Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sourdough Ciabatta

Ciabatta. What a fun word to say. My boys said it enough times in a row...endlessly...that I almost cringe at the word. However, I will always love the bread. Continuing in the grand tradition of sourdough week I thought we should have something crazy wicked-descent.
This is a good one for bread or pizza. So. Let's jump in.
You will need:
4 scant cups of bread flour (wheat works, but you may need a little more liquid)
1 1/4 cup water, room temperature
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 T salt
2 T olive oil

Put 2 cups of flour, sourdough starter, 1/2 cup water and the yeast in a large bowl. Mix well, about 5 minutes, then cover and let ferment about 4 hours. This is nice "start and leave dough"...meaning if you leave now for 6-8 hours, it will still be okay.
After first fermentation, add the remaining flour, water, salt and olive oil. Knead very briefly, just until the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth (about 3 minutes). No need to roll into a ball. Just let the dough rest 2 hours more. Unlike the loaf bread I make for sandwiches that has very specific instructions for fermentation shape, this one does fine without much fussing. I like this because usually I will start the dough in the morning. Then mid afternoon I will add the rest of the ingredients. By the time I pick kiddos up from school, the dough is ready to make into rolls, bread, or pizza. Flour a counter top pretty generously and tip the dough out onto the counter. Divide into 4 pieces and form into 8 inch "cut" loaves. Transfer to cornmeal coated baking stone and let rest and raise for one hour uncovered.

If you do rolls instead of loaves, it makes 8-10.
Dust the tops of the rolls lightly with flour. Bake