Friday, March 19, 2010

CASATIELLO - Bread Baker's Apprentice #4

OK,  the challenge continues. I will be trying new island recipes, and new ingredients when possible, but also I plan to continue my progression as a learning cook. I promised myself on New Year's Eve that I would be trying to learn more as a bread baker, and if possible to cook through the"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread" book. I brought three cookbooks with me to my island adventure. The "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book was one. It is now week four of my island adventure, and here is week four of my bread baking experience.

This bread is loaded with a rich dry salami sausage, as well as stuffed with LOTS of Swiss Cheese!  Came out just a little salty, due to the salt cure on the salami.  Each slice of the bread tastes like a sandwich  by itself!
I have had some challenges with my bread lately.  I made some Moomie Buns and a pizza crust that just was not right.  With a bit of help from my friends, I decided that it was the batch of flour I was using.  It is very humod here in paradise, and I am afraid the flour got too dense.  I was using flour that came with the apartment.  It was a full bag, unopened.  I am cheap, and just did not want to replace it.  I am guessing that it has been here awhile. The flour is still usable, but I have sifted the flour first prior to measuring.  Made a big difference from just scooping from the bag.  In the future, no big box store for me for the flour.  Buy a  bag and use it the same or next day.  Dough freezes.  It will work better.  I have made moomie buns three times since arriving, so I always have an easy recipe to use up my fresh flour.

But I am digressing... Back to this wonderful bread ---

This is a rarity in the book.  A bread that does not have an overnight step in the baking.  You can finish this bread in only about 6 hours.

First, make a sponge -
  • 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
  • 1 TBS instant yeast
  • 1 cup Buttermilk Lukewarm, 90 degrees, no more than 100)
Stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the buttermilk slowly and whisk to a pancake like batter.  Cover the bowl and allow to ferment at room temps for 1 hour.  The goop will foam and bubble at the end of the hour.  shows the yeast is working.

While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into small cubes and gently sauté to crisp up the edges.

To Make the dough...
  • 4 ounces dry cured salami
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup coarsely shredded Swiss Cheese
In a big bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar together.  Add the eggs and the sponge from teh first step and mix until all the ingredients formed a coarse ball.  dribble in small amounts of milk to gather the stray bits of dough.

Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes to allow glutens to develop.

Start to add the butter a TBS at a time.  I kneaded the bread (remember, no kitchenaid) as I added butter.  It took a good 20 minutes to get a uniform feel of smooth and a bit tacky.  

When the dough gets smooth, I began to work in the meat and cheese.  I continued to knead till the meat/cheese was distributed evenly throughout the dough.

Cover the bowl and allow to ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough increases in size about 1 1/2 times.

At this stage, I divided the dough in half, and froze one of the portion to make later this week.  

You can bake the bread in a variety of vessels, even paper bags and tin cans.  I chose a small dome shaped pan.

I oiled the bread and placed int he bottom of the pan.  I again allowed a short rise of 60 -90 minutes so that the bread rose into the shape of the bowl.

Bake in a 350degree oven for about 40 to 50 minutes.  I used my remote thermometer prob to measure the cooking temps.  Internal temp of the bread reached a perfect 185 degrees and i pulled it from the oven.

Remove from teh bowl quickly and allow to cool...

I LOVED the bread.  It is very hearty and dense (remember, no overnight fermenting).  I put a bit of orange marmalade on a slice and it made a very filling complete breakfast.

Now, the bad news, with the price of the salami and cheese, this is easily the most expensive of the breads i have made so far.  If I find a great buy on the ingredients I would consider making this again.  But without a terrific sale, it is just not very practical.  This is a specialty bread.  Like i said, terrific with jelly, but does not make good sandwiches.  Just not practical for a couple only.  Possibly serve for a large dinner party, but not likely to make this again soon.

But, I did it.  And together with Mary of ONE PERFECT BITE and suggestions from you all, I think I was able to figure what my flour problem was.  I am only about 10% into the book, but i already feel myself growing as a cook.  More than just a collection of recipes, it is indeed a primer on learning to be a baker.  I am so loving this book, and incredible collection and certainly belongs on every cook's shelf.

The book is LARGE, lots of photos, and information.  Filled with dozens of recipes and easy to follow step by step directions.  And now Amazon is selling this for nearly half price (less than half if you want a used copy.  Folow the link  above and order TODAY!


  1. Thanks for sharing, will check out the book later.

  2. I love the fact that each slice is like a sandwich in itself... I have to live vicariously through your website since I have given up gluten for a while.. That's ok ... your photos are fantastic!

    Glad you were able to solve your flour problems...

  3. I like your bread baking tenacity - this looks mighty good - it took me a while to get the hang of bread at sea level versus bread at 5000 feet, which I was used to.

  4. the only thing better than homemade bread is homemade bread filled with meat and cheese! great job! adn the empanadas below...droooooool.

  5. A sandwich onto itself! I want some...

  6. I'm going to have to jump on this bread baking bandwagon when things let settled here. I bet working with dough gets awfully sticky in the humidity.

  7. Holy... salami! Your bread looks fabulous.

  8. I like the orange marmalade idea. I'm a fan of sweet/salty flavors together.

  9. Very cool! I've got a dessert recipe that is very similar. I've gotta post it now. :)

  10. Now that's my kind of bread! Well, almost all breads are my kind... heh.

  11. I can see you growing as a cook too. Your dishes are getting more and more impressive.

  12. It really is like a sandwich in every slice! Cool :-)

  13. This sounds like wonderful bread. I bet it would be great buttered on each side and grilled. It'd be like a grilled cheese sandwich all in one slice of bread. MMMMMM!

  14. This was one of the breads in the book that I have always been curious about.

  15. Nice one, Dave! A yummy savoury bread. Pity about the cost of the ingredients.

  16. Awesome bread! I can almost smell it baking! I bet the Swiss and salami gave it amazing flavor!

  17. I'll bet these would make great buns for hamburgers. Well done, Dave. You never cease to amaze.