I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

May 9, 2010

Crescia or Ciaccia di Pasqua (p.169)

This is Italian Cheese and Pancetta Easter Bread, which sounds like everything I love. 

Warm milk in a small pan on the stove, and then pour it into a bowl to be mixed with yeast. Set this mixture aside while you create the rest of the dough. Combine butter (!) and olive oil to be heated together as well (I just used the same pan as I had used for the milk.) Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat -- you don't want the ingredients to cook.

In a really big bowl, combine flour and salt. The recipe calls for cake flour, but a) I don't need another type of flour in my house and b) Food Lion didn't have any, so I just used bread flour. It is bread, after all. Add sheep's milk cheese -- half grated, half cut into chunks -- as well as diced pancetta and parmigiano. Mix everything together with your hands. 

Make a well in the flour (have I mentioned how much I enjoy making wells? It's one of my favorite things about bread making) and pour in the milk mixture as well as a beaten egg and saffron threads, and some salt and pepper for good measure.

Slowly start combining the liquid center with the flour mixture, while at the same time adding the butter/olive oil (this requires three hands.) Eventually you'll need to start kneading with your hands. Mine needed water added to it to actually create dough -- it was very crumbly before that.

Once it resembles lumpy dough (the lumps are cheese and pancetta), set it aside in a bowl for an hour and a half, and then press it into a spring form pan to sit for another half hour. Brush the dough with an egg white and bake until the top is golden.

So, I wanted to completely adore this bread, but sadly, I didn't. It tasted way too flour-y, which was maybe my fault for using the wrong kind of flour, but it was just really dense and didn't have the strong cheese and/or pancetta taste that I was hoping for. Sigh. It was really pretty, at least.

sheep's milk cheese -- $6.99
Total Cost of Crescia or Ciaccia di Pasqua: $6.99

1 comment:

Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.