Every Easter for the past six years, I’ve posted a recipe for hot cross buns, so rather than post version number seven this year, I decided to branch out and explore another kind of Easter bread: the Italian Crescia al Formaggio, an egg-rich bread loaded with parmigiano reggiano and spiced with cracked black pepper.
I’ve been on a bit of a bread baking kick lately (by which I mean I’ve made bread twice this month, but that’s twice more than I have any other month in the past year) and I’m reminded of why I love it so much. Homemade bread rocks. Taking flour, yeast, and water (and in the case of Crescia al Formaggio, some butter, eggs, and about $10-worth of imported Italian parmesan cheese – it’s a special occasion bread for sure) and turning it from raw ingredients into a gorgeous loaf of delicious bread is like having a super power. And no, I’m not hyperbolizing (much).
Crescia al Formaggio in particular is pretty spectacular: instead of kneading the high hydration dough with a dough hook, you beat it with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer until it is shiny and stretchy, giving it an amazing light and fluffy yet chewy and shreddable texture. Combined with the savoury, umami-rich parmesan, the end result is a loaf of bread that slices like a dream and makes the best toast imaginable. And though I’m still going to make a batch of hot cross buns this year (I have my eye on Aimee’s maple version), if you were to present this bread at your Easter breakfast table instead, I am quite sure that no one would be complaining….