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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Italian Stuffed Bread (Casatiello)

This is my Dad's recipe. The reason I have it listed under the pizza/calzone/stromboli label is because it is kind of a cross between a calzone and a Stromboli. Or, if you add hard boiled eggs to it, which my Dad always did, you have a much quicker and easier version of  Casatiello is almost a meal in itself. You can make it for lunch as a main dish, or for dinner to be eaten as a sandwich , or my favorite, eat it the next day straight from the fridge for breakfast with a cup of espresso!
1 Master Hearth Bread Dough Recipe OR use 1 frozen/defrosted bread dough OR use bread dough you purchase from a bakery such as Publix)
4 ounces provolone cheese
2 ounces mozzarella
1/4 - 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
8 ounces salami, crispy bacon, ham, but please, NO pepperoni!
olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
egg wash: 1 egg white and a tablespoon water whisked together
Chop the salami and provolone into bit size pieces, chunks work best if you can get thick pieces of cheese and salami. Grate the Parmesan and mozzarella. Mix the meat and cheeses together along with lot's of fresh black pepper. Add some olive oil to moisten.
Make the Italian bread dough and after the first rising spread the bread dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch rectangle.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet and spread lightly with olive oil. Now you can stuff this several ways. My Dad skipped this part and just kneaded the filling in and formed it into a round loaf, this allowed a nice cheesey crust to form.

Here are my favorites:

1) Place the mixture in the middle evenly leaving a good 1 inch space clear all around the edge. Roll up (long ways) placing the  seal on bottom and seal and tuck ends under.

2)Do the same as above but form a ring sealing the ends together by tucking 1 end inside of the other and pressing closed. Make sure the tucked pieces have some filling!

3)Layer the filling in about a 3-inch strip down center of dough to within 1/2-inch of top and bottom, leaving 4 1/2 inches of dough on each side of filling. Cut twelve 3-inch long strips, 1-inch apart, along both sides of filling. Fold strips across filling at an angle, alternating sides to give a braided effect. Cover loosely, and rise until double in size.
4) Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a large (12 inch) round cake pan with no parchment. Spread the dough out dimpling and turning it once. You want a thicker middle with thinner edges. Add the filling in the middle leaving a slight edge all around. Now bring all the corners together and seal well. Turn over. If there are any tears (sometimes the extra olive oil causes this) simply tear a piece from somewhere else and seal it up.

Heat oven to 450

Cover with a loose cloth and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Brush the bread with the egg wash ever so gently.
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes and then lower to 375 and bake for 20 more minutes.
Allow this to cool before cutting into it, 2 hours or more. Serve at room temp and then wrap in plastic and store in fridge.

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