Who-ray for care packages from mom! So yesterday i received a care package from my mom that contained Kneedlessly Simple (a bread book) , a pound of yeast and a 9inch bread pan! And of course what else am I going to do with these? Make some great bread of course!

So i decided I wanted something easy, quick, tasty and versatile enough for any thing, Ciabatta !

So for this recipe ignore the bread pan that is in the picture, we won’t be needing that since Ciabatta bread is free form loaves that will be cooked on a baking stone. The recipe I used is out of Kneedlessly Simple , great book with a lot of different recipes which I will have fun with. So onto the meat of the topic.

Ciabatta Bread Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients into a big enough bowl and mix well.
  2. Add in your 1.5 Cups of water while stiring. If too dry add more water or if too wet add some more flour. (i made a mistake and added an extra half cup of water, so i had to add some more flour to correct)
  3. Let it sit and rise at room temperature for 1.5-2.5hrs for a quicker loaf, or for ‘best results’ refrigerate for 3-10hrs then let it sit for 12-15hrs at room temp. (I don’t want to wait till tomorrow to eat this bread! But yes i do agree for best results time is the way to go)
  4. After dough has doubled in size of what it was initially preheat your oven to 500f 20minutes before you are ready to bake, also if you are using a baking stone put that in the oven to get hot.
  5. While the oven is heating up I will set a broiler pan in the bottom of the oven, and pour water into it, this will create a steam bath for the bread.
  6. I use a baking sheet with out a side on it to use as a bakers paddle thingy. Lay down some corn meal if you have it onto the sheet so that the dough does not stick to it when you go to transfer it to your baking stone. Form the loaf with your hands, a handy size loaf is about a grapefruit sized piece of dough before you form it. Put it down on the cornmeal and then dust the top of the bread with flour. This is called a ‘gluten coat‘, it essentially creates a nice comfy blanket of gluten around the loaf. I then will score the top of the loaf with a knife, the flour that is on it will help the knife slide through. I will then also some times brush on some olive oil onto the gluten coat to make the crust crispier and golden.
  7. Now that your oven and dough/loaves are ready you can Now slide the loaves onto your baking stone(which i sprinkle some more corn meal onto). Close the oven and reduce the heat to 475f for 15-20minutes.

So now that our bread is baking you will have a fresh loaf any time now. While killing time I was looking at the pound package of yeast I now have, noticed the expiration date of 12-05-10, looked at the nutritional facts and it states that there is enough yeast to roughly make 64 loaves OR 576 servings of bread! I guess I better bake a lot of bread by December, now i just need to purchase flour in bulk. Which means i should make a special stop down at the the Peoples Food Co-op and see what kind of deal i can get, or just go to Sams Club and buy a huge bag. Ok enough rambling, let me tell you how mine turned out. The first loaf i made right away, didn’t seem to rise that well. I think it was because the house was cool. It baked fine but was dense and moist, tasted fine. The second loaf i let sit on the counter and rise for 36hrs. This one did rise much better because it had 33 more hours of rise time. It is the one pictured above. I used olive oil on the gluten coat and set up my steam bath with more water. It took a little longer to cook(20min) but it tastes amazing. The more time the yeast has to work the more flavors are going to be extracted and gluten bonds created. The inside was chewy and the outside crispy, actually the crust was my favorite part!

For more photos of the bread and process go here: Ciabatta Bread – Kitchen 365

Besides dipping in olive oil this bread would also be great to go with:

Lentil Soup

Kielbasa Bean and Bacon Soup

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