The Easter Bread of Le Marche

Crescia al Formaggio 

Let me say from the onset that this is not one of the Bartolini Clan’s recipes. Well, at least I didn’t think so. In any event, I think you’ll be surprised when you learn where it came from. I know I was …

*     *     *

Crescia al Formaggio

 *     *     *

You may recall last Christmas I posted a baccalà recipe called Baccalà alla Marchigiana, in honor of Zia and her Mother-in-Law, Nonna. Shortly after it was posted, I began getting referrals from a website called Scoop.It. I followed the links back and within that website is another that highlights Le Marche, the district of Italy that Mom’s family, the Bartolini, came from. I was very surprised to see that our baccalà recipe was listed in a collection of Le Marche’s Christmas Eve dishes. Well, of course I subscribed and now I receive an email every week and depending upon the content, I may check out that week’s posts. Nothing unusual here, eh?

Last week, I received one such email and it featured the traditional Easter bread of Le Marche, Crescia al Formaggio. I’d never heard of this bread and just had to check it out. Shaped somewhat like a traditional Italian Christmas panettone, this bread is an egg bread that is loaded with cheese. Since this wasn’t a recipe of the site’s owner, Mariano Pallotinni,  a link was provided to its origin. I took the link and, once there, I immediately checked out the recipe and liked what I saw. I was especially pleased to see that I already had all the ingredients needed, meaning there’d be no run to the store on a cold, rainy day. So, not wishing to lose the page, I went to the URL to bookmark it. That’s when I noticed the website responsible for this authentic Marchigiani Easter bread was none other than the King Arthur Flour Co. website!!!

Once I got over the shock, I remembered that I’ve relied on the KAF website for other breads and the results were always good and, most importantly, consistent. Why not give this one a go? Well, I did and it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a new bread recipe as much as I enjoyed this one. Although the dough bears the characteristic yellow of an egg bread, there’s no mistaking that there’s cheese in the loaf, as your kitchen soon fills with the aroma of cheese bread baking in the oven. Nor is there anything shy about the flavor of cheese in the finished loaf but, if that’s not enough, there’s also a healthy bit of pepper added to give one’s palate a bit of a bite. No doubt about it, this is a bread I’ll bake again and again, whether or not it’s Easter.

*     *     *

Just chillin’

*     *     *

Oh, yeah. There’s one more thing about this recipe that came as a surprise. Last Friday, I baked the loaf pictured within this post. On Sunday, I spoke with Zia and told her about the bread recipe I found via a Marchigiani website. As soon as I mentioned “Crescia al Formaggio,” Zia recalled the cheese bread that Grandma made at Easter when she and Mom were little girls. Of course, she couldn’t remember exact amounts but the 2 ingredient lists are pretty much the same, except that Grandma used Swiss cheese instead of the Asiago that I added. Considering she was baking this bread during the worst of the Great Depression, we both agreed that Grandma probably used whatever cheese she had on hand. So, for those keeping track, this KAF recipe has now been authenticated by 2 sources. although I honestly cannot believe the path it took to come back to my family’s kitchens.

Before I send you to the websites, I want to clarify a couple of things. The recipe calls for 1¼ cups of cheese and suggests using Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, and/or Asiago cheeses. I combined equal parts of Pecorino and Asiago. Luckily, someone in the KAF Comments section asked for the amount of cheese needed by weight rather than volume. They responded that the required 1¼ cups of cheese equals a weight of 6 oz. With that, I followed the recipe exactly and, as I said, was very happy with the results. Wish I could say the same for my braiding skills. Having neither a panettone nor brioche pan, I followed the suggestion of braiding the dough. As you’ll see, my braid leaves much to be desired. Next time, I’ll follow Grandma’s lead and just make a round loaf.

*     *     *

When Bad Braids Happen To Good Bread Dough

*     *     *

Recipe Links

Mariano Pallotinni’s site, Le Marche and Food

King Arthur Flour Co., Italian Easter Cheese Bread Recipe

*     *     *

But of course …

As I mentioned, I baked this bread on Friday and spoke with Zia about it on Sunday. Later that evening, as I was clearing out a spam folder, I came across a miss-sorted mailing from the King Arthur Flour Co. that highlighted 3 classic Easter breads. You guessed it. One of them was today’s Italian Easter cheese bread.

*     *     *

About these ads

148 thoughts on “The Easter Bread of Le Marche

  1. I’m thinking this is a winner! The braids look fine and give your bread baking loaf ‘character’ all of its own. IT’s unique, probably one of a kind! I absolutely love Aisago cheese, and one of my favourite spots to visit.

    Like this

    • Thank you, Yvette. This is one of the most aromatic loaves I’ve ever baked. There is absolutely no chance of mistaking it for anything other than a cheese bread — which is why I enjoy it so. If you make it, I hope you enjoy it, too.

      Like this

    • I hope you do try it, Roger. It is not at all difficult, unlike some bread recipes, and the payoff is a wonderful loaf. I’m anxious to make more loaves using a variety of cheeses and maybe a few herbs thrown into the mix.

