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italian easter bread (casatiello)
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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total: 120 minutes

Servings: 10

Cost: $3.04 /serving


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Step 1

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and the honey or sugar. Stir to combine. Set aside allow the yeast to activate for 5 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and bubbly.

Step 2

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Form a well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast mixture along with 1/4 cup melted butter. Using your hand like a claw, slowly begin mixing the flour into the liquid, adding more water as needed, until a soft, shaggy dough is formed. It may not take all of the water. Pour the mixture out onto a clean lightly floured surface and begin kneading the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. All the dough to rest and rise for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Grease a 10inch bundt pan or tube pan with 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter. Punch down the dough and break off a lemon sized piece of the dough. Set that aside. Lightly flour a clean surface and place the remaining dough on the board. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to an approximate 16 by 12inch rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle the surface with the parmesan cheese, salami and provolone. Beginning on the long end of the dough, gently start rolling the dough around the filling as you would a jelly roll. Gently lift up the roll and place in the prepared pan, sealing the ends to form a ring. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the bread to rest and rise for another hour.

Step 4

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 5

Press 4 of the eggs halfway down into the risen dough spaced evenly over the top of the bread. Roll the lemon sized piece of dough into a long thin log. Cut it into 8 even pieces. Stretch 2 pieces of the extra dough over each of the 4 eggs making an x over the top and securing them into place. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with a whisk and brush the egg wash over the entire bread. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown it sounds hollow when tapped. Cool for 30 minutes in the pan before carefully removing from the pan to continue to cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or completely cooled. Store any remaining bread in the refrigerator.