Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ciabatta Bread with Beef Stew

Beef Stew I found in the freezer so all I had to do was defrost and heat it. Fern likes fresh bread with stews so I got out my little Ciabatta recipe.  I use All Purpose flour and add vital wheat gluten to it.  Less than a quarter cup gluten replaces flour in this recipe:

Ciabatta Bread

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the dry ingredients then make a well in the centre and put 3/4 of the water into it.  Use a fork to lift the flour into the water until all the water is absorbed.  It needs to be slightly sticky but not so gluey it leaves chunks on your hands. Add more water till it gets to the right consistency.  Then start kneading. Press and stretch the dough out with the palm of the hand, turn 90º and repeat.  At first the dough is lumpy. As it's kneaded it becomes smoother and stretchier. Once it is becoming smooth, fold it over so air is trapped in the centre each time. If it's too sticky, knead it in flour till it's the right consistency. When it's uniformly smooth it's ready to rise. Form into a ball, coat the inside of bowl with olive oil, place the dough in it and brush remaining oil over it.  Set in a warm place to rise for an hour or until it doubles in size. Place on parchment and bake in 400ºF oven for 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

This is an easy small loaf to make so it's perfect to lift a humble dish to new heights.

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