      Like this

  2. That looks amazing and your braid (or “plait” as we British gals call it!) looks perfect. How funny that the recipe did a big loop to come right back to you. I really hope I get some time to make this in the next few days as I love the sound of it. I didn´t make the connection that the family was from Le Marche. One of my dad´s sisters, Mad Zia Sara moved to lived there from Rome when she was widowed. And is living the life of a Very Merry Widow from what we hear…high jinks in Le Marche with the more mature folk!

    Like this

    • Thanks, Tanya. I was surprised to see that 1.25 cups of cheese is added to only 2.5 cups of flour. That’s a high percentage of cheese and explains why this bread is so cheesy. I hope you like it as much as I do.

      I love that you call your Aunt “Mad Zia Sara!” There is much talk over here that Le Marche is beginning to “catch on” among tourists who’ve grown tired of the crowds and prices of Toscana and Amalfi. Maybe your Zia will meet some rich Americano, marry him, and move here to Chicago. You’ll have no choice but to come here for a visit. Now, wouldn’t that be something! :)

      Like this

  3. If that is a complaint about your attempts at braiding a bread then humph, I’m out of here! It looks fantastic!
    The bread is so inviting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bread so eggy and cheesy, and it’s only 8 am and I’m drooling John, which is not an attractive look anytime of day!
    One question – what size pan did you use?

    Like this

    • You’re very kind, Claire. I used a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan, which I think converts to about 23 X 13 cm. This was my first attempt trying this recipe so I don’t know how this loaf compares to others. I do know that I really enjoy the flavor as it is. It can only get better as I get more familiar with the recipe. Well, I hope so, anyway. :)

      Like this

  4. That is an unbelievable story of twists and turns. So glad the recipe has come back to you. I think your loaf turned out beautifully. I love the yellow centre and the golden crust. The addition of cheese and pepper sounds wonderful. I’m sure this would be great with soups or even simply served with even more cheese! As a non-expert in braiding, I think you did an amazing job! xx

    Like this

    • Thanks, Charlie, and the path the recipe took is amazing. Still, if Grandma wants to send me a message, “Bake this bread!”, I wish she would try something a bit more traditional, like appearing in a dream. Email can be so “iffy” at times. :)

      Serving it with soup sounds wonderful. To be honest, I’ve been snacking on it, toasted, and havent’t even buttered it yet. Cheese and pepper in a loaf of bread!!! This is soo my kind of bread. Who needs butter?

      Like this

  5. Talk about twists and turns on getting back to you John! I love your braid and think it is quite clever to it with a crossover section from the centre. I usually braid down from one end. Your kitchen must have smelt heavenly while this loaf was baking. :-) Mandy

    Like this

    • Thanks, Mandy! I just think Grandma really wanted me to bake this bread! I’ve baked plenty of bread but none come close to this loaf’s aroma while it’s baking and again when you slice it. If you like cheese, you’re going to love this bread. :)

      Like this

  6. your loaf of bread looks perfect! I love KAF and go to that site a lot…In fact I have to make an order…their espresso powder in anything chocolate is a must!

    Today I am making the “full pie” pizzagaina! this is my very first attempt to make it myself…I have made it with Mom but now that she is gone, I have to keep the tradition going…Last couple of years my sister made it. This year I am going to try. For some unknown reason, I feel like her hand will be guiding me…<3

    Like this

    • Thanks, Maria. Yeah, KAF is great. What I like most is the consistency of their recipes. If you do as they say, you’ll get a perfect loaf or cake or batch of cookies each and every time.

      I think it wonderful that you’ll be preparing the pizzagaina this year. If we don’t take an active role, our family recipes will vanish. That’s why I started this blog and look how it has turned out. A recipe that had been lost for some 80 years came back to us. Yes, your Mom will be guiding your hand, I’m sure of it, just as I’m sure that Grandma wanted me to “find’ this recipe. Buona Pasqua!

      Like this

  7. An Easter gift from the universe,or heaven if you will- this Cheesy Bread recipe from your grandmother, really, finding its way to you. Your braided bread is fine looking to me, Today we will return to Rocco’s Italian Pastry shop and I am going in to see if there is a Cheese Bread, King Arthur and La Marche were just the channels used to return this recipe to you and your family where it belongs. Looks delicious..

    Like this

    • Thanks, Ruth. I hope you do find some. I started this blog to document the family’s recipes and now it seems to be doing its part to bring more to light. Zia was thrilled to hear about this recipe. It’s nice how things worked out.

