kneaded 2 ounces of sauteed salami and 3 ounces grated provolone into the dough. To the second loaf, I kneaded 2 ounces chopped olives (which I had patted dry) along with 3 ounces grated provolone. I placed each one in separate oiled bowls to proof. The proofing only took 60 minutes (instead of 90 minutes).
I formed each loaf into a round ball and placed inside of the 6″ paper panettone pans. The second proofing also moved along faster than anticipated, another 60 minutes. I baked at 350F (170C) for nearly 45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reached 195F.
The bread didn’t get as dark as I thought it might and I feared I had taken it out of the oven too soon. But, after allowing it to cool, I sliced into it and was amazed at the tender texture. The crumb is light and soft, yet still slightly chewy. Craters of melted provolone and flecks of meat or olives stud the bread. Every bite contains a savory bit or two.
We started snacking on it immediately and had a hard time stopping. It’s that good. I think that I enjoyed it more than the brioche from last week.
The bread can be used for sandwiches or making savory french toast (yes, this appeals to me), but I’ve found that it’s best on its own. It also makes for excellent toast, with just a little butter.
Sadly, the olive loaf disappeared last night and the salami loaf is nearing its end. I don’t know if it will make it through the night.
As for my jeans? Well, we won’t talk about how snug they are becoming.