Casatiello – Neapolitan Easter Bread #BreadBakers


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Casatiello may be a traditional Neapolitan Easter bread, but as with many traditions, if you ask 10 different Italians for their take on it, you're sure to get 10 different answers.  The constants are these: Casatiello is rustic savory bread, loaded with cheeses and cured meats (salumi). And there it ends. The cheeses and meats you choose are up for grabs—from favorites that your family has loved down the generations to whatever you have in the fridge (and actually, one school of thought has it that Casatiello was just that—a way to use up Easter leftovers). Then there's the shape—a classic ring shape, said to reference Christ's crown of thorns, or a large roundish loaf. Eggs? Often tucked on top under crosses of dough, but also without. And then it's eaten on Easter. Except when it's eaten on the following day, Easter Monday or La Pasquetta, when friends and family head to the countryside for a celebratory picnic. Whatever, I say, if the old traditions aren't your thing, just make up new ones. One thing I know for sure though, Easter Schmeaster. This bread is too bleeping good to eat just once a year.

It's hard to imagine that a bread that's positively loaded with cheese and meat could be anything but a brick, but this is the lightest, fluffiest bread I've ever eaten. Seriously, once baked, when I took it out of the oven it felt like I was picking up a hunk of styrofoam, it was so surprisingly light. Rich, golden, buttery and brioche-like, with salty bits of salami and glossy pockets of melted cheese, it was truly a revelation.

As I mentioned, there are as many variations on Casatiello as there are Italians and after checking out about a dozen recipes, the one that got my attention was from The Italian Baker, by the late Carol Field, arguably America's foremost authority on Italian baking. Hers differed from some of the others in shape (round loaf) and incorporation of the cheese and meat. In the ring version of this bread, the dough is rolled out, topped with the cheeses and meat, then rolled up and formed into a circle, and you could certainly do that here, although the dough is a bit soft. Here though, three of the four cheeses are grated and mixed into the dough. The remaining cheese and meat are folded and kneaded in. The dough is very soft and silky, especially before the first rise, not unexpected for a dough with 4 egg yolks, 4 whole eggs and a boatload of butter, but it's not difficult to work with (unlike brioche, this doesn't get a cold rise to firm it up). 

One note about the color. It's definitely way darker than other recipes I looked at, but it is indeed supposed to be this dark, at least according to the photo in Carol's book. Unfortunately, my crust may be a tad too thick and overbaked, thanks to an oven that's on life support. The temperature has been fluctuating wildly and there's a 75° difference between the two thermometers I've been using, so getting the heat just right is a real crap shoot.  Thick crust or not, the crumb, flavor and aroma of this bread are so incredible that it doesn't matter. 

Italian breads are the theme for this month's #BreadBakers challenge, hosted by Anshie over at Spice Roots. Be sure to check out the links below because you don't want to miss what this talented group came up with. Thanks, Anshie!

Casatiello – Neapolitan Easter Bread



  • 12g (4 ½ tsps) active dry yeast
  • 20g (4 tsps) sugar
  • 300g (1 ¼ cups) warm water
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 300g (about 2 ½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6.5g (1 ¼ tsps) salt


  • 4 large eggs
  • 120g (½ cup, plus 1 ½ tbsp) sugar
  • 6.5g (1 ⅓ tsps) salt
  • 550g (About 4 ¼ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 250g (2 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 60g (2 oz) pecorino romano cheese, grated*
  • 60g (2 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated*
  • 30g (1 oz) Gruyere cheese, grated*
  • 50g (2 oz) provolone, diced*
  • 100g (3 ½ oz) Milano salami, diced*
  • 5g (1 tsp) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten


  1. To make the sponge, in a medium bowl, add the water, then stir in the yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the egg yolks and remaining 3 tsps of sugar, then add the flour and mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes to an hour. It will be very puffy.
  3. To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs, sugar and salt and mix with the paddle attachment. Then add in all of the sponge and continue mixing until blended.
  4. Add all of the flour and mix until you have a rough mass, then add the butter in chunks and continue mixing with the paddle until you have a shaggy dough.
  5. Add in the three grated cheeses and mix until roughly blended.
  6. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 4 minutes at medium . The dough should be elastic and somewhat smooth. 
  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or container (I recommend a 6 qt. Cambro so you can keep track of the rise), cover tightly and set aside until the dough has nearly tripled (see Notes regarding rise time).
  8. After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and pat into a large rectangle about 3/4" thick. 
  9. Sprinkle half of the provolone and half of the salami over the top and half the pepper, pat in gently, then do a letter fold (thirds), pat the dough into a rectangle again, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, salami and pepper and fold in third once more. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes to fully incorporate the cheese and salami.
  10. Cut the dough in half, then shape each half into a taut round. Place each round in a buttered 2-qt. baking pan (paper panettone bakers work really well). The container should be half full. Cover and set aside to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
  11. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F. Whisk an egg white and brush the top of each loaf. Bake for about 45 minutes until the internal temperature is 190°F. (The top should be dark and mahogany colored but cover with foil if it looks like it's browning too quickly.) Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe source: The Italian Baker by Carol Field


The recipe calls for a first rise of about 1 1/2 hours, to which I say HA! Mine took just over four hours to triple in volume and that was in my proofer with the temperature cranked up to 80°. It's such a rich dough that I'm not surprised but don't get discouraged if yours takes a long time too.