      Like this

  8. John! What? You think you can’t braid? After seeing this example, I think you could probably do a loaf in French braids! So funny that the introduction to a beautifully twisted loaf is itself a “twist and turn”-y story! (By the way KAF has never let me down with a disappointing recipe. And clearly they’ve been a good source for decades.) I’ll try “your” bread (and I’ll think of it as yours) when I get back to town. :)

    Like this

  9. Oh this looks tooooooo good! Cheese bread is one of the bestest. Reminds me of the challah loaves I used to make when I was much more adventurous. And having had practice at braiding for years; not afraid of doing it. ;)

    Like this

    • This is a tasty bread, Teri. If you’ve experience with cheese breads, you know what it’s like to put a slice in the toaster. Suddenly your kitchen’s filled with such a great aroma! I’ll be making this bread often. Eventually I may even get the hang of braiding — NOT! :)

      Like this

  10. This bread looks so good! I love how it came back around to your family roots! I love stories like this because they are rare but so great. I had a similar instance with my Grandfathers Polish Sausage recipe! Cheers to you! :)

    Like this

    • Is it amazing? I don’t know how you felt with your Grandfather’s Polish Sausage recipe but I felt like I was supposed to make this bread. Having my Aunt immediately recall her Mother making it for her when she was a little girl only confirmed what I’d felt. “Someone” went through a lot of trouble to bring this recipe to my attention. Cheers! :)

      Like this

    • Thanks, April. It is a fragrant loaf of bread. Too bad it packs a double whammy for you and others with food allergies. I’ve no experience at all with cheese substitutes so I don’t know if a GF & DF version is even possible. I know one thing. If it is possible, you’ll be the one to figure it out. No doubt about it. :)

      Like this

  11. The twisted tunnels of the intertubes! Funny story, delicious-looking bread. You might bring some to the ball game on Sunday if there’s any left over. ;)

    Like this

    • Yeah, I can see us now trying to get through security with a loaf of this bread. You’ve no idea how fragrant it is. And if we got into Wrigley with it, the people seated around us will either love us or hate us. There’s no gray area. XOX John

      Like this

      • Why should this game be any different? I’m having a ball reading the worldwide response to this post, by the way. So cool!

        Like this

        • How true about our fellow residents of Sec 525!!! And isn’t this cool? It is a genuine community populated by some of the nicest people. I lucked out, to be sure.

          Like this

  12. Well i think your braiding looks just fine. i have always loved cheese in a bread but after trying again and again to get it right, and ending up with many soggy messes, i have had to settle for the cheese on TOP of the bread or rolled into the centre of the bread. Now THIS recipe is probably the recipe i have been looking for all my life, Plus (you know) I still have a wheel of parmesan in the cave.. well two but one is dubious.. so I am going to chase down your link and have a look.. Thank you for this one! You know how i am about cheese.. c

    Like this

    • Funny you mention that you’ve tried to make it, Celi. Zia mentioned that, over the years, she tred to recreate Grandma’s bread but, without a recipe, she never got the hang of it and forgot all about it. Now that I know the “traditional” recipe, I can’t wait to experiment with other cheeses and some herbs. I’m sure you’re going t love this bread and it isn’t at all hard to make.

      How I envy you your parmesan! I just don’t have a place to cure it, unless I build a special room. And that isn’t in the cards at all. As it is, I had hoped to cure some sausage and duck breasts in my cellar at the end of Winter but the weather got too warm, too fast. I do intend to give it a try in late Fall. Until then, I’ll drown my sorrows in mascarpone. :)

      Like this

  13. I simply love how food connects us in so many ways and the internet makes it that much easier. I too have been surprised by some of the recipes at KAF and I have been a big fan of their flours for years. They do a good job of paying attention to reader comments and accept recipes submitted by readers…I wonder if that’s how this recipe made its way there?
    The idea of cheesy bread got me to thinking how good it would taste as a toasted sandwich with some smoked turkey–oh yeah, that would be delish! Well done, John.

    Like this

    • Thank you, Judy, and we are in agreement about KAF. I’ve never had a bad result with one of their recipes. To be honest, that loaf of bread went so fast that I didn’t have a chance to even consider making a sandwich. I didn’t even butter it after toasting. I do want to experiment with the shape of the loaf. If it makes a good baguette, I bet some wonderful bruschette would be possible. Fingers crossed!

      Like this

  14. I am such a bread person and this is simply lovely – I think you did a great job braiding it, John! And how funny how it came to be – you were simply meant to make it. And I think I am, too. :)

    Like this

    • As a bread person, Courtney, you’ll love this bread. The recipe isn’t at all involved and there’s simply nothing like the aroma of this bread baking in your oven. It is unbelievable!

      Like this

  15. Like the other commenters before me, I took one look at that lovely loaf and said “wow” out loud! I think your bread…and the braid…is gorgeous, and the cheese to flour ratio sounds perfect to me. Cheesy bread, right up my alley. :) I’ve had fear of bread making, but this one looks too good to not try it! What an interesting path…it really was a meant to be recipe for you!

