Casatiello: Traditional stuffed easter bread.

Casatiello is a traditional stuffed bread with cheese and salami that is served during Easter in Italy.

This delicious typical Italian bread is a bit laborious to prepare but the result will certainly be worth it when you will take it from the oven and the amazing smell of freshly baked bread will fill your kitchen.

Neapolitan casatiello on a cut board.

What is Casatiello?

Casatiello Napoletano is a rustic bread typical of Neapolitan cuisine. This dish is traditionally prepared for the Easter period and its shape is a reminder of this celebration, for example, the decorative strips of dough that fix the eggs on the bread, represent the cross where Jesus died.

The name Casatiello comes from the Neapolitan dialect “case” which means cheese, since it is precisely with this ingredient that this bread is prepared. The cheese that is traditionally used is pecorino but the variants today are many and Casatiello bread is also now prepared with other types of cheese such as Parmigiano, Emmenthal and Provolone.

Every year, I prepare this Casatiello recipe at my house to serve it at Easter lunch, as I also make Crescia di Pasqua and other delicious recipes that are cook specially for this celebration.

The bread cut showing the filling.

Regarding the salami, in the classic recipe you will find the typical Neapolitan salami and ciccioli (fried pork rinds); but as usual, the variants are pretty common too and some of them will include mortadella and prosciutto cotto (cooked ham).

Casatiello bread is perfect to take to the Pasquetta (Easter monday) picnic, so it can be prepared two or three days ahead and kept in a tightly closed container until it will be time to consume.

Step by step recipe

Important: The ingredients list with the exact measurements can be found below, in the recipe card. Please take in mind that while I posted the measurements also in US cups, if you want better results, I strongly suggest to use a kitchen scale instead.

Place yeast on a medium bowl and add the lukewarm water and malt extract (or honey). Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of strong flour until you will have a runny dough (this is called poolish)

Poolish on a bowl.

Allow poolish to rest for 30 minutes on a warm and dry environment.

Once resting time has passed, place the remaining flours onto a stand mixer bowl, add the yeast mixture and start kneading at medium speed.

If you want to make this by hand, place flours on a working surface and make a well in the center, then add there the yeast mixture and carefully start to incorporate then knead as suggested below.

Add extra virgin olive oil to the bowl, then lard (or butter, or shortening), one teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Keep kneading at medium speed until you will have a smooth and elastic dough.

If your dough is a bit sticky, don’t worry, after the resting it will be more manageable as the gluten will be developed by then.

The dough on a bowl.

Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it proof in a warm and dry place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

The dough after proofing, on a bowl.

Meanwhile, cut salami and cheeses into small bites and wash throughly the eggs. Dry well eggs and let everything aside.

Salami and cheeses diced, onto a white place. Some eggs around.

Shape the bread

Spread a little bit of olive oil on a working surface, punch down the dough and place it onto the oiled surface. Break off a orange-size piece and set aside (you’ll need it later).

Roll the dough into a large rectangle about ⅓ inch (1cm) thick, the longest side should be more than the circumference of you baking pan (mine was about 30 inches/76cm).

Distribute salami and cheeses on the dough surface, covering completely.

The dough rolled with the filling on top.

Start rolling up the dough from one of the largest sides, just do it carefully to avoid the filling from going out.

Rolling the dough with the filling.

You should end with a long tube like the photo below.

The dough shaped into a large tube.

Oil throughly a ring shape baking pan about 8.5-9.5″ (22-24 cm.) of diameter. Carefully, transfer the casatiello and pinch the ends together to seal it.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have a ring shaped pan, use a regular rounded pan and place in the middle some aluminium foil or a oven-proof bowl.

Casatiello dough into the pan.

Place the four eggs on top of the dough and push them down a little to set them well. Make sure the eggs are evenly spaced between each other.

4 eggs placed on top of the dough.

Roll up the dough you let aside before and cut it into 8 large strips. Place two strips crossed over each eggs and seal the ends.

the strips crossed on top of eggs.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to raise on a warm environment for about one and half hour.

Heat the oven to 320°F (160°C) and bake for 15 minutes. Raise the temperature to 360°F (180°C) and continue baking for 45 minutes or until deeply golden brown.

How To Store

For leftovers or if you want to make this bread ahead of time, just make sure to let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly with cling film and leave it at room temperature. Basicaly, this is a normal stuffed bread, so keep in mind that humidity and heat could compromise leftovers if not stored properly.

Casatiello: Italian Stuffed Bread

10
Casatiello is a traditional stuffed bread with cheese and salami that is served during Easter in Italy.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 1 hr
resting time: 4 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins

Equipment

  • A 8.5-9.5" (22-24cm) ring shaped pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ⅓ cups (350g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (300g) strong bread flour with at least 11% protein
  • 1 tsp (3g) dry yeast or ½ cube of fresh yeast, about 10g
  • cup (40g) lard or shortening or butter
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (20g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 oz (200g) hard mixed cheeses such as pecorino, parmigiano, provolone, etc.
  • 7 oz (200g) neapolitan salami or other type of salami
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp malt extract or honey or sugar
  • 1 ⅔ cups (380ml) lukewarm water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

poolish and 1 resting

  • Place yeast on a medium bowl, add the water and malt extract (or honey).
  • Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of strong flour until you will have a runny dough (this is called poolish)
  • Allow poolish to rest for 30 minutes on a warm and dry environment.

make the dough

  • Place the remaining flours onto a stand mixer bowl, add the yeast mixture and start kneading at medium speed.
  • Add the oil, then lard, one or two teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Kneading at medium speed until you'll have a smooth and elastic dough.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it proof in a warm and dry place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

make the filling

  • Cut salami and cheeses into small bites and wash throughly the eggs. Dry well eggs and let everything aside.

shape the bread

  • Oil a working surface, punch down the dough and place it onto the oiled surface. Break off a orange-size piece and set aside.
  • Roll the dough into a large rectangle about ⅓ inch (1cm) thick, the longest side should be more than the circumference of you baking pan (mine was about 30 inches/76cm).
  • Distribute salami and cheeses on top of the dough, covering completely.
  • Roll the dough into a large tube (see the photo below).
  • Oil throughly a ring shape baking pan about 8.5-9.5″ (22-24 cm.) of diameter. Carefully, transfer the casatiello and pinch the ends together to seal it.

decorate

  • Place the four eggs on top of the dough and push them down a little to set them well.
  • Roll up the dough you let aside before and cut it into 8 large strips. Place two strips crossed over each eggs and seal the ends.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to raise on a warm environment for about one and half hour.

bake

  • Heat the oven to 320°F (160°C) and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Raise the temperature to 360°F (180°C) and continue baking for 45 minutes or until deeply golden brown.
Notes
HOW TO STORE
For leftovers or if you want to make this bread ahead of time, just make sure to let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly with cling film and leave it at room temperature. Basicaly, this is a normal stuffed bread, so keep in mind that humidity and heat could compromise leftovers if not stored properly.
Course bread
Cuisine italian

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