Week #7 of the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Ciabatta! I started off the week very excited about this challenge. After all, it is an Italian bread!
Ciabatta (pronounced cha-bat-a) literally translates to “slipper”. The name was said to be given because the shape of the bread resembles a slipper. Ciabatta is an Italian white bread with a crisp crust and a soft, porous crumb. Ciabatta was said to be first made in Liguria. There are many variations of Ciabatta and they vary from region to region. We had several different versions to choose from: Regular Ciabatta, Wild Mushrom Ciabatta, Ciabatta with Cheese or Carmelized Onion and Herb Ciabatta. Since it was my first foray into Ciabatta bread I chose the regular Ciabatta.
Onto my trials & tribulations…I started off making my poolish (starter) with milk, as it was one of the approved substitutions for water. I followed the instructions in the book and finished my loaves. They came out of the oven & looked nothing like the pictures in the book! There were very few holes in my crumb! Insert sad face. My saving grace was that the bread was indeed very tasty! So not all lost. I have great sammie bread for the week! I proceeded to make a new poolish immediately, as you must leave it out for 4 hours and then refrigerate over night. I needed to be ready to try again the next day. This time I made the poolish with water.
So the next day, I once again press forward. I am full of optimism & am determined to get this right. I continue through the steps in the book and get to the fold and stretch method (where I have a feeling that my bread went astray). I decided that the book (sorry Peter) was not really clear on the folding instructions for me. I’m a visual person and need to see things — preferably demonstrated by someone in front of me. So since Peter wasn’t at my house to help me out, I went to the next best option…the internet!
I found several step by step videos which were very helpful! So armed with my new information I continued on shaping, folding and waiting for the time to bake my creation! This time, although still not where I would have wanted it to be hole wise, it was much improved & oh so tasty!
What do you like to eat your Ciabatta with?
Dry Ingredients to make the Poolish (starter): King Arthur Bread Flour, Salt, Yeast
Milk added to Poolish ingriedients.
Poolish all ready to be made into dough! Marta here we come.
Poolish added to additional ingriedients to form dough
Dough blob ready to be pressed into a rectangle & then shaped, folded, shaped, folded (you get the picture)
Stretched out onto a flour bed & ready to be folded
Folded and Stretched and Proofed nicely
Shaped & ready for their steam sauna (aka the oven)
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Fresh out of the oven.
Insanely delicious with simple extra virgin olive oil!
Sneak Peak: Next week’s challenge: Cinnamon Buns & Sticky Buns (OH YEAH BABY!)
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