    Like this

    • Thank you, Betsy, for your kind words. If you’re into cheese breads, this one has your name on it. (Well, it would have had your name on it but the braiding wiped it out.) You can easily make this recipe and you’re going to love the results. My Grandma wouldn’t steer you wrong! :)

      Like this

  16. Well, now it’s my turn to refill my cup of coffee and settle in for a good story this morning!! I think that this recipe must be one of your family’s recipes.. passed on and on until it reached the KAF offices. It has Bartolini written all over it! And I agree.. in the Depression, one would make do with the ingredients on hand. It almost seems like this recipe was calling out to you, desperate to get back in the hands where it originated.. and very capable hands yours are! I loved this story, from the twisting tale of the errant recipe to the twisting of the braided bread. I’m just going through a mental checklist to see if I have the ingredients to make this today.. we’ve a snow storm on its way and this would be the perfect recipe for comfort. AND.. it’s the only way I’m going to get to taste a slice.. unless I get on that flight with BAM;) xo Smidge

    Like this

    • Thanks, Barb, for the compliments. I hope, by now, the storm was nothing more than a threat and you’ve no more snow on the ground than you had when you woke up this morning. I, also, hope you’re baking a loaf of this bread. Your kitchen will be filled with the aroma of cheese bread baking. I loved it!

      It is funny how this recipe found its way back to us. I’d never heard Mom nor Zia mention this bread. I no sooner mentioned the name than ZIa started talking about Grandma baking this for them. I was so surprised, as was she. She’s off to visit her son and DIL for Easter. I hope they’ll bake it but, if not, she and I will bake a loaf when I visit her next time. She’s going to love it! I hope you will, too.

      Like this

      • Lots and lots of snow and a white out.. I’ll venture out for the ingredients tomorrow… if there aren’t drifts by then:( This loaf in my oven would be wonderful right about now!!

        Like this

        • Sorry, Barb, about the snowfall. I hope by now the worst has moved on. I hope the roads are clear for you tomorrow so that you can get out and about. This, too, shall pass …

          Like this

  17. Hello There, this is Mariano Pallottini. I really enjoyed the post and I want to thank you for the mention. I live in Le Marche in a small town called Carassai (less than 1100 people). I am the first and only “curator about Le Marche Region of Italy”, this mean I select contents online and aggregate them for my followers. This is my contribution to promote my Land worldwide. I eat the crescia al formaggio every Easter (pity once in a year) and I can tell you this is very typical with PECORINO Cheese, just because was the only cheese produced in the area from ages. I have posted that recipe because was interesting for me to find a recipe from US with some variation. It is difficault to find traditional recipes in English, but I can try to translate some of them. Immediatly I will try to find another Easter recipe about CACIUNI or PECU’, so keep following me:
    http://www.scoop.it/t/le-marche-and-the-food
    http://www.scoop.it/t/wines-and-people
    http://www.scoop.it/t/le-marche-another-italy
    http://www.scoop.it/t/le-marche-fashion
    http://www.scoop.it/t/le-marche-properties-and-accommodation

    Like this

    • How do you do, Mariano? This is such a pleasure! My Mother’s parents came from Corinaldo, my Father’s parents from San Marino. Mom’s sister, Zia, married a man whose family came from Fabriano. It has been about 80 years since this bread was made for us. Zia was very happy that I found it through your website. When I visit her next time, I’m going to show her your webpages. I am sure she will be very interested. I enjoy your blog and read all of the posts. One day I hope to get back to Italy and, this time, I’m going to visit Le Marche!

      Thank you for creating such a great blog about Le Marche and for bringing Crescia al Formaggio back to my family! Buona Pasqua!

      Like this

      • It is a pleasure to hear these words about Le Marche. I feel still alive in all of you the link with our beloved land. Listen, the author of this blog: http://www.theblissfuladventurer.com , is coming in italy to film a tv program, I will help Michael, this is the name, to select things to do and to see here in Le Marche. He is coming now for a quick visit (May the 10th) and will come back with the “production” maybe in summer. I think It could be GREAT to film all of you coming in Le Marche following in the rediscovering the ROOTS. I know it is impossible but the idea is so nice…
        Let me know what you think.
        I am so proud to be followed by you and your family, now I know exactly what I am doing with my “curation”.
        Buona Pasqua a tutti voi, here my present for you: http://rosemarieandthyme.blogspot.it/2011/09/i-cacioni-calcioni-o-caciu.html

        Like this

        • A movie about Le Marche would be interesting and filming people when they return is a wonderful idea! ! I hope he is successful and his movie becomes a reality.

          Thank you for the link to the blog containing the cacioni recipes. This, too, I will show to Zia. I posted Mom’s recipe last year, although we called them cacione. Did I spell that incorrectly? If you would like to see how my Mom prepared them, you can see my post here: http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2011/02/16/cacione/

          I noticed that you’ve highlighted our Trippa recipe. Thank you for that and for the work you do promoting Le Marche.

          Like this

  18. As soon as I saw your post title, I thought – John beat me to it!! I so wanted to post an Easter bread recipe this year but with all that is going on in my life, I just couldn’t get around to it! My mother also did not bake Easter Bread (just the cookies with the eggs) but I began making one years back. It didn’t have the cheese in it; this looks very different, but did have the eggs tucked into the braiding. Which, btw, is very nicely done. You’re just too hard on yourself, John!! I always thought KAF recipes required using their flour and if you didn’t the texture would be different? Your cut slice looks gorgeous. Perfectly done.
    I do wish you a very happy Easter John.

