Casatiello: No Need to Make a Sandwich

Slice of Casatiello: Italian brioche with Salami and Cheese

This savory Italian bread already has all of my favorite sandwich ingredients inside of it!

For week five of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, I baked Casatiello. Peter Reinhart describes it as a rich, dreamy Italian elaboration of brioche.  His description is beautiful and poetic, but the Casatiello is even more so.  Rich, but light and fluffy, studded with chunks of salami and filled with oozing pockets of cheese, this bread stole my heart.

Casatiello Bread inside a Springform Pan

Not only was this one of the most delicious breads I’ve ever tasted, but I was able to start and finish it on the same day!  It doesn’t bother me that the other BBA breads took a couple of days to make, I’m always willing to wait for good bread.  But it was certainly nice to know that this time around my bread making efforts would be rewarded at the end of an afternoon rather than a day or two later.

And what a reward it was!

Casatiello Bread inside a Springform Pan

The process of making this bread was very similar to the Brioche that I wrote about last week.  But this one doesn’t contain nearly as much butter and I found that the dough was much easier to work with.  I took a ton of photos as I was putting this bread together, but due to some crazy technical difficulties this morning, I’m not going to be able to share them with you today.  It’s just been one of those days.

Once I am able to recover all of my step-by-step photos, I will add them to this post along with a more in-depth description of how I made this bread.  But in the meantime, check out these other BBA Members who have made Casatiello:

The Next Bread

This week we will be making Challah, the braided Sabbath bread of Judaism.  I’m excited about making Challah because it will be my first time braiding a bread dough!  The ingredients for this one are simple, and the bread can be made in one day.  The bread instructions begin on page 133 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Instructions (including photos) for braiding the dough begin on page 84.  Good luck and happy baking!

Want to Bake Along With Us?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun!  First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Read the first section of the book carefully, as this will prepare you for the bread recipes in the second section of the book.  Then just jump in and bake some Anadama Bread! But first, please visit The BBA Challenge Page for more details on how to participate in the group!

If you haven’t already, you might want to bookmark the BBA Challenge Page.  From there you can see which breads are coming up soon, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit and/or add yourself to our World Map, see the BBA Challenge Blogroll, and check out the continually updated slideshow of BBA Bread photos from our ever-expanding group of bakers!

For those of you who are participating in The BBA Challenge, here are some questions:  How did you like the Casatiello?  Do you think it deserved a week of it’s own, even though it’s basically a variation of the brioche we made last week?  Which meat, cheese or other ingredients did you add to the dough?  What type of pan did you bake it in?  Did you learn anything new while using this formula?

And remember, if you wrote a blog post about Casatiello, or have photos available online, please leave a comment and share your link!

  1. Susie

    I also loved this bread. Yours is awesome.
    Fun baking along with you.

    2:20 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  2. Allen

    Love your cheesy caverns!

    I’m so stupid – I didn’t even think about using my springform pan! If you decide to try panettone papers, I know that Sur La Table carried them (if there’s one near you).

    I think I’ve got one more bread baking week in me … hollah’ for challah!

    2:20 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  3. Nancy/n.o.e

    Beautiful bread, Nicole! I love that you list links to BBAChallenge participants each week, especially this time – I’m getting inspired by their cheesy variations. Hmm, an advantage to baking after the pack…

    2:24 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  4. Rebeca

    Yes, the springform pan is a great idea! I loved this bread as well. Made grilled cheese with it today and it was great. Mmmmm…

    3:18 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  5. Dianne

    Beautiful and poetic indeed! I made two loaves, one with Genoa salami and provolone and one with Moroccan olives and provolone. I loved working with the dough — so smooth and forgiving and, just, easy. I baked my loaves in paper panettone molds. This is definitely a bread I’ll make again and again! Looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos, Nicole, if the technical difficulties ever release you from their evil clutches!

    4:15 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  6. Paula - bell'alimento

    Nicole your bread is awesome! & that picture makes me drool! I really liked this bread. My post is here I used pancetta & mozzarella! Delish. I baked mine in cake pans but I think next time I’ll bake it in a tube pan & just do one giant loaf! Looking forward to Challah this week!

    4:49 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  7. chris

    Your bread looks so amazing in a spring form pan. I never even thought about it. Looks fantastic as always, can’t wait to see the rest!

    I loved the dough and found it way easier to work with than the rich-man’s brioche I made last week. I found it to be more of a speciality bread, and it didn’t disappear as fast as other breads (not as versatile I guess I’m trying to say). My bread –

    5:27 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  8. Devany

    Your bread is lovely, as usual. Nice lighting on the pictures too. Glad to hear you got past your technical difficulties!

    Here is my post:

    Hilo, HI

    6:42 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  9. Lisa (Homesick Texan)

    I need to get this book as I’m constantly impressed with your efforts–such gorgeous loaves!

    7:49 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  10. sara

    Wow, totally gorgeous photos! The first one is especially beautiful with the light shining through the bread like that!

    Here’s my post:

    10:02 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  11. amanda

    hot damn, this was awesome! i know you said you want to sub the sausage for olives but it was sooooooooooooo good as is. in the afterlife this bread has negative calories and i will skinny from gorging on it. 😉

    10:25 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  12. Amy

    That looks amazing! I just made anadama bread today, it has a great texture doesn’t it?

    11:15 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  13. Katie

    Looks great. I love your discussion questions at the end. At first, I was kind of thinking it didn’t deserve an extra week, but now I’m really glad I made it. I made a vegan version. I was quite skeptical about all the substitutions that I’d have to make, but it was actually really good. My post is here:

    3:34 am  Jun 16th, 2009
  14. Valérie

    Very nice! When I first saw it, I thought it was a sweet bread (like panetonne), but now that I know it’s savoury, I’m even more intrigued! A light-ish brioche sounds ideal! Great job!

