So, making bread.  This is always an interesting thing, because sometimes, with a new recipe, you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.  This is one of those cases.  😛  Also, I technically finished this late Friday night, but was lazy enough to not post until now.  

I’ve always liked ciabatta bread, and when I found a recipe for it, I thought, sure, why not, I can use it to make sandwiches!  As far as I can tell, the resulting bread that I got will work as sandwich bread, but it’s definitely not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made.  xD  Well, there’s next time for that.  

Just be aware that this recipe takes a lot of time, and any specifics for this recipe assume you making it by hand – if you have a food processor or a stand mixer, click the link to the original recipe for those directions.

Ciabatta Bread  
Makes 4 loaves

Ingredients 

  • 1 t active dry yeast
  • 5 T warm milk
  • 1 C plus 3 T water at room temp
  • 1 T olive oil
  • biga (appx 1 recipe’s worth, rested at least 12 hours, follow any instructions for reactivating if starter was frozen)
  • 3 ¾ c flour, plus a bit more for the work surface
  • 1 T salt

Stir the yeast into the milk in a smaller bowl, and let stand for appx ten minutes, until creamy.  Add this to a larger bowl, with the biga, flour, water, and oil, and mix either with a spoon or by hand until combined, and then knead until the dough is supple, springy, velvety, and moist. (Oh baby.)  It recommends doing it on a well-floured surface, but my bowl was large and floured enough that I just did it in there.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise about an hour and a quarter, until at least doubled.  (See first two pics for an accurate before and after, I was doing the brown sugar miso ice cream and garlic beef, asparagus, and shiitake stir fry in between all this.)  The dough will be sticky, elastic, and full of air bubbles when it’s ready to go.

Cut the dough into four equal pieces on a well-floured surface.  Roll each into a cylinder, and then stretch each into a rectangle by pulling with your fingers.  Try to get each loaf into a roughly ten by four length and width.  If you can’t do this, just get them long and about half as wide as they are long.  😛

Place each loaf on your baking sheet (I used one and a pizza pan), evenly spaced, and dimple with your fingertips to prevent it from rising too much.  Cover the loaves with plastic wrap again and let rise another hour and a half to two hours, until puffy.  They’ll still look flat, but don’t worry.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 425 (mine went to 400, bc of previously mentioned oven issues).  Bake for about 25 mins.  The recipe suggests spraying your oven with water three times in the first ten minutes, but I didn’t do that, don’t know what kind of difference it might make.  

Will be using these for sandwich bread this week, likely, will update if there’s anything on how to keep them freshest. EDIT: …Yeah, I think I’ll stick to bigger loaf breads from now on.

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