    Like this

    • I thought that someone would have posted this once I eventually found it on KAF. No matter, though, because I was still going to post it for my family to have access to it. This recipe was “lost” for about 80 years and I want to make sure that it’s written down. Besides, Zia was thrilled when I told her about this “new” recipe I found.

      I’ve seen “your” bread with the eggs in it, although Mom never baked it. Like your Mother, Mom dealt in cookies primarily. I always thought your bread looked so festive! I hope you do eventually post the recipe — although there’s no rush. Your plate is pretty full as it is.

      Thanks for your (always) kind comments, Linda, and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter!

      Like this

    • oh one other thing…have you ever made the “basket cheese”? you know the farmers cheese…I need a recipe, cause I am not paying what I paid this year for it…Wow it was a lot of money!!!

      Like this

      • Although I do not make it — yet! — one of the websites I use as a source has a recipe. It’s really very easy and you should have no problems. 2 things to consider: the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of rennet. Most sources will equate one teaspoon of rennet to 1 Junket tablet. The recipe also directs you to use cheese molds. I make my own from empty tin cans. You’ll need at least one large can, either a large tuna fish can or canned tomatoes. Remove both ends but save one. This will work just as good as any mold & save your money. Never having made it, I do not know how much cheese you’ll get from this recipe. One large can may not be enough.

        I hope this helps you. Here’s the URL. Good luck & I’m here if you’ve questions … John

        http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/39-Basket-Cheese.html

        Like this

  19. It looks gorgeous John!
    I love how everybody is posting these wonderful recipes for Easter. I still don’t know what I’m doing and I’m running out of time… Anyway, as usual, your recipe is another hit ;)

    Like this

    • Thank you so much, Giovanna! I guess I was too new to this “blogging thing” last Easter to see all of the wonderful recipes. This year, though, it has been such a treat! The recipes are delicious and the customs are so interesting. You, my Friend, have been instrumental by teaching us all about your culture and heritage, no matter the holiday. I, for one, appreciate it very much. :)

      Like this

  20. Had I not seen your pictures of braiding the raw dough, I would never have suspected a “bad braid”, John. Furthermore, I think your bread looks lovelier than the King Arthur Flour version! I love how light and airy the bread turned out. Dare I say it’s time to get a panettone nor brioche pan? I think I found my bread recipe for Easter dinner with my family next weekend! Thanks John.

    Like this

    • Thank you, Eva. This is an easy bread to make, braiding aside. :) I hope you’ll like it as much as I do. In fact, I’ve already bought cheese so that I can make another loaf. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with the recipe. :)

      Like this

      • I made the bread yesterday, John and I dare say it is one of the BEST breads I have ever made. I halved the recipe and wish I had doubled it instead. I took it to a friends house for dinner. We just tore it apart from the little braids and had it with a lovely selection of cheese! I was surprised at how light and airy it turned out, considering the lack of expansion during the 2 hours of proofing yet the last 2 hours it doubled in size and filled my little loaf pan perfectly. I did a combo of Pecorino 2/3 and Parmesan 1/3 which worked out wonderfully. I’m making another one for dinner next week, thank you!
        PS, I just braided mine in the traditional braiding method (like braiding hair) and it was gorgeous!

        Like this

        • Thanks, Eva, for coming back to tell me about your experience. Isn’t it a great tasting loaf of bread? Like you, I was surprised by the initial raise and wondered whether my yeast was good. No matter. The end result was delicious and I’m so glad that you had similar results. Last Saturday night, I made 2 more loaves and gave one away. I foresee myself making this bread quite often in the future. :)

          Like this

      • I do hope you don’t mind, John, I am planning on blogging about it. I just feel it is our epicurian obligation to spread the word about this exceptional bread. ;-)

        Like this

        • Of course I don’t mind, Eva, and that would be true even if you didn’t care for it. I’m just glad that you did! I will say, though, that I promise to finally read the Bloggers’ Handbook. This is the first I’ve heard of an “epicurian obligation.” I wonder what else I’ve been missing. :)

          Like this

    • Thanks, David, and french toast sounds like a great use for this bread. Having only made it once, I still haven’t quite figured out all of the uses for it yet. I was happy just toasting it and eating it plain. If you make it, please do come back and tell us about it. I’m very interested. :)

      Like this

  21. Mmmmm … This post comes just as I’ve started to think about making something special for Easter, and I had bready things in mind. This might be just the ticket- we’re all pretty big into cheese. And just for the record, I also think your braiding looks great. (And oh, the words “panettone pan” are evocative.)

