Sunday, December 15, 2013

Beef Stew with Ciabatta Bread

I finally made a Ciabatta entirely by hand.  This time I noticed how the texture of the dough changed while I was kneading. It became smoother and stretchier. This makes a small loaf for two.

Ciabatta Bread 

2 cups flour - I use All Purpose with 2 tbsp replaced with Vital Wheat Gluten
1 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
220ml - bit less than a cup - water
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Use a dough hook or a fork to gather all ingredients into a ball. It should be almost sticky moist. Let the dough hook beat the dough for 5 minutes or knead it by hand for that time.  The dough needs to be stretchy and smooth. Keep pulling it out and slapping it down to trap air inside the dough. This gives it the characteristic large bubbles. If it's too wet add a little flour. When it's been worked for 5 minutes or you're too exhausted to continue, brush the inside of a bowl with olive oil, place dough inside and brush outside of dough with olive oil. Let rise in a warm spot till it doubles in size. About an hour in a warm kitchen. Carefully tip the dough out onto a baking sheet and put in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 400ºF and bake for 35 minutes.

The stew was fairly simple.  Dice and sweat an onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 carrots and 2 sticks of celery. Take all that out and put aside.  Salt the meat and flour it. Put in the pan with hot oil. Sear all sides, then remove pan from heat.  Add an ounce or two of beef stock and whisk, adding more stock till it thins into gravy. Put everything back in pan and add 6-8 ounces red wine. Add a turnip diced, 4 potatoes diced, 16oz can diced tomatoes, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, fresh rosemary twig and two tablespoons paprika. Add more stock to cover everything, bring to a boil and simmer for hours.

Once the meat is tender it is ready, about 3 hours. During the last hour the lid can be left off to let water reduce. If it's still too wet add some flour to thicken the gravy.

This was my best beef stew so far, definitely worth trying.

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