Thursday, June 11, 2009

BBA Challenge #5: Casatiello

I know, I know. I'm late. You see, I had a vacation last week, and even though I was home the entire time, I did almost nothing relaxing. I did set aside some time to make the Casatiello last Tuesday, about nine days ago, but had no time (cough, cough) to blog about it.

Okay, okay. I just got lazy. I did want to blog about it and even had a "I am going to sit down now and blog the Casatiello" but did other things instead.

On Tuesday morning I went to my favorite specialty flour store, Der Mehlstübchen, and bought 10 kilos of flour. I didn't really realize it, but that's what, like 22 pounds? I got 2 kilo bags of Whole Wheat, 4 bags of 1050, and 4 of 812. Here they are in the awesome IKEA containers I got on Monday morning.

812 has become my normal bread flour, and 550 will serve as my all-purpose flour, since I find 405 to be way too fine for bread. I actually made the mistake of baking bread with this flour when I first came to Germany, and the bread was unspectacular. You can read more about the numbers here.

For the Casatiello I decided to use some smoked Scamorza, which is delicious in real life.

All I had was 131 grams and I needed just a bit more, so I used a bit from my favorite IKEA cheese. Now, I usually buy the black version whenever I go, but to tell the truth, I can never tell a difference. I just like the black packaging because it reminds me of Cabot Sharp Cheddar, which I used to buy in 2 pound blocks when I lived in Rhode Island.

For the sausage, I used a Spanish-style Veggie Chorizo. This differs from Mexican Chorizo, or Soyrizo, which is yum, by the way. The Spanish version is much drier and thicker, so you can really cut it into cubes.

Also of note this time was the first official use of my new spoon scale. I actually saw this on the Brouwland website, but couldn't really justify it if I was just measuring out hops. After a bit of frustration with the small measurements given in the Bread Baker's Apprentice, I decided to buy this. I got it for only 17,98 € on Here is is with roughly 9,4 grams of instant yeast. Yes, I do love my kitchen toys!

I have to say that I really paid no mind to Peter Reinhart's mise en place stuff until I read Phyl's post about it. I am not going to say that it was any easier, but it was nice to be able to photograph everything together. It all looked so professional lined up like that.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I decided to use the dough hook for this bread. I have to say that I pretty much hated using it, and will probably use the roller unless I have to do a huge quantity of bread. The dough kept climbing the hook, and eventually I had to remove the dough, remove the scraper and throw the dough back in there without the scraper. Still, it was not as exciting as I thought it would be.

Here it is as a wee bitty ball.

I used a smaller round ceramic casserole dish for this one, because I wanted it to be a bit higher like a panettone. I made a collar out of parchment that went up and up in order to encase the bread and so that it would not spill out the sides. What I didn't expect was the high rise and the oven spring.

It came out nice. Almost like a huge muffin. The Veggie Chorizo looked beautiful on the crust, mottling it.

I even loved the way the bottom looked. Unfortunately, by inverting it, I sort of, how do you say, smashed in the nice round top? Yes it had a dent, but it was so perfect before.

Still, the bread was dangerously delicious. Oh, man. It was so delicious I had to give more than half away. I could have eaten the entire thing. It was amazing because I am usually a sweet guy. Even my girlfriend says so, and she's a savory woman.

I had left the bread cooling on the rack because I had to run to a breadmaking class at the flour store. When my girlfriend got home she said the apartment smelled amazing and that she nearly tore into the bread right there. I don't know how it was still whole when I got home, but she did the decent thing and waited.

Part of the reason was that she didn't know if I had already photographed the bread! I was just missing the crumb shot, and I took the above two shots in the living room minutes before we each shoved a huge piece into our mouths. I love how my 50mm f1,8 lens blurs the background so that no one knows how messy our apartment really is. I guess you will never know unless you visit Berlin!

Oh, and check out my mad long bread knife. The thing is like 45cm long or something. It is a pleasure cutting bread with this long monster.

I have to point out Flour Girl's post on the bread, which mirrored my love for this bread.

The next bread is Challah which I hope to make on Saturday. And, even though no one who is not already in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is reading this post, I have to give a shout out to Nicole from Pinch My Salt who coordinated the challenge. It is a pleasure to take part in this awesome collective bread education. Though I may have to take that back when I eat a whole pan of Cinnamon Buns in two weeks!


  1. Your Casatiello is awesome. I also loved this recipe.
    Great reading your post and love your photos.
    :) Nice baking along with you,

  2. Very awesome! Spanish-style soy chorizo, yum. Your bread really got a beautiful rise! Nice mise-en-place as well. No one will ever see mine because I use such a hodgepodge of colors and equipment!

  3. The scale spoon- awesome. I loved making this bread but didn't eat much...gave as gifts. But if would have made with that veggie chorizo - I probably would have ate it all!! Thanks for sharing! Happy baking.

  4. Your bread is just beautiful. Gorgeous golden colour. I am coveting that spoon. Just amazing. I may have to get one.

    Do you like your 50mm 1.8 lens? I have read so many great things about it. I just ordered one. It will be here next week, so I'm hoping my photograpy will improve.

  5. Thanks everyone for the kind comments. The veggie chorizo was very flavorful, so I think it really made a difference in the bread.

    I love my 50mm f1,8 lens, but on my digital camera, it makes everything too close. I have to take two steps back to photograph anything, which makes it a bit tough in our narrow kitchen.

    Still, it is one of the best lenses I own, and the one that I use 90 percent of the time.

  6. That does look yummy! Maybe I will try your suggestion of the veggie chorizo. And personally, I don't care when you post, as long as you keep on baking with us!

  7. Love your pictures and your post.

    I have the 50mm f1.8 on my "want" list. I can't wait for Christmas! lol

  8. Very nice shoots!! your bread looks amazing, thanks for stopping by my blog.

  9. Glad to know I'm not alone in having so many containers of different kinds of flours, 6 kinds of wheat, and this does not include rice, glutinous rice, malt flours, etc.:)

    I've never had veggie chorizo, maybe I'll make some if I find a good recipe. The casatiello looks really good and yummy.