Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Strip Loin With New Potatoes and Ciabatta

I was in the mood for beef so either burgers or steaks.  Ground beef was kind of pricey so I opted for three strip loins from Australia that were hopping around in the meat bin. I had new potatoes, carrots and broccoli in the fridge so it was a quick trip. I didn't even have to peel potatoes! Dinner was going to be so easy I decided to make a ciabatta. The recipe calls for 500gm of strong flour.  In North American that means bread flour.  I only stock all purpose flour so I replaced 50gm of all purpose with 50gm of vital wheat gluten. I just checked and the correct amount would have been two to three tablespoons where I used closer to half a cup extra gluten.  It didn't seem to hurt because it was the best bread I've made so far. It didn't feel like a brick when picked up.

Ciabatta Bread

500 gm/1 litre/4 cups Strong Flour (bread flour or all purpose with 2-3 tbsp replaced with wheat gluten)
450 ml/1.9 cups  water - tepid
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

The recipe used both metric and US measures so I have also because there is no simple perfect conversion for the two amounts. 4 cups is more than 1 litre. No measuring cup is calibrated with 10ths of a cup so it's impossible to be perfect without an ml measuring cup. With all that said, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Mix flour, sugar and yeast. Add water then salt and I used a fork to mix into thick sticky dough. Beat the dough for 5 minutes pulling it out and slapping it down to trap air bubbles in the dough. I found this very sticky so I'll try using less water to see if a less sticky dough will still work fine. Also the loaf is too big to easily stretch and flop so I will cut the dough in half before rising next time. 

Pour or brush oil over dough, cover and let rise 1 hour or till double in size.  Scrape out onto parchment paper, pull one side out and flop it over the top of the loaf to trap more air in the middle. I found the dough was too big to easily handle so next time I'll cut the dough in half before rising and make two loafs. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when knocked.

I was afraid the olive oil would become bitter baked at that high temperature but it tasted fine. I baked 35 minutes and it could have taken a few more although it was done all the way through.  The bread had a wonderful texture and taste so I'll probably make it again today.

The steaks I did on the BBQ over high heat.  First, season with salt and black pepper then, 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes, turn over, 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes and they're done with lovely grill marks. The new potatoes were boiled and I steamed the carrots and broccoli.  I finished the vegetables in the pot with extra virgin olive oil cooked to delicious. A wonderful summer meal that was surprisingly easy to make.

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