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Ciabatta Bread

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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Steak and Potato Stew

So i decided that i wanted a stew one night, looked at what i had in the cupboard and freezer and was pleasantly pleased, I was going to make Steak and Potato Stew. So lets get to it!

Steak and Potato Stew Ingredients:

  • One Sirloin steak(size to your preference)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 -6 potato’s
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Jar of stewed tomatoes(i had to use pizza sauce instead)

Directions:

  1. Saute the 2 onions with the garlic in some olive oil.
  2. Trim the steak, i separated the fat and put that in the pan with the onions while i cut and trimmer the rest of the steak. Put the cut up meat into the pot along with the bone! Don’t waste it! Let that sit for a little so the fats render out and juices start to collect.
  3. Next add some flour to make your rue, amount is your choice, start with a little and build up.
  4. Now add the cut up potatoes, mix, then add the tomato product of your choice. Next add water then spices. I used cayenne, chipotle, black pepper, green pepper, salt and some nice olive oil to add some more flavors to it.
  5. Turn up the heat and let it mingle, after the potatoes are cooked turn it down and eat when ever you feel it is to your liking, this is even better as left overs.

As always the with my recipes ingredients and volumes are all relative and can be modified to your liking or preference easily.

Pictures to follow at a later date.

This would also go great with Ciabatta Bread!

Kielbasa Bean and Bacon Soup

This recipe is an adaptation of one of my grandmothers best soups. Kielbasa Bean soup is something that my whole family grew up eating and is perfect any time of the year.

Kielbasa Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • Kielbasa (or another better grade Polish Sausage)
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 Potatoes
  • 3 stalks Celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 16oz can of stewed tomatoes
  • large jar of pre-soaked white beans.

Instructions:

  1. First you need to get a large pot to cook in. Chop up your onion and start to get it cooking with some olive oil.
  2. Next add you chopped garlic and add salt to help speed up the cooking of the onions.
  3. While the onions and garlic are cooking low and slow cut up your bacon. Any type will do but some may be better than others. For me when it comes to bacon I tend to look for high fat content in the slices for cooking with. The reason here is that I want all the creamy smokey flavor from the bacon and not the fried crispiness that it can have. So as you may now have figured out it is time to put the bacon into the onions. Keep the temp low still, just let the bacon start to let the fats go, stir occasionally.
  4. While the bacon is rendering with the onions cut up your Kielbasa sausage and set that aside. Now get your carrots, celery and potatoes cut up and ready. After the bacon has rendered for a lil bit the onions should be very soft, and cooked down. Add in your kielbasa and turn the heat up a little bit to get it cooking.

5.After the kielbasa has started to cook add your vegetables, your can of stewed tomatoes and enough water to cover everything

(i had to use 6 cups of water).Bring the pot to a boil for 10minutes then reduce the heat down and add your beans. Cover it back up and let it simmer till which ever point you want.

At this point everything should be fairly well cooked. Maybe the carrots could use some more simmer time but that is fine. Letting the soup reduce and all the flavors mingling make it even better.

So in the end this version of Kielbasa Bean and Bacon Soup turned out as a great soup, meaty, starchy, veggies, nice thick broth and pretty well balanced. This is a soup that will taste even better the next day as leftovers. I plan to feast on it for a few days and also freeze some in Tupperware containers. Always handy to have great soup easily at hand when you need it.

Also Ciabatta Bread would go great with this soup!