This Italian elaboration of brioche is loaded with pockets of meat and cheese, and loved by all. I've made this a few times and much of the time I get the comment "That's the best bread I've ever had!" from all the guests I serve it to.
2.25 oz (64g) Bread Flour
1 tbsp (15ml) Instant Yeast
1 c (236ml) Whole Milk or Buttermilk, lukewarm
4 oz (113g) Italian Salami (or other similar meat)
1 lb (454g) Bread Flour
1 tsp (5ml) Salt
1 tbsp (15ml) Sugar
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
6 oz (170g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
6 oz (170g) Provolone (or other similar meltable cheese), coarsely shredded or grated
Procedure (abbreviated from the original):
1. To make the sponge, stir together the flour and yeast in a bowl. Whisk in the milk to make a pancake-like batter. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into small cubes and saute it lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly.
3. Stir together the flour, salt, and sugar with a spoon. Add the eggs and the sponge until the ingredients form a coarse ball. If there is any loose flour, dribble in a small amount of water or milk to gather it into the dough. Mix for about 1 minute, then let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the butter in 4 pieces and work into dough, one piece at a time while mixing. After mixing about 4 minutes, the dough will change from sticky to tacky and eventually come off the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in more flour to make it do so.
4. When the dough is smooth, add the meat pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed. Then gently mix in the cheese until it too is evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
5. Ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough increases in size by at least 1 1/2 times.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and leave as 1 piece for 1 large loaf or divide into 2 pieces for smaller loaves. Bake in 1 large or 2 small loaf pans by misting the pans with spray oil, shaping the dough, and placing it in the pans. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover.
7. Proof for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough just reaches the top of the pans.
8. Place pans in a 350'F (177'C) oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until the center of the loaves registers 185-190'F (85'C). The dough will be golden brown on top and on the sides, and the cheese will ooze out into crisp little brown pockets.
9. When the bread is done, remove the bread from the oven and from the pans and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.
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