*You can pretty much use any combination of cheeses and meats you like. I couldn't find Milano salami so I used a dry Italian salami instead. I would also use more next time because one can never have enough salami (I definitely thought these loaves could have used a bit more.)

As much as we all love warm bread fresh from the oven, I'd recommend letting this bread cool fully before eating.  I ate a slice (okay, 3 slices) while it was still warm and couldn't really taste the cheese. Once the bread was cooled, the cheesy flavor was much more pronounced.

#BreadBakers for April: Breads from Italy

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Korean Egg Bread (Gyeran Bbang)

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I don't think I ever would have discovered this wonderful Korean street food—egg bread or Gyeran Bbang—had it not been for my grandmother. Not that she was a particularly adventurous cook who delighted in serving us up exotic foods from around the world. Quite the contrary, actually. There are really only two things I ever remember her making. Turkey and brisket. Every. Single. Time. Turkey and brisket. No surprises at Nan's house, that's for sure. No, the reason my grandmother is responsible for my discovery of Gyeran Bbang is because, throughout her long life, as far back as I can remember, she was a world traveler. And after she died in 2009, two months shy of her 100th birthday, I found her last passport while we were going through her things. I've never seen a passport like it, stuffed with extra pages so that all of her visas would fit. She was a pretty amazing person, my grandmother, and I miss her every day, so I decided I wanted to celebrate her life by going through that passport and baking something that represented each country she had visited (and tell you a little bit about her while I'm at it). Travels with Sylvia.

It's a pretty extensive list of countries—and keep in mind this is just from her last passport—I couldn't even begin to guess how many other countries she visited in her lifetime: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, England, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Island, Poland, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe, most of which she visited more than once. My original idea was to bake a bread from each country, but I'm not sure if some of them actually have a representative bread, so it'll be some national dish at least, if not a bread. (Some countries do have me worried though. Pitcairn Island? Breadfruit? Something left over from the Bounty mutineers maybe? Help!)

So. First stop (I'm going in no particular order here): Korea. The one bread that came up over and over again in my searches was this. Egg bread, or gyeran bbang. Which means…drumroll please…egg bread. And which is to Korea, apparently, what soft pretzels are to New York, the quintessential street snack. I can definitely see why. It fits easily in the hand, it hits all the right hunger-quelling notes, and it tastes gosh-darn good. At its most basic, it's batter with an egg on top baked in a muffin-ish tin (oval tins seem to be the go-to but I don't have one…yet), resulting in a bread that's light and fluffy, almost like a pancake, and slightly sweet. Sometimes you'll see this as a kind of sandwich—batter on top and bottom, egg in the middle—but most of the gyeran bbang I stumbled on were like this on, batter on bottom, egg on top. And the possibilities for add-ins are endless, with ham and cheese being especially popular. That's what I went for because, well…ham. And cheese and I are likethis.

Simply put, I. Love. Korean egg bread. It's so quick and easy to make, it could easily be something you can whip up on the spur of the moment, especially since you most likely have all of the ingredients on hand. It was fantastic warm from the oven, but leftovers reheated very nicely (25 seconds in the microwave) and made for a very satisfying and sustaining day starter that kept me happy until it was time for a late lunch. I can definitely see why it's the ubiquitous Korean street snack. Pocket food!

Good start on our travels, don't you think? Nan would approve and like the good Jewish grandmother she was, she'd tell you to "Eat! Have another! Are you sure you don't want one more? You're looking a little weak from hunger…" 

So where to next? I'd love to hear your suggestions, especially if you've visited any of the countries on the list. And I'd love to hear your amazing and funny grandma stories, too, because cynical, snarky me gets all warm and fuzzy thinking about grandmas. Here, have an egg bread. You look hungry…

Korean Egg Bread (Gyeran Bbang)


  • 2/3 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg (for batter)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup (75g) melted butter 
  • 1/4 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs (to top each bread) *see Notes


  • Diced ham
  • Bacon
  • Grated cheese
  • Minced parsley
  • Hot sauce (that's for you, Chris)
  • Whatever your imagination desires


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Use oil spray or butter to lightly coat the cups of a jumbo (6 hole) muffin pan.
  2. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a large bowl and mix together.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, butter and vanilla extract and whisk together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until well mixed.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the 6 wells of the muffin pan. 
  6. Gently break an egg on top of the batter in each well. 
  7. Season and top as desired (I used flaked sea salt, diced Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese and minced parsley).
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the batter comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. The egg breads are best eaten the same day, warm from the oven, but can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and reheated the next day. 

