In truth, I cannot say I was super-excited to be making more brioche, seeing as I'd just baked the BBA brioche, and the most recent Tuesdays With Dorie choice was a brioche-crusted tart (posted on my other blog, here). But "in for a penny, in for a pound" as they say; the Challenge is to bake each recipe in order, so that's what I'll do.
A few things turned around my attitude on this recipe:
1. I was amazed and inspired by what Holly, of the blog PheMOMenon did with her casatiello - she made mini loaves in little white paper cups (known sometimes as nut cups) Bingo! I could make individual rolls for...
2. My book group was having a summer dinner. Baking casatiello as dinner rolls was sounding like a great plan. The main course was fried quail, and I was excited to see...
3. One of the variations suggested by Peter Reinhart is for bacon casatiello. I've had a love affair with Benton's bacon (that began with a wonderful creamed corn that I made for last year's book group summer dinner) and was excited to experiment with it inside of homemade bread..
I figured that bacon and cheese dinner rolls would be a great complement to the dinner menu: fried quail, tomato pie, and spinach salad (brownies and ice cream for dessert).
- The word Casatiello is singular, and is used for one loaf. I know that the plural is Casatielli, for more than one loaf. My guess is that a bunch of tiny breads would be Casatiellini, but if you know Italian let me know in the comments if I'm right or wrong!
- Unlike many of the breads in the BBA book, which require an overnight rest, this bread is made with a quick 1 hour pre-ferment. I mixed buttermilk into my "sponge". It got very bubbly very quickly, but at that point life intervened and it was much longer than an hour by the time I got back to it. The sponge had separated and I wasn't sure how it would do, but I just gave it a good stir before mixing with the other ingredients and it was fine.
- The food processor did a great job of mixing the dough (dry ingredients first then add sponge/wet.
- Instead of 2 chicken eggs, I used one huge duck egg plus a bit of egg white from the fridge.
- The Benton bacon has a pretty smoky, intense bacon flavor. I didn't want to overpower the rolls, and finally settled on 4 oz of uncooked bacon, which I keep in the freezer already chopped into lardons. I cooked it slowly for fat to render, and it ended up slightly less than 2 oz when cooked.
- For fat/liquid, here's what I added:
2 oz butter
2 oz bacon grease
2 oz skim milk (I had fun listing that as an ingredient!)
- For the cheese, I chopped very small dice of the following:
2 oz Västerbotten cheese
4 oz le Gruyere.
- I formed the rolls into balls and baked them in muffin tins. I got a little lazy with my math, so ended up with 2 sizes: twelve at 2.5 oz each, and six at 1.75 oz. You can see the difference in the picture just above.
- All the rising times were much faster in my kitchen.
These rolls were perfect! They had a lovely soft moist crumb with little melted cheese pockets and a smoky bacon flavor. I think they would make a great breakfast or brunch bread, with scrambled eggs. I'll definitely make these again!
Update: I'm sending these to Yeastspotting, a weekly roundup of all things yeast-y. Check it out each Friday!
See the melted cheese over to the left edge? And the crumb on these rolls was outstanding.