Il Pane Casatiello


Week 5. Well, we’re moving right along through the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice – Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread,. Are you out there baking along with me? I don’t want to be having all this fun by myself & of course gaining all this weight by myself! LOL! Although this has been a delicious adventure it really is wreaking havoc on my waistline. I really need to put myself on an exercise program to go along with this baking challenge!

Okay, back to bread…I must admit I was quite terrified when I started this challenge. I am NOT a baker. So the thought of all of this measuring and being at the mercy of yeast just frightened me. As you may know I’m a by sight & taste kind of cook. I put in my ingredients, taste & adjust. Cooking is very forgiving. Baking on the other hand, not so much. But I do find myself enjoying this immensely. Hoping my book makes it through this challenge. Already after week 5 it’s looking very worn with it’s buttery fingerprints & oil stained pages. LOL

I was particularly excited this week to be making an Italian bread. Evviva (hooray!) Okay, everyone knows by now that I’m crazy about all things Italian. So, suffice it to say I was jazzed. So before I got started on this bread I did a little research so I could give you some background.

Casatiello also known as Tortano is a savory bread from the Campania region in Italy and is typically served at Easter. This particular bread is full of symbolism (as many Italian foods are). The bread is made with meat (typically salami or pancetta) & cheese (typically Pecorino or Parmigiano) But naturally vary from family & regional recipes. The story told is that the meat represents a ritual where animals were sacrificed in exchange for fertility & the cheese represents the milk of the lamb. Sometimes the bread is baked with whole eggs. Typically it is baked in a tube pan. It is rich and heavy (dense if you will) and is a treasure trove of flavors.

Each bite you have an explosion of taste, from the meat to the flavor of the butter and the cheese pockets. Oh the glorious cheese pockets. It really is a meal in itself. It’s a rich, dense Italian version ofย  Brioche & for the first time in this challenge this bread was baked in ONE day! Fantastic!

Have you ever had Casatiello bread?

The Sponge


Dry ingredients : Bread Flour (King Arthur of course ;), Salt & Sugar


Marta hard at work mixing the dry ingredients, eggs & with the sponge to form the doughcasa6_wm

ah mixing in the buttery goodness


can’t you just smell the pancetta? mmmh I’m becoming impatient at this point LOL!

Into the mixing bowl, then she gets a small massage of olive oil & then she rests (ah the laid back life of bread)


Formed into a boule & waiting on the rise


ah she’s rising nicely…

into the cake pan & waiting on her to rise one last time before she goes into the sauna (aka oven)


ah and the wait is over!


casa16_wmIt was perfect with my morning espresso


Sneak peak: Next week: Challah!

If you liked this post I’d really appreciate a Stumble *wink wink*


  1. 1

    Love your site!!! Check out mine!!

  2. 2

    looks perfect with my morning coffee.

    • 2.1

      Thanks Jenn! It did go perfect with my epresso. Of course I had to make a new one because mine got cold before I finished taking the shots LOL ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. 3

    Gorgeous, as always, Paula. My man is really looking forward to this one. He’s hoping I buy too much salami or something ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’m really looking forward to Challah. I loved reading about the tradition behind it. Anyways, beautiful job!


    • 3.1

      Thanks Donna! So sweet of you! My hubs really liked this one as well! I’m defiitely going to be making it again & I think next time I’ll add a little more cheese. You can never have too much cheesy goodness! I’m looking forward to Challah too! Something about braided bread that’s so pretty!

  4. 4

    Perfetto! sono felice che sia venuto cosรฌ bene!
    Wonderful, I’m happy you managed to have such a perfect Casatiello!

    • 4.1

      Ehila ‘Giulia! Grazie’ mille per i complimenti! Era proprio buonissimo!

  5. 5

    Sounds wonderful! i know I love brioche so I would definitely love this one!

    • 5.1

      Thanks Natasha! I’m in love with Brioche now & this savory version is scrumptious!

  6. 6

    Looks so yummy, Paula. I am not a bread baker either, so this is something that would be a good challenge! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to eat bread which ridiculously causes weight issues! Beautiful blog! ~Roz (aka bella) PS….how does one ‘stumble’ you?

    • 6.1

      Thanks Bella! I know! I couldn’t do without my bread ๐Ÿ™‚ Stumble is short for If you look at the bottom of the post there are these cute little buttons the one with the SU is StumbleUpon. Just click on it & follow the directions! Happy Stumblin’!

  7. 7

    Wow, that looks and sounds amazing! Mmmmm…. jealous!

  8. 8

    Fantastic! I just made my Casatiello this evening, and I am envisioning it for breakfast tomorrow. I love your background info, and I wish I had thought of using my tube pan for it! That would have been perfect, because it rose so tall. Yours looks beautiful.

    • 8.1

      Ciao Haley! So glad you enjoyed the background info! I wish I had found my tube pan while I was cooking. LOL I have got to organize my baking pans since I’m using them more often now ๐Ÿ˜‰ Can’t wait to see your pics! I’m sure they’re beautiful!

  9. 9

    First off YES YOU ARE A BAKER! ๐Ÿ™‚
    You did a wonderful job. Your bread looks awesome.
    I’m baking along with you,

    • 9.1

      Hi Susie! Thank you so sweet of you! Maybe by the time we’re finished going through with this book I’ll feel like a baker! I will say I am getting more comfortable with the baking process. So glad you’re baking along with me! Looking forward to challah next week!

  10. 10

    This bread was delicious! I wasn’t crazy about the brioche, but this one more than made up for it. Your pics are great!

    • 10.1

      Ciao Rebecca! Thanks so much! I really enjoyed this one too & can’t wait for Challah!

  11. 11

    Great step-by-step photos! Brava!
    I agree with you, baking is more of a “science” and there’s less room for experimentation, but it has its joys too. It seems like you are getting on quite well with this challenge so far!
    Castatiello is indeed full of symbolism and it’s so delicious, I’m glad it was chosen as part of the challenge because it deserves more exposure!

    • 11.1

      Thanks Marta! I know, I was so excited to bake our first Italian bread of the book! I’m always fascinated by traditions & enjoyed writing about Casatiello’s. Looking forward to the Ciabatta in two weeks as well!

  12. 12

    Your photos are just beautiful. i love your style.

    • 12.1

      Thanks so much Cindy! I really appreciate that. I have just as much taking the photos as I do cooking!

  13. 13
    Mary Lou Murray /

    You seem to be the kind of cook I would like to be

    • 13.1

      Ah, Mary Lou! That’s really nice of you to say. Thank you. I’m still learning everyday.

  14. 14

    Love the step-by-step photos. This was truly a remarkable recipe. Beautiful in taste and appearance. I think it’s my favorite of the recipes so far.

    • 14.1

      Thank you so much! It was an amazing bread. I too loved it. I love each one so much & then the next one comes & I love that one even more LOL

  15. 15

    Casatiello is a traditional bread from Naples, the city I am from, in the south of Italy.
    We use to eat it on easter


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