Easter Cheese Bread
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the bowl and counter
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the cake pan
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 pound mild, young sheep’s milk cheese, such as Marzolino, Fiore
Sardo, or other, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place 1 cup of the flour and the yeast in a food processor. With the motor
running, add as much warm (110°F) water as needed to form a dough that
rides the blade (about 1/2 to 1 cup); process 45 seconds. Turn out into
a floured bowl, shape into a ball, and cover.
Let rise at room temperature 1 hour, or until doubled.
Process the remaining 2 cups of flour, the salt, 3 of the eggs, and the olive
oil with the risen dough in the food processor until a dough forms, about 30
seconds, adding as much room-temperature water (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)
as needed to make a dough that rides the blade. Turn out onto the counter.
Knead in the Grana, Pecorino, sheep’s milk cheese, and pepper until the
dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it, seam side down, in a generously oiled
6-inch round spring form cake pan with 4-inch-high sides. Cover and let rise
at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife, making a shallow cross. Beat
the remaining egg and brush the dough with it (you will not need all of it).
Bake in the preheated oven 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisp
and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped. Unmold onto a rack and serve hot
or warm. (Micol Negrin, Rustico Regional Italian Country