Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pizza al formaggio di Pasqua

This year I decided to go on the Easter sweat and savory bread marathon. I finally succeed in getting a good pizza al formaggio. This cheese bread is very common in Umbria and Marche. I think something similar is also baked in Abruzzi (fiadone) and in Toscana (ciaccia, in Val D'Orcia with saffron and mixed spices). From what I read, this bread is called torta al formaggio in Umbria it's slightly denser in texture and traditionally without cubed cheese in it, just a mix of grated pecorino and parmigiano, in Marche it is called pizza al formaggio or crescia di Pasqua, it has more open crumbs and pieces of cheese which give the distinctive eyes to the crumb.

I think the recipe I come out with it closer to the marchigiana version. I didn't have the proper mold, which would be a tall tin cake mold with a bigger diameter at the top (kind of a charlotte mold) so I used a regular cakes spring form 20 cm in diameter with a parchment paper collar. For a 20 cm diameter mold I noticed that the amount of flour I should use it's in the range of the 350 g flour. As a preamble I should also add that as starter I have been using a biga which I have been refreshing daily for the last 20 days, it not like a stiff wild starter but it's working fine. If you don't have a wild starter, or a biga like mine sitting in your kitchen, you could make 12 hours before a "biga" starter mixing about 50 g strong flour and 30 g water and the tip of a knife of yeast, and let it proof covered at room temperature overnight

330 g strong bread flour (the one I used had a 12,9% protein content)
80 g biga refreshed daily (or at least a 12 hour biga)
70 g grated cheese grana or parmigiano and pecorino
65 g of emmental cheese (or better a young pecorino) cubed
2 whole eggs
1 yolk
30 g lard (if you don't have it make a mix of butter and oil)
15 g oil
25 g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Saf Gold or other yeast (if you use fresh caked yeast about 10 g)

I kneaded the biga in chunks with 80 g of flour and enough water to make a medium soft dough. Left to double in bulk (it took about 2 and half hours). Meanwhile I beated the eggs and the yolk with the grated cheeses and the salt. Left to rest at room temperature. I soften the butter and lard and mixed with the oil.
Once the dough was doubled in bulk I put it in the stand mixer in chunks with the remaining flour, the egg mixture, the fats and the yeast, I had to add more water, sorry I didn't measure. When it was almost ready I added to the running machine the cheese in cubes.

As I previously said I used a regular spring form, buttered and reinforced with a parchment collar. The dough before rising was a little less the half of the height of the mold.
I covered loosely with wrap and let it proof in a warm place until it reached the rim of the mold. It took 6 hours.

I covered it looosely with foil and baked in a preheated oven at 170 C with vent (I don't have a static option) after 30 minutes I uncovered and let it cook and get a nice golden color about other 15 minutes. I tested the cooking with a long skewers. Let cool on a rack.

It is usually eaten on Easter with salumi or by its own.

1 comment:

Byte64 said...

Hello Franci,
i wonder why you stopped posting, your recipes are so yummy!

Please keep cooking and writing as well...