Friday, August 10, 2007

What is Lard Bread?

Now Playing: Bat For Lashes cover of Bruce's "I'm On Fire"

Caputo's (460 Court St) is the go to Italian deli in the neighborhood and with good reason. Their grilled artichokes and red peppers, salty mozzarella, olives and well, basically everything in the store, is quite delicious. Apparently and unbeknownst to me, they are also considered to have the best lard bread in New York. I am not really sure what lard bread is or for that matter, what it tastes like but my curiosity is piqued. I was able to find a recipe and have posted below. It sounds pretty good but think I might skip the long process of bread making and skip down to Caputo's again this weekend.

Neapolitan Lard Bread ( Casatiello )
1 pound 5 ounces all-purpose flour
8 ounces lard
1.8 ounces active yeast
6 large whole eggs, unshelled
1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano
3 ounces diced salame
  1. Combine the lard, yeast, and salt with the flour, adding as much water as necessary to get a rather soft dough. Work it steadily for about 10 minutes. Place it into a bowl previously sprinkled with flour, cover with a woolen cloth and leave it to raise in a lukewarm place.
  2. After about 1 1/2 hours, when the dough has leavened, place it on a pastry board, punch it with your hands to stop it swelling and flatten it out in a 0.3-in.-high rectangle shape. Grease it with lard, add the diced salame and sprinkle with a little pepper, Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano. Fold the dough in two, grease the top with some more lard, and sprinkle with more Parmigiano and pepper. Fold in two again, flatten out and grease some more. Repeat until you have used up all the lard. Now take a small piece of dough the size of a bun, grease the outside with lard, and place it to leaven separately in a bowl. This will help you place the eggs onto the top of the casatiello. Fold the dough onto itself to make a stick. Grease a round baking pan with a hole in the middle (8 to12-inches diameter). Place the dough stick inside it joining the ends and squeezing them so they adhere well to each other. Put the dough away to leaven for another 3 hours.
  3. Gently wash the shells of the raw eggs in lukewarm water and dry them. When the dough has risen, place 6 eggs on top of it arranging them at even distances from each other and with the tips pointing toward the center of the mold. Take the small piece of dough you kept aside and make a stick as thin as a pencil. Chop the stick into 12 small bits and arrange them in 2 at a time cross-like on the eggs making the ends stick to the dough.
  4. The casatiello is now ready. Put it in an almost cold oven and bake over a medium heat for about one hour. When it has turned an even color, take it out of the oven and let it cool before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

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