    7:00 am  Jun 16th, 2009
  15. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    It does look delicious. I’m wondering if it might make a good sandwich to just put some veggies in between two slices w/ some sundried tomato spread! Well done, my dear!

    7:34 am  Jun 16th, 2009
  16. Patricia

    This has been a wonderful challenge, even if I did learn about it a bit late!

    I enjoyed this bread, and I do think it deserved its own week. Forced me to learn how to incorporate bits into dough. However my dough was very stiff right from the get-go. I kind of wish the book had more pictures of the various doughs in progress, rather like your blog! I am looking forward to seeing your pics. But looking at the links to other blogs I’d say my dough was dry. As a result, when I kneaded the cheese in, it actually got fully incorporated – no little pockets of cheese just cheese in every bite! My husband loves it.

    8:37 am  Jun 16th, 2009
  17. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    I called it: A sandwich in a slice. Breakfast in a slice. Lunch in a slice. Pizza in a slice.
    We both totally are in love with this one.
    I love your round (I did loaves) and your gorgeous crumb!
    Here’s my post

    10:09 am  Jun 16th, 2009
  18. pam

    Oh my gosh! That looks so good. I could take a big chunk of that right about now.

    12:09 pm  Jun 16th, 2009
  19. Maury

    I guess I made the Trader Joes version: Chianti salami, goat mozzerella and 4 cheese blend all from Trader Joes. I thought the bread itself was closer to challah dough than brioche. I upped the amounts of “stuff” to a cup of salami (7 oz.) and 1/2 cup of each cheese. It was awesome. I really couldn’t have added more salami. Bits kept falling out as I was forming the first ball of dough. Once it rose some, the bread could hold on to all of the salami. I baked it in a 9 inch cake pan with a tall parchment collar, which worked really well. It baked for 45 minutes, but I could have left it another 5 or so. It was *just* baked through.

    I baked it in time for dinner on Thursday (it was dinner with leek/potato soup and salad) and it was completely gone by after lunch on Friday.

    12:12 pm  Jun 16th, 2009
  20. wendy

    Your casatiello looks wonderful. I can’t wait to get to it (hopefully this week!)

    1:47 pm  Jun 16th, 2009
  21. kellypea

    I honestly think this is my favorite so far. I love bread recipes that I can play around with and this one has such possibilities! Playing around may need to wait until I make some progress, however. My rich brioche has just been lightly brushed with egg and is waiting to be popped into the oven. Guess what I’m having for dinner tonight? Hahahahaha! Your photos, as always, are completely amazing.

    6:53 pm  Jun 16th, 2009
  22. Dragon

    This bread looks fantastic! Can’t wait to finish mine.

    8:19 pm  Jun 16th, 2009
  23. Arundathi

    It looks beautiful, Nicole. I’m having so much fun baking with you, but have a lot of catching up to do!!

    2:09 am  Jun 17th, 2009
  24. Kate

    Liked this bread more than I expected to. I did mine with bacon and cheese. I think the amounts of meat and cheese could be increased, but really quite a good bread. Looking forward to the challah.

    8:06 am  Jun 17th, 2009
  25. mags

    Your casatiello is beautiful Nicole. And such lovely photos.

    3:30 pm  Jun 17th, 2009
  26. Deb

    Your photos are great once again Nicole. It is strange how we all prefer different breads in this challenge. Although Casatiello was good, I prefer the brioche bread. Oh well, that’s what makes us all unique! My Casatiello experience.

    9:45 pm  Jun 17th, 2009
  27. Oggi

    Beautiful photo of the cheese pockets…makes me want to bake a third batch.:-)

    12:09 pm  Jun 18th, 2009
  28. Caitlin

    Gorgeous! I’m falling behind, but definitely can’t miss this one. I just bought the ingredients 🙂

    6:00 pm  Jun 22nd, 2009
  29. Joey D

    Lovely Nicole! I did want to point out one thing that kinda irked me about the recipe… it’s not a Casatiello, it’s a Tortano. Not sure why Peter used the name, but this started a HUGE discussion with my 88-year old Napolitan father (you know us Italians). Casatiello is a type of Tortano, made for Easter, with eggs braided into the loaf. Peter’s recipe doesn’t have any lard in it (Casatiello is also known as “Neapolitan Lard Bread”), doesn’t have any eggs braided into the loaf… and wasn’t presented in a “corona” braid — it’s classic form. Ah well, it’s been said that Italians will look for anything to argue about. As for the recipe itself… I used a larger dice, wine soaked/pepper salami, and cubed provalone… came out “a real-ah a nice-uh”. Not quite as pretty as yours. But… oh it was yummy. LOL.

    4:29 pm  Jun 29th, 2009
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  32. Danielle

    It took me a while, but finally! My post is up! You were right about this bread, it is SO GOOD!

    6:38 pm  Aug 3rd, 2009
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  34. AP269

    Those cheese pockets look great! Will use cheese cubes instead of shredded cheese next time, too. Here’s my post:

    2:20 pm  Sep 1st, 2009
  35. ATigerInTheKitchen

    Your bread looked gorgeous as usual! I love the round tin you used. I may try that next time. My loaf looked so boring but the bread was incredibly delicious! Will use cubed cheese for cheesy pockets next time, too….

    9:35 am  Sep 2nd, 2009
  36. Chris

    Wow — nice picture of yours. My casatiello came out pretty good, but the shot doesn’t look as good as yours!

    2:56 pm  Dec 19th, 2010
  37. Shawn

    Hi, I’ve been baking the sourdough bread from BBA and was going to try casatiello next in a spring form pan. What size did you end up using 8 or 10 inch?

    3:11 pm  Feb 19th, 2011
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