Photo Credit: Giada De Laurentiis
If you’re looking for something showstoppingly delicious for your Easter festivities, this is it. This Italian Easter Bread, known as Casatiello in Italian, is a classic Neapolitan bread stuffed with meat and cheese. Traditionally, it’s made the day after Easter, when there is generally a lot of leftover charcuterie to be used up. However, it’s just so festive and fun, I like to serve it up the day of.
You can customize this bread a bit with what you have on hand, though. Use any type of salami or charcuterie (it can be fun to do a blend, too – half Calabrese and half Soppressata, for example!) and you could sub in Swiss Cheese or Havarti instead of Provolone if that’s what you prefer. It’s also a treat if you can find some pretty pastel-colored farm fresh eggs to decorate on top!
This is a great dish to make ahead of time, too. You can bake it early on, refrigerate it, and then pop it in the oven to warm up when it’s time to eat.
Italian Easter Bread (Casatiello)
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water divided
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 3 tablespoons, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup about 1/4 pound diced salami
- 1 cup about 1/4 pound diced provolone cheese
- 5 whole eggs divided
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- 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.