Due to the crazy circumstances surrounding my life right now, I was unable to blog about the petite brioche à tête I made for the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. I did tweet while I baked them, so that counts. Right?

The next bread up for me in challenge was the Casatiello, an Italian version of brioche. The original recipe calls for salami or other meats and cheese. I don’t eat meat, so I decided to go with a cheese/dried fruit combination.

I love manchego cheese, especially with pear jam on crackers. Peter Reinhart suggests not to use hard, non-melty cheeses because you will not get the ooey-gooey pockets of cheese goodness. To make sure I got thouse pockets, I mixed my manchego cheese with Monterey jack cheese. Peter also says not to use jack because of the lack of great taste. I was going for the melty properties, so I used 4 ounces manchego and 2 ounces of jack.

In place of the meat, I diced up dried pears (2 ounces) and dried figs (2 ounces).

For the first time ever, I had a helper baking the bread with me. My 4 year-old nephew, Diego.


Diego watching the bread knead.

Diego really enjoyed baking with me and I think he is an excellent helper. Diego was also very impressed with the magic of yeast.

We made six-ounce casatiello which we baked in 4-inch diameter European-style bread paper.

Diego shaping the casatiello.

Diego shaping the casatiello.

The casatiello were a big hit with the family. They were very delicious and enjoyed by all. The pockets of cheese are what make the bread. However, I felt they needed a bit more salt. With the absence of salami or other dried meats I should have upped the salt content.

Another hit from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. If you would like the recipe, please buy the book.