Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ciabatta Bread

I'm going to detail the bread, soup and entre in separate blog posts for clarity. First the bread.

I can't remember where I got the recipe but it comes from a woman who made it up for her travelling husband.  It's easy to make by hand but I use the mixer to make the dough. I only stock All Purpose Flour which lacks gluten to make the best bread, so I add some Vital Wheat Gluten. I used less than 1/4 cup gluten substituted for the same amount of flour. 

Ciabatta Bread - 2 small loafs

500 gm  Flour = 1 litre  or a bit over 4 cups
2.5 ml sugar = 1/2 tsp
7.5 ml salt = 1  1/2 tsp

450 ml  water  = 2 cups
7.5 ml yeast =  1  1/2 tsp 

15 ml olive oil = 1  tbsp

I make it in the KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook but it's easy to make by hand with a fork. Put the dry ingredients in the bowl. Add half the water. Put 60 ml water (1/4  cup) in microwave for 10 seconds so it's lukewarm. Add yeast to warm water and stir till dissolved. Fill to 250 ml or 1 cup and add to bowl. Start mixer. When all the flour is picked up, increase the speed so the dough gets thrown off the hook into the side of bowl for a few minutes. This replaces kneeding. To make by hand, stir with a fork till flour is picked up then kneed 5 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a smooth surface.  It is quite sticky so remove any rings first.  Pull and stretch the dough out then quickly fold it over on itself with a slap.  This traps air inside the dough and gives it the big holes characteristic of the bread. Do that for a few minutes then brush olive oil over the inside of the bowl and put the dough back in.  Brush the dough with olive oil and put it in a warm 43ºC (110ºF) oven for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Tip the dough out of the bowl onto a metal sheet with optional parchment paper. Alternatively the dough can be cut in half and two smaller loaves made instead. Bake at 200ºC (400ºF) for 30 - 40 minutes. It's done when it's golden brown all over. A knock on the top should sound hollow if it's made right. Let it cool on a rack.

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