Crescia al Formaggio (Pizza di Pasqua al Formaggio) is a savory Easter bread from the Marche and Umbria regions of central Italy. This rich, eggy bread is packed with 6 ounces of finely grated cheese. I used a combination of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino.
This bread is best the day it is baked. To help liven it up a bit, toast the leftover slices and serve with butter, salami, or other cured meats. King Arthur Flour recommends using thin slices as a base for grilled cheese sandwiches.
I used a 6 inch round cake pan with 3 inch deep sides. If you have one available, a panettone or pandoro pan is more authentic. You can also divide the dough into three sections and braid it to fit a loaf pan like Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories did. She also seasoned the bread with oregano and a pinch of red pepper flakes for extra flavor.
There is a lot of resting time involved, but the bread won’t rise too high. It will mostly just stay puffy and develop a spongy texture.
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water, 105-115 degrees F
298 grams (~2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces (85 grams) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 ounces (85 grams) finely grated Pecorino
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over water. Stir to combine and allow to sit until frothy, 5-10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, eggs, egg yolk, butter, and yeast with water until a smooth, shiny dough forms.
If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix in the cheeses until thoroughly combined, smooth, and elastic. Grease a large bowl with oil and add the dough, turning to coat. Cover and allow to rise for an hour.
Gently deflate the dough, then cover and allow to rise for another hour.
Butter and flour a panettone, pandoro, or deep 6 inch round cake pan. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in prepared pan. Cover and allow to rise for another 2 hours, until puffy.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the pan in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and lightly place a tent of foil over the top of the bread. Continue to bake until cooked through, 190 degrees F, and golden brown.
Allow to cool in pan before removing onto wire rack to cool to room temperature.
Serve warm with salami or butter.