Casatiello - Neapolitan Easter Bread
Casatiello is a traditional and unique festive Easter bread from Naples, and also my 600th recipe. This is a very sumptuous bread of fatty dough and a fine meat-cheese filling as well as the occasion of the holidays. The recipe for this bread dates back to the 16th century and Neapolitans will usually say that if the dough is not made with lard that it is not real Casatiello bread. This bread is also considered a symbol of Spring. Casatiello is usually baked in a special mold very similar to a kuglof and symbolizes a crown of thorns.
- First, make a foam from the yeast by dissolving the yeast in warm water and adding sugar. Set aside to make the foam. In a raw mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt and pepper, then add the yeast and knead a soft dough. Knead the parmesan into the dough, then slowly add the fat piece by piece, as when making brioche. Only add the next piece of fat when you have kneaded the previous one. Finally, continue to knead the dough lightly for 2-3 minutes. Cover everything with a linen towel and let it rest for 1-1.1 / 2 hours.
- Transfer the risen dough to a floured surface and stretch it into a larger rectangle, the dough should be 1 cm thick. Cover the entire surface of the dough with sliced bacon, ham and cheese. Roll the dough into a firm strudel and squeeze the edges well. Separate two small pieces of dough from the edges and set them aside. Fold the rolled dough into a snail shape (I don’t have the original mold) and place it in a mold with a 22cm diameter hoop. Cover and let rise for 45-60 min.
- Coat the risen bread with beaten egg and arrange the eggs at regular intervals. Roll the rest of the dough into thin longer strips and lay them in the shape of a cross over the eggs. Put everything in a preheated oven at 170 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Increase the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking the bread for another 40-50 minutes. If you see it blush too quickly, cover it lightly with foil.
- Let the baked bread stand in the mold for 10 minutes, then take it out of the mold and transfer it to the cooling rack, then cool the bread completely. Bread is served on its own as an appetizer, because you absolutely don't need anything with it except a glass of wine.