It’s Easter week, so we thought that we should make something that’s traditionally eaten at this time of year for this edition of Cakes & Bakes. We plumped for Crescia – an Italian cheese loaf.
You can use any hard cheese – parmesan, pecorino and so on.
The dough is simple to make and easy to handle.
It’s baked in a tall tin so it has a distinctive shape, like a panettone – the smell as it cooked was amazing!
A very handsome loaf wouldn’t you agree?
The bread is light and airy with a wonderful flavour. It’s traditionally eaten with cold meats. I’m vegetarian, but Justin volunteered to test this combination and tried it with some of his fennel salami – a perfect match he thought. It also works really well with various cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables, oil & balsamic vinegar etc, etc, etc.
We can highly recommend this loaf – and we certainly won’t be waiting till next Easter to make another one!
- 300g grated hard cheese (such as Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano)
- 5 eggs
- 1tsp cracked black pepper
- pinch of salt
- 150g olive oil
- 150ml warm milk
- 1tbsp yeast
- ½tsp granulated sugar
- 600g strong bread flour
- Put the grated cheese into a large mixing bowl
- Break the eggs into a bowl or large measuring jug. Add the salt & pepper and whisk slightly
- Add the egg mixture to the grated cheese, add the olive oil and combine
- In a measuring jug, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, add the sugar and allow to stand for 10 minutes
- Add ⅓ of the flour to the cheese, egg & oil mixture and combine
- Add ⅓ of the dissolved yeast mixture and combine
- Alternate adding & combining the flour and yeast mixtures until it has all been incorporated and you have a smooth paste that comes away from the edges of the bowl
- Cover the bowl with cling film/Saran wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size
- Grease a high-sided baking tin such as a panettone tin (I used the tall bottom pan from my 3-tier steamer)
- Generously flour a work surface, turn out the dough and knock back before putting it into the high-sided baking tin and again covering with cling film/Saran wrap
- Allow the dough rise again until it has doubled in size (about 45 minutes to an hour)
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes away clean
- Remove the loaf from the tin straight away and allow to cool on a wire rack