    Like this

    • Thank you! All of you have been so kind about my braiding. Yes, if you like cheese, this bread is for you! If you do not like the pecorino or asiago that I used, I’m sure you can use cheese or cheeses that you prefer. As I’ve said to others, the aroma in your kitchen is just fantastic. You’ll see! :)

      Like this

  22. Oh my! That is beautiful bread!

    I am so crazy about this post….the bread, the story behind it, love! I can almost smell it baking. Wonderful! I love this kind of baking, and I haven’t made bread in forever. I will definitely give this a try. Thank you!

    Like this

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. Unlike some breads, this one is pretty easy to make. And it will fill your house with the scent of cheese bread. For me, that’s heaven on earth. :)

      Like this

  23. I am not a bread person.. I’m not sure if you knew that John. Yes, I know its a crime lol. But your bread really looks amazing. I love how it turned out and it actually looks soft, moist, and decadent. And I have no idea how a bread can look decadent.. it just does to me lol

    Like this

  24. I think your braiding looks good, John! The end-product is very appealing to me. Cheese isn’t hard to “get rid of” in our house, but it’s true sometimes I have just little bits of peccorino or romano…and I love to bake bread, so this is really a great recipe. I take it one of the recommended baking methods is in a brioche pan? I have one, and think it often makes a uniformly pretty loaf that doesn’t vary from time to time. I look forward to baking this…maybe even for this weekend if I can find just a few hours. And BTW…completely aside, but I Love Lucy Live is coming to Chicago…think about it :-) Debra

    Like this

    • Thanks, Debra! This bread is made for bread lovers, no doubt about it. KAF suggests using a brioche pan if a panettone pan is unavailable. When you go to that website, you’ll see a more traditionally formed loaf.

      Thanks for the Lucy info. Tix aren’t on sale as yet but I’ll be first in line when they are! :)

      Like this

  25. John, I think your braided bread is beautiful and I am sure it is delicious. I was thinking how beautiful it was when I got to the second photograph (before I reached your disparaging comments).

    Like this

    • Thanks, Sharyn. Actually, that was my 3rd attempt at braiding the dough. The 1st two were unbraided and I started over.Thank goodness the dough is very “forgiving.” :)

      Like this

  26. We are always our worst critics.When I first saw the braided loaf, I gasped (with delight!) and thought, “I could never make my bread look that beautiful!” and then I read your critique and couldn’t believe what I was reading. It’s a gorgeous loaf that I would think to find on the shelf at some artisanal bakery.

    I am so happy for your family that you have found this recipe and you are “reunited”. The Asiago and Pecorino combination sounds to die for. Have a wonderful Easter John.

    Like this

    • You are very kind, Geni, thank you. I really lucked out with this bread. It hits every note I’d hoped it would. And you’re right. The Pecorino and Asiago were the perfect match.

      Here’s wishing you and your family a happy Easter, Geni.

      Like this

  27. That’s too funny how you found out the recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Co. As long as it looks and tastes great though, why not!? And I wouldn’t call that a bad braid at all, I think you did a fantastic job, John. I’ve yet to attempt braiding…let alone making homemade bread! So I’m way behind on this. Anyways, the bread sounds delicious. :)

    Like this

    • I was really surprised when Zia recalled her Mother baking this bread some 80 years ago! I’m just glad it’s back in the family, braids or no. When you decide to give bread baking a try, Caroline, and we both know you will, this should be one of the first on your list. You’ll love it!

      Like this

  28. Hi John thank you for the nice comment…We could not wait and had to cut into it…it was really good if I have to say so myself…

    thank you so much for the link to the basket cheese…I am really going to try it next year…I saved my little basket>VBG<

    Like this

    • A saint would not have been able to resist cutting into that masterpiece!

      I’m glad you found the link useful. I saw the basket in your photo but didn’t mention it, fearing that you might have already thrown it away and wanting to give you a substitute. Depending upon how much cheese you need, you do not have to use a full gallon of milk. The recipe can easily be halved or quartered. Goo dluck when you decide to give it a try! :)

      Like this

    • Thanks, Greg. That’s kind of you to say. When Katherine posted the bread casserole last night, I wondered if this bread could be used. Granted, the bread’s cheese ingredients may need to be changed a bit but I think having a cheese-flavored bread as the casserole’s base would be great.

      Like this

  29. A slice of that cheese bread fresh from the oven with just a thin spread of butter ………. heavenly!
    What’s wrong with your braiding? Looks like a loaf of bread with “big bucks” price tag.

    Like this

    • Thanks, Norma. I toasted the slices, having them as a snack or with meals — and I never buttered them. With every other bread I’ve baked, I’ve left butter out, on the counter, and slathered a slice as soon as I could. This bread, with its cheese flavor, was fine as is. :)

      Like this

  30. Thanks, Jed. When I next visit Zia, my Aunt, I’m going to make this bread for her and the first loaf will be with Swiss, a tribute to Grandma. The next one, though, will be with Pecorino & Asiago. They make a great combo! You should give this bread a try.

    Like this

  31. It doesn’t get any better than asiago and bread, well until you toss in the pecorino. Delicious combo John. And I love KAF. We stopped in their bakery this past summer. Talk about a feast for the eyes and mouth! Also thank you for posting the pictures of how to shape the bread. That is always where I’m most challenged.

