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Archive for March 28th, 2011

This weekend was hectic, and that is putting it mildly.  I did get some time to make up a couple pans of Eggplant Lasagna, one for fresh eating and two for freezing for later meals.  I really wanted a good bread to be an appetizer dipped in olive oil to accompany the  lasagna and salad dinner. Ciabatta is one of those breads that just has a perfect love relationship with olive oil.  It is also not difficult to make.  I am not certain where I originally got this recipe, but it has never failed me.

Ciabatta Bread

Make Sponge

1/8 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm water

1/3 cup room-temperature water

1 cup bread flour

Make the sponge: Stir together warm water and yeast, let stand five minutes until creamy. Transfer to bowl and add room temperature water and flour.  Stir for 4 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and letting sit at room temperature at least 12 hours to as much as twenty-four hours.

Make Bread

1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm milk

2/3 cup room-temperature water

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir together the yeast and milk in small bowl and let stand for five minutes until creamy.  In bowl of electric mixer, blend milk mixture, sponge, water, oil and flour until flour is moist.  Beat an additional 3 minutes, then add salt and beat 4 more minutes.  Scrape the dough from bowl into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit until doubled in size.  (This dough will be very sticky and full of bubbles).  Cut two pieces of parchment paper and place on baking sheet, flour top of parchment pieces well.  Fold dough onto well floured surface and divide in half.  Transfer each half onto piece of parchment paper and form into oval or square shapes roughly 9 inches long.  Dip fingers in flour and dimple loaves, then dust tops lightly with flour.   Let rise again until almost doubled.

Bake loaves separate at 425 F for 20 minutes or until pale to golden brown.

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