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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Casatiello (Italian Savory Easter Bread)

 My Dad made this Neapolitan Easter bread Casatiello every Easter and it is just not Easter without it!It is a rich bread that celebrates the end of lent, and each bite tells of the celebration of the rebirth of Christ. Here is my Dad's recipe:
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!
4 ounces cold butter diced 
2 hard boiled eggs diced
olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
For the top: 3-6 eggs raw and dyed
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, eggs, butter and cheeses together along with lot's of fresh black pepper.
Make the Italian bread dough and after the first rising spread the bread dough on lightly floured surface to three long strips and flatten out.
Place the filling onto each strip and seal up tight letting out any air pockets.
Place on parchment lined pan (one with edges is good as there may be some leakage) and gather 3 tips together pressing to seal and tucking under, now braid and seal bottom edges tucking under loaf.
Place the raw eggs in crevices of your choice.
Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 420.
Brush top of bread (not eggs) with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 375 and bake another 15-20 minutes golden brown.
Allow to cool  and serve at room temp.
Note: I make mine the day before Easter and then cool completely at room temp. Than I cover with plastic and keep in fridge over night. The next morning I take it out to come back to room temp several hours before meal.

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