    Like this

    • Thanks, Kristy. I’m sure you’d like this bread and it’s easier to make than some of the others I’ve tried. But, hold the phone! You’ve been to the mountaintop? You’ve been to the KAF bakery? Do you realize what this means? I have a cookbook that was touched by someone that touched the hallowed walls of KAF? I’ll have to place the cookbook in my safety deposit box before word gets out and I’m inundated by bakers hoping for a glimpse of this relic. It will be our secret …

      Like this

  32. This is a great looking Easter bread. My mom would buy the bread or have one of our aunts or Italian paisano’s make it for us. Baking is not her thing. I was just telling my husband that I need to learn how to make Easter bread to keep the tradition going with our boys, it’s so easy to get caught up into our daily lives and letting things get in way of baking traditions (mainly for me and my family). Today the kids have the day off for Good Friday and I am going to attempt to make this. So glad you found the reicpe from KAF site, I too like their recipes! I’m a carbaholic! Have a Happy Easter! :)

    Like this

    • Hi, Lisa! I can only imagine how hectic your life is most days between raising 3 boys, a career, and running the household. The traditions will have to wait until your boys are a little more self-reliant. I think I was about 25 when I hit that mark. :)

      I hope you didn’t have any problems following the recipe and that you all enjoy the bread. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Easter, Lisa!

      Like this

    • Well, next time I’m shaping it like Grandma did, a round loaf! If you do make it Marie, I hope you like it as much as I do. In the meantime, have a wonderful Easter and may the Easter Bunny be extra generous to your Li’l Angel & Niko.

      Like this

  33. Pingback: Kid-Sister’s Crescia al Formaggio | just a smidgen

  34. Wow! To think of all the twists and turns you went through to get this amazing bread and then to find the recipe in the span folder!
    I love the color and the crumb of your bread John and I have to say that your braiding is just wonderful, the final bread looks so tempting and unique

    Like this

    • Thank you, Sawsan. I’m glad I found this recipe and was surprised to learn of the recipe’s connection to my family’s past. I made it again on Saturday, giving a loaf to friends and keeping one for myself. I hope you try it one day. I think you’ll like it. :)

      Like this

  35. Pingback: Sunshine Award Time « Images by T.Dashfield

    • Well, there’s noting sweet about this loaf of bread, Christina. With so much cheese, it is very savory and, for me, very enjoyable. You should give it a try. Bet you’ll like it!

      Like this

  36. I first ran across a recipe for a similar cheese bread in my Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook, the French cheese bread called Natte which uses Swiss or Gruyere cheese. I’ve never made it but I’ll have to give them a comparison for ingredients and technique. Both the braid and traditional star pan presentations look stunning.

    Like this

    • It was a surprise for me to learn my Grandmother made a close version of this bread some 80 years ago. She used bits of Swiss cheese in hers, along with the Romano. If you’ve not made Natte before, I suggest you go for it. If it is anything like this bread, you’re going to really like it. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Like this

      • If I make a cheese bread, I’ll make this one as it looks and sounds wonderful. First though, I have to give away the rest of the bagels I made yesterday and the pork crackling biscuits that I made today. There is TOO TOO much bread in my house for one person to consume and no room in my chest freezer. :)

        And, my nephew is coming back to town this weekend for the next 4 weeks and mentioned pretzels.

        Like this

        • Do I ever know what you mean! Some weeks ago I made cream cheese and bagels. Although both were good, just how much can 1 person eat? I tend to give away plenty of food and don’t prepare many of the dessert recipes unless I’m having people over for dinner. I hope you enjoy this bread. Please comeback to let me know. Thanks & enjoy your nephew’s visit.

          Like this

  37. Pingback: Crescia al Formaggio {Belated Easter Cheese Bread} « Misadventures in Cooking

  38. Pingback: Chorizo with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar « Kitcheninspirations

  39. Great looking bread! The King Arthur site is quite good, and always a source of ideas. Even though I don’t always agree with their recipes, every one I’ve tried works – it’s just that I want to do things differently! Anyway, this bread is definitely worth trying, and I loved the story. Thank you.

    Like this

    • Thanks, John, for always leaving such great comments and compliments. This bread was such a surprise last year. Finding out that my Grandmother baked a similar loaf was really something. I featured it as this week’s blast from the past to serve as a reminder to me to bake it again. It’s aroma will fill you kitchen in a wonderful way. And I do agree about KA recipes. Every one that I’ve tried has “worked”. That’s astounding considered my pathetic baking skills and track record. :)

      Like this

  40. John, your Easter bread is gorgeous.I am not a bread baker. I wish I was. And reading about the aroma I can imagine how wonderful it smelled. I am dreaming of cod, homemade pasta, and a warm slice of Easter bread!!