Recipe source: My Korean Kitchen


I'm going to sing the praises of pasture-raised eggs. A few months ago, I was listening to the audiobook of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's a wonderfully entertaining and informative book all around but I was particularly fascinated by the section on Joel Salatin and Polyface Farms and even more particularly, by the description of Salatin's pasture-raised eggs. I normally buy only organic, cage-free eggs (although Pollan's book is pretty eye-opening about what this means) but I was very interested in trying pasture-raised, although not having any farms nearby (to my knowledge) I didn't hold out much hope of obtaining any. Then suddenly, they started appearing in some local stores and I grabbed a carton. The difference, to put it mildly, is amazing and it's obvious even in the crappy iPhone pic I snapped one morning. Visually, the white is yellowish and much more viscous, not pale and watery like the organic egg. And the yolk! Oh that yolk. Standing proud and tall and glowing like a mini orange sun. As for taste, well, they just taste…eggier. Like an egg is supposed to taste. There's a definite difference and I'm sold. Now, I'll be honest here. They're more expensive as organic eggs and nearly twice as much as standard eggs. There are two brands that I've found locally, Carol's Eggs and Vital Farms, and I try to buy them when they're on sale. I don't use them for any old thing, not for egg washes or binders or things like that, but when eggs are front-and-center, as they are in EGG BREAD, then yeah. Why not the best? 

As always, I only mention or link to products and/or companies that I use and recommend. I'm not compensated or sponsored in any way and none of my links are affiliates.



Kahvalti – Turkish-Style Breakfast Buns #Breadbakers

Kahvalti, which roughly translates to “before coffee”—is there life before coffee?—is the Turkish word for breakfast, and oh boy, is it ever a Feast, with a capital F. A far cry from the typical American grab-and-go affair. Think pots of tea (the coffee comes later). Olives, cheeses, fresh fruits, jams, honey, eggs, tomatoes and cucumber, yogurt and…bread. Breads like simit (think Turkish bagel) or pide ekmeği (flatbread). Or these buns—Kahvalti—or more accurately Kahvalti Çörekleri. (Google translates Çörekleri as “donut.” I’m thinking Google needs to work on that translation thing.) Soft little round potato rolls, full of tangy bits of feta and topped with nigella (or black sesame) seeds. Since I discovered them, thanks to Jane Mason's fabulous book, The Book of Buns, I've made them several times and they never disappoint. 

I have this theory about things like buns and rolls. They’re teeny breads. Teeny breads with fewer calories. That don’t add up (sometimes it pays to be a dolt at math). Therefore, unlike when you snarf down an entire loaf of bread at once, you can eat a lot of them and not end up with hips that require you to purchase an extra seat on the plane. That’s the way it works, right? RIGHT? Teeny breads, teeny calories? No? Oh well. Teeny calories or not, these kahvalti buns are worth every one. 

Rolls (and buns) were this month's #BreadBakers theme for May, chosen by Deepti at Baking Yummies. Be sure to check out the links below to see what the other #BreadBakers came up with. So many teeny breads to tempt and tantalize your tastebuds…



  • 350g bread flour
  • 2g instant yeast
  • 240g milk, heated to just below boiling, then cooled to room temperature
  • 5g salt
  • 1 medium potato, peeled, cooked and mashed
  • 100g crumbled feta cheese


  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp water
  • nigella (black onion) seeds or poppy seeds for sprinkling


Add flour to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add yeast to the well, pour in the milk, then cover the well lightly with with flour, cover the bowl and let rest for about 1 hour.

After the resting period, add the salt and mashed potato to the bowl and combine into a ball, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. (It's kind of gloppy but hang in there.) Gather the dough into a ball again, place it back in the bowl, cover and let rest for another 20 minutes.

Transfer the dough back to the work surface, flatten it out,  add the cheese and knead it gently until it incorporates, taking care to leave some large bits of cheese. Form the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Lightly flour the pieces, cover and let rest for about 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, line a baking sheet with parchment.

After the dough has rested, form each piece into a tight ball, flouring your hands lightly as needed. Place the balls on the baking sheet, cover and let rest for about 1 hour. While the buns are resting, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

To make the glaze, whisk together the water and egg white. Brush the risen buns with the glaze and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

Bake the buns for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through for even baking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

#BreadBakers for May:  Rolls

This month, #BreadBakers takes on rolls—yeast or quick, sweet or savory, drizzled or plain, filled or not. Thanks to our host Deepti of Baking Yummies for the theme. Because rolls are the bomb.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.