I know this is Friday, and usually I post about Frugal Fridays, but I am out of town looking after my auntie, who has been quite ill. I’m also still catching up with the rest of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge crowd, and I finally made some headway this week. After forcing myself to make the challah, IN ORDER, I might add, I excitedly jumped into making my first ciabatta, ever. More after the jump! . . .
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge (BBA) is the idea of Nicole at Pinch My Salt. You can see what we’re baking this week at our Flickr group, on Twitter (#BBA), or check out the challenge page. For those of you who don’t know about it, we are baking everything in Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. Bread number 7 is ciabatta, which means “slipper” in Italian. We could make a biga or poolish version, and I picked the latter. I also accidentally used active dry yeast in the poolish, instead of instant yeast, but don’t know that it made a difference.
I love ciabatta. One of life’s greatest pleasures is a piece of the bread, toasted or grilled, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. A marriage made in heaven. So, I was pretty happy to tackle this recipe, and the resulting bread was delicious, even though my final loaves did not have the characteristic holes.
Question for all you experienced ciabatta bakers: How do I get HOLES?!
I usually use King Arthur Bread flour, but I ran out, so I ended up using Gold Medal Bread Flour. When I was working with the dough in the initial stages, it seemed as if the water was not getting into the flour – my dough was filled with hard little pockets of flour, despite my kneading and that of my Kitchen Aid. Finally, I stopped, through a towel over the whole thing, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It worked, and after that I was able to continue with a cohesive dough. I also ended up adding almost half a cup more of water than called for in the recipe, and I’ve never had that happen to me before.
I will be baking ciabatta again and again, hopefully with holes. This bread was so good that Master Chow, my honorable husband, told me to put it on the “repeat list.” Next up: Cinnamon Buns.
This bread has been YeastSpotted!