Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Casatiello - BBA Challenge #5

My original plan was to have this bread baked and delivered to my husband's team for an afternoon snack yesterday. But with all the issues I ran into while making the Casatiello, it wasn't ready until lunch time today.

The first issue: the sponge was not real bubbly after the first hour. I waited another hour then proceeded mixing the bread.

Below is the dough after I kneaded in 5 oz of fried prosciutto and 8 oz of provolone cheese.
The second issue: the dough did not increase in size by 1 1/2 times. It was 2 inches short of the mark. I waited another 20 minutes, didn't detect any change, so I shaped the dough and put it in an 8"x3" spring form pan. Since I was running out of time, I placed it in the refrigerator to bake the following day.

Here the dough is ready for it's final rise. You can tell by the height of the collar, I was expecting a big rise. (the idea for using a collar came from At the Very Yeast)

I woke up at 2AM, took the dough out of the refrigerator and went back to bed.
Here it is at 6AM. It rose to the rim of the pan. Not what I would consider 1 1/2 times size increase but I baked it anyway.

I spritzed the top of the dough with water, placed 6 ice cubes in the iron skillet at the bottom of the oven, placed the pan on the pizza stone and closed the door.
The oven spring added another inch or so to the bread.
The last issue: It took 75 minutes to bake! The minimum cook time was 40 minutes and the center was only 90 degrees. After 50 minutes it was at 107, at 60 minutes it was at 136, and at 70 minutes it was at 167. (I tented the bread for the last 5 minutes.)

While delivering the bread to Rick's office today, something strange, sad, yet rewarding happened. As soon as I pulled up in front of Rick's office building, an old noisy car pulled up next to mine. Behind the wheel of the old car was a woman who appeared to be in her early to mid 30s. Children occupied the other seats of her old jalopy. She said they were living in the car and that she just needed something to feed her kids. She wasn't asking for money or for anything for herself but she needed to feed her babies. By the time she finished her story, my husband had stepped out of his office building. I quickly related her story to him. We both exchanged a knowing look, I handed him the bread and he gave it to her. You would have thought we gave her a million bucks. I am still in awe at God's timing. Had things gone as I had planned I would have missed it all. God knew what this lady needed and when she needed it. He took care of her immediate need and he allowed us to be a part of it. Rick returned to the office building empty handed but with a full heart and I smiled all the way home at God's perfect timing. I hope you'll join me in praying for this woman and the many others in her situation.
I have no idea how this tasted but I hope it was grand and that it blesses that woman and her children.


  1. Oh wow... this looks so amazing, but mostly I have to say I'm brought to tears reading this story. Such perfect timing indeed! What a blessing for all involved :).

  2. What a beautiful story! Your bread looks perfect and I can tell by looking at it that it tasted wonderful!

  3. Perfect!! Just the story I needed to hear today...a little perspective. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the challah...whoever may eat it! Happy baking!

  4. Great story! I am sure they loved your bread and were appreciative of your gift.

    Italian Food Forever

  5. Yes, perfect timing! Great story and a wonderful loaf. :)

  6. Like all things in life, (and especially bread, as we have been learning in this challenge)timing is everything. Looks like it was a delicious bread. Lucky family to have run into you that day.

    Last month, I was driving to school to pick up my kids. I was bringing some just baked chocolate chunk cookies and a homeless woman tapped on my window while I was at a stoplight. I had left my purse at home and had no money. I offered her the cookies. She gratefully accepted.

  7. Thanks ButterYum. I was definitely blessed by it. I hope God leads me to do this with all the breads from this bake-off. I'm keeping my heart and my ear open to it. :-)

    Thanks Nicole, Peteemall, Deborah and Susies1955. I love that God gave me a beautiful story to share.

    Cindy. What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing it. I could listen to stories like this all day. I'm sure that woman hadn't had delicious homemade cookies in a very long time. What a treasure.

  8. Hi Tammy - Swing by my blog and take a peek.

  9. What a great story! (And a lovely loaf of bread!)

  10. What a lovely gift to give the family. I know it was nourishing to both their body and soul.

  11. Thanks for the award ButterYum! How sweet of you! I hope I'm allowed to send it back to you because I read your blog all the time.

    Thanks Sahrabara!

    Thanks Carey! It was a great blessing to your Father and me. What an honor to be used by God.

  12. Yep...perfect were inspired to make this bread and give it to this family~