Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ciabatta Bread

Ok, this might sound strange to some who read this, but I had no clue what Ciabatta (prounounce Chee-bat-a) bread was until Jack In The Box added sandwiches made with it to their menu.  Now don't judge me, I just happen to live in a rural area that isn't known for it's culinary scene. Since trying my first fast food version of this delicious, chewy bread, some years ago I have seen it on the Food Network many times as a base for sandwiches.  Now the delima, where do I find it since there is no such thing as an Artisan bakery around here?  Well, of course, I turned to the internet so that I could learn to make my own.

This recipe, is a little time consuming but EASY!  If you aren't comfortable making bread yourself yet this would be any easy way to start.  There is no hand kneading to worry about, no forming rolls or loafs, just measuring and watching the clock.  The final result is a slightly crispy exterior, with a very moist, chewy crumb on the inside.  Mine didn't have big air pockets like versions I have had in restaraunts, however the taste and texture were exactly what I was expecting.
Ciabatta Bread
Recipe source: Revised by A Cook’s Quest from King Arthur Flour

Overnight Starter
1 ½ c All-purpose flour
1 c cool water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
Combine all ingredients, cover and leave at room temperature over night or up to 15 hours

Starter from above
1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 T milk
¼ c warm water
2 T olive oil

Place all the dough ingredients, including the starter, into your mixer bowl and mix at medium speed with using the flat beat for at least 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth, soft, shiny, and elastic. You may also knead the dough ingredients in a bread machine using the dough cycle. **Because this dough is so soft it can’t be kneaded by hand. Use a mixer or bread machine!

Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise two hours. Half way through deflate the dough and allow to keep rising.

Lightly grease your work surface, and the baking pan you plan on using. Grease your hands and gently turn the dough out onto your work surface. You don’t want to purposely punch the dough down, but it will lose some volume.

Using a sharp knife, bowl scraper or your hands, divide the dough into desired pieces. This dough is meant to be rustic in appearance and should be handled very little. Gently transfer your dough onto the greased baking sheet, cover with greased plastic wrap and allow it to rise 60-90 minutes. Midway through, firmly dimple the dough with your fingers making dimples in the top of the dough. When it has fully risen, you will still slight indentations from your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Right before placing the dough into your oven, spritz it with lukewarm water. Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes depending on the size.

Total Cost $.55 or about $.09 each
Like all home made breads, the ingredients are simple, common and cheap.  The most expensive thing was the flour and yeast at a cost of .25 each. The oil was a crazy .06 for 2 T.
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1 comment:

  1. I have never been a huge fan of store bought ciabatta (CEE BAT A) bread. Yours actually looks good. When I have time I am totally going to try this recipe!

    I like how you put cost of everything. I think you should put how long it takes to prepare too :)