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Mar 12, 2024

Casatiello Napolitano (An Italian Easter Bread)

Casatiello Napolitano is a savory Italian Easter bread with an enriched dough filled with salami and cheese. 

Casatiello Napolitano (An Italian Easter Bread) in panettone papers.

This casatiello is wonderful on its own fresh from the oven, dipped in sauces and soups, and toasted and buttered. 

You could even use it for serving great sandwiches, such as a BLT, turkey, grilled cheese, or a veggie sandwich. After all, sandwich ingredients are already in the bread. 

You could also use it for making cheesy garlic bread! 

Casatiello Napolitano loaves cut in half.

In Italy, Casatiello Napolitano is an Easter bread, served from Holy Saturday to Easter Monday. The traditional meat in the bread is hard salami and the traditional cheese is Pecorino Romano, the sheep's milk cheese also used in cacio e pepe. 

It's traditionally shaped into a ring and topped with whole eggs in their shells, secured with a cross of dough. Often, the meat, cheese, along with some freshly ground black pepper, are rolled up into the dough like you might roll cinnamon rolls. You can also knead the additions into the dough. 

I skipped the eggs on top. Hopefully, the Italian bread police will forgive me! 

The eggs are symbolic of rebirth, the shape is said to symbolize a crown, the rising dough means new life, and the pecorino Romano, made from sheep's milk is also symbolic of life. 

Two Casatiello Napolitano Loaves.

Ingredients in Casatiello Bread:

The dough for this loaf includes bread flour, instant yeast (I used SAF Gold, which performs well with an enriched dough), salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a bit of sugar. This dough also includes milk, butter, eggs, and the rendered fat from the meat. The balance of these dough ingredients produces an easy to work with dough that produces a light yet rich crumb. 

The dough is so easy to shape once it has developed. If it is too sticky, just keep kneading. 

If you want to experiment, note that traditional recipes use lard for the fat, or a combination of lard and olive oil, instead of butter. 

As mentioned, the bread typically includes a filling of salami and Pecorino Romano. Any dry-cured Italian salami or other meat such as cubed prosciutto, ham, or fully-cooked sausage is delicious. 

For the cheese, besides Provolone, I've also tried this bread with Gouda, Gruyère, Asiago, and Cheddar. For these loaves, I used Fontina cheese, which is a fabulous melty cheese with lots of flavor and not as salty as Parmesan. For the meat, I used Genoa salami. 

Casatiello Napolitano (An Italian Easter Bread) slices on a cutting board.

Process for Mixing and Kneading:

What's fabulous about this bread is you can make it, even with its complex flavor, in the morning or afternoon. 

First, mix up a preferment of milk, yeast, and a small amount of flour. Let it sit for just an hour. 

After that, add the rest of the flour, salt, sugar, and eggs and mix with a stand mixer until the mixture is fairly smooth. You can knead by hand, but it will take quite a bit longer. 

Next, add the fat/butter in four stages and mix everything vigorously by hand or with your mixer. When adding the butter, I have my mixer at speed 4 and toss in the butter pieces, one at a time and watch closely to see when it's completely incorporated. 

Finally, add the meat, and then the cheese and mix until just incorporated. The dough will be sticky at the beginning of the process but should be smooth and easy to handle after thoroughly kneaded. 

To Shape and Bake the Bread:

This time, I baked this bread in two panettone paper molds. You can also bake the bread two 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch bread pans

I have also baked the bread in an 8-inch cake pan

Casatiello with a slice removed.

If you bake the dough in a pan, I recommend lining it with parchment paper to prevent the cheese from sticking. 

You could also try baking the bread in a bundt pan or a 10-inch tube pan. 

More Easter Breads:

Pane di Pasqua

Kozunak (Bulgarian Easter Bread)

Crescia al Formaggio

Romanian Easter Bread

Ciambella Mandorlata

Carrot Bread

Casatiello Napolitano toasted in front of a bread basket.

P.S. This bread mades amazing toast. 

Bread Bakers Logo.

More Bread Bakers Easter Breads:

Two loaves of Casatiello Napolitano on a round cutting board.

Casatiello Bread

Casatiello Bread
Yield: 30 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 40 MinInactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 3 H & 25 M
Casatiello Napolitano is a savory Italian Easter bread with an enriched dough filled with salami and cheese.


For the Sponge
  • 2.25 ounces (1/2 cup) unbleached bread flour
  • .33 ounces (1 tablespoon) instant yeast
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) milk or buttermilk, lukewarm (about 100 degrees F)
For the Final Dough
  • 4 ounces (by weight) salami, cut into cubes or slices
  • 16 ounces (3 1/2 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 large room temperature eggs, lightly beaten
  • Rendered fat from the meat plus extra milk to equal 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 6 ounces (by weight) coursely grated or cubed Fontina cheese or other flavorful melty cheese (see post for suggestions)


  1. Combine the sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for one hour.
  2. While the sponge is fermenting, cook the diced salami in a skilled until lightly crisp and some of the fat has rendered. Save the rendered fat.
  3. Add the flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and eggs to the bowl and mix on low with the dough hook until just combined. Stop the mixer to gather the ingredients together with a dough scraper and continue to mix for an additional minute. Cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Continue mixing on speed 2.
  5. When the dough is cohesive, increase the speed to medium low and mix in the salami fat and additional milk until fully combined.
  6. Increase the speed to medium low (speed 4) and add the butter in four stages, making sure each piece is fully combined. Mix for an additional four minutes.
  7. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the meat, and then the cheese.
  8. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a dough rising bucket. Let rise until doubled, about an hour to 90 minutes.
  9. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Spray the insides of two panettone papers with spray oil. Place each dough ball into the papers and mist the tops with spray oil. Cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. When the loaves have doubled, 60 to 90 minutes, remove the plastic wrap, place them on a sheet pan and place them in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 185 to 190 degrees F.
  11. If you are baking the dough in metal pans, do not reduce the oven temperature. 
  12. Place the loaves on a wire rack to cool. You can either remove the paper molds or cut slits in the paper to let out steam. If you baked the loaves in metal pans, turn the loaves out onto a wire rack. 

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

9 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

4 g

Carbs (grams)

14 g

Fiber (grams)

0 g

Net carbs

13 g

Sugar (grams)

1 g

Protein (grams)

5 g

Cholesterol (grams)

32 mg
casatiello, Easter
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Recipe adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice and The Italian Baker. Both books are extraordinary classics. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. This is a gorgeous loaf and I love the adaptations you made.

  2. OH, that filling looks amazing! Gorgeous color pops, and that toast shot is making me drool.

  3. Love this savory version of Italian easter bread that too with salami and cheese. I need to try this. perfect any day.

  4. This bread looks so beautiful, Karen!

  5. What a gorgeous bake Karen. Loved to read about the Easter Bread tradition in Italy. Your recipes are so detailed and well explained.

  6. Your pictures never disappoint! For a moment I forgot whose link I'd clicked on and when I saw the picture, I immediately knew it was yours. Stunning as usual

  7. What a stunning loaf of savory bread! It looks fabulous!

  8. The loaf looks gorgeous! A fabulous bake as usual.

  9. This bread sounds delicious! I think I'd be making it year round.


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