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.


36 thoughts on “Casatiello

  1. I’ve been trying to decide what to substitute for the salami when I make this, I like the idea of dried fruit. They look delicious. Little helpers are great – my 2 1/2 year old loves dumping ingredients in after I measure them.

  2. It looks so pretty in the bread wrappers. I made this last winter and I loved it. It wasn’t nearly as pretty though because I baked it in loaf pans. Can’t wait to try it again with the papers.

  3. I’ve seen a couple of these around lately but your dried fruit substitution is probably the most creative. They look really, really good.

    “To make sure I got thouse pockets, I mixed my manchego cheese with Monterey jack cheese.”

    This was extremely wise. I remember one time I tried to make some gougeres with manchego and was foiled miserably due to non-meltiness…

  4. These look amazing! Personally, meat in bread sounds icky, so I love your substitutions. I just bought this book over the weekend so I’ll keep your interpretation of this one in mind when I finally get to making this one.

  5. I love the paper molds! I cannot find those here, but they make the bread that more elegant and seem so much more authentic!
    I love cheesy bread!!!

  6. Great pictures and little helper you have there. Diego is lucky to have an aunt like you, introduce him to the wonderful world of baking. Where did you get the European-style bread paper?


  7. Yeah… right. No wonder your cooking and baking always turns out so darn great… YOU GOT HELP! And cheap labor on top of it! LOL LOL LOL


  8. You have an apprentice – for your Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge!! How cute; both Diego and those adorable little casatiellos. Great subs – so glad they were a hit with all. Once I tweet a recipe I feel like I’ve written it…

  9. Beautiful job! They look so high and light and fluffy. And fun to think of your nephew being fascinated with yeast — it is magic!! He will remember this cooking experience!

  10. I absolutely love those European-style bread papers! Where do you find those? The casatiello looks wonderful and Diego appears to have been a great helper 🙂

  11. Looks really great…I love the idea of using fruit and cheese in these. What a great idea. Love the little mini sizes also. The wrappers make them look really special and festive. Nice job. I will attest to your twittering about brioche…LOL! I was there!

  12. Wendy, those look amazing! I love the manchego and jack combination, what a great idea. This bread sounds like something I would want to make again and again. Your dried fruit sub for salami sounds wonderful.

    Little Diego looks like the perfect helper 🙂

  13. I saw your petites brioches, too, so yes it counts! Your casatiello looks so good! I think I’d enjoy it even more with dried fruit than with dried-up salami 🙂 … and it looks so elegant in the little papers. And speaking of little, your apprentice is so cute!

  14. Those look wonderful. And I love your helper. =) I did some of my casatiello in those sort of papers, too. I used smaller ones, though, with 3 ounces of dough each. Oh, and I really like the fruit and cheese idea.

  15. Oh, what a great idea! I made the version with salami and ended up throwing it away – we just didn’t like salami in our bread. I may try it again using your ingredients, because the bread itself was wonderful, but we were too weirded-out by the meat in it. Sounds like a perfect way to deal with the cheeses, as well.

  16. 1. Do you know what would work in place of manchego cheese (I don’t know where to get that). Can I use all jack cheese, or is it similar to cream cheese…or what?

    2. Can you say how long you baked 6 oz loaves in 4 in diameter pans and how many of that size does this recipe make? (I can experiment, but would be easier with such instructions).

    Thanks in advance. I love the idea of substituting dried fruit for salami and also wanted to make a non-meat version of this. Great idea!

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