The next brioche in the BBA Challenge was an Italian variation, a casatiello, which is usually made with some type of cured meat and cheese. Reinhart suggests a good melting cheese such as Swiss, Gouda, Cheddar or any of their variations. For meats he suggests salami, pepperoni, bacon, pancetta, chorizo, or sausage. I chose some applewood smoked ham and provolone, two flavors I like together.
The bread starts with a quick sponge, followed by mixing and two risings. Casatiello is traditionally baked in paper bags or panettone molds, though I used a tall round 8-inch cake pan, which worked well. The bread was popular with my family, so much so that Monkey Boy took a huge hunk out of it while it sat cooling on the wire rack. We liked the slightly salty flavor of the ham and the Provolone melted just right. Even after a day the flavor was still present.
[Update: The Washington Post ran a story about online cooking clubs “Too Many Cooks? No Such Thing” featuring the BBA Challenge and included one of my photos of the casatiello.]