    Like this

    • Thank you so much, Judy, for leaving such a nice comment.
      I am sure that you could make this loaf of bread. The King Arthur recipes always work if you follow their directions. And considering those marvelous cupcake creations you make all of the time, this bread would be a snap! That you don’t have a cupcake bakery is a shame! You are one talented baker.

      Like this

      • Thank you John! You are wonderful! If I did own a bakery I would invite young adults/children who don’t have the luxury of experiencing cafe & bakery style desserts. I would never make a living, lol. I enjoy giving the cupcakes away and making others smile. That is my payment. Thank you again for always being very kind!

        Like this

  41. Pingback: Grilled Salted Cod | from the Bartolini kitchens

  42. I think your braid looks lovely with those plump golden curves just begging to be pinched off and gobbled. This is one of those times I wish the interwebs had smell-o-vision!

    PS: I love KAF, their recipes are delicious and so well thought out.

    Like this

    • Thanks, Cam. It was a bit lopsided but, to tell you the truth, the aroma of fresh bread and cheese was so tantalizing that I didn’t care what the loaf looked like. I cannot recommend this enough. It is that good and I have KAF to thank. Not only did I get a good recipe but it triggered a nice memory for my Zia and her Mom, my Grandma. Not bad for a loaf of bread. :)

      Like this

  43. I just posted an Easter bread recipe today John and came to have a peep at yours at the recommendation of Barb Profiterole. YUM. Love the idea of adding cheese. I also love your braiding, as it gives the bread an unmistakable home-made touch! I think this bread is pretty forgiving anyway – once it puffs up to its’ golden aromatic goodness, the plaiting goes unnoticed. Will definitely give this one a try as my boys are now in love with Easter bread.

    Like this

    • Thank you very much. This bread gives off such a nice aroma while in the oven. That cheese sets this one apart from other loves that I’ve baked.And I think your loaf would be a fantastic one to prepare, as well. The orange and currants in a brioche-like bread must be delicious and certainly worthy of being served at a holiday dinner. Making 2 loaves and using 1 for bread pudding is genius! (As was that post’s title, by the way.)

      Like this

  44. I have a suggestion… place your dough on a cookie sheet or like the “old days” a cast iron fry pan… I have been using an air bake cookie sheet the last few years, less chance of burning… but for years my mom used four in the bottom of the cast iron… just mound the dough and using egg yokes give it a wash and bake. My mom made “a doll for the girls and a horse for the boys” Kind of looked like a ginger bread girl then the egg on the stomach with dough rolled in an X to hold on the egg…. really just for decoration. she would put on a few sprinkles and raisins for eyes…. lots of memories. My gmother came to the US in 1903 and the forth generation has just taken over the baking… I have been looking for this Easter Bread recipe with Romano and fresh cheese (basket cheese). My relatives were from Sulmona, Abruzzo….love to hear from anyone who has the recipe.

    Like this

    • That’s a great suggestion, especially for one like myself who is braiding-challenged. When I spoke with Zia about this, she mentioned that Grandma used Pecorino Romano and small chunks of whatever cheese she had available. She remembered one with Swiss specifically. I bet fresh cheese would be fantastic in this bread. As it is, I love the flavor and aroma that the Romano cheese gives the bread. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave your suggestion. I’ll have to give it a try this year.

      Like this

  45. Pingback: Braised Lamb Shanks | from the Bartolini kitchens

    • I hope you do add some cheese to your bread dough or try this one. Either way, the aroma wafting through your kitchen will drive you crazy. It really is that good, Shanna. I, also, like the hint of pepper but it may prove too much for the youngest of your dinner party. :)

      Like this

  46. I saw Mariano’s post about this bread and decided to try it for Easter- my mother in law’s family is from Le Marche. Now that I see your version braided, that’s how I will do mine. I think your loaf looks just great!

    Like this

    • Hello, Lani. I hope you do try and enjoy this much as we all do. It’s great and the hint of pepper is, for me, fantastic!
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

      Like this

  47. Hello!! We have had this bread in our family, as my grandfather was from Le Marche. NO ITALIAN I have ever met outside my family has heard of this bread! This was not a problem until today. My mother unfortunately recently passed away and I have taken over the Easter baking duties–but we cannot find the recipe among her things! So, I resorted to Googling “Cheese bread from Le Marche”–and brought me to your site! Am so happy to have found this and now want to sit with your blog rather than bake!! Of note, the family never braided this bread. It was baked in an enamel roasting pan; recently my mom took to baking it in a Turk’s head; she thought it baked more evenly that way.Happy Easter to all!!

    Like this

    • Welcome, Deb. Sorry to learn of your Mom’s passing. I’m sure your family misses her very much.
      Since writing this post, I’ve made this loaf several times and only braid it if I’m having guests. For myself, I’ll form the dough in a circle or oblong shape and place it on a baking sheet for the 2nd rise. A Turk’s head sounds like a great way to do it. I hope this recipe lives up to your expectations. It’s been very well-received whenever I’ve served it.
      Thank you for taking the time to visit and leave a comment.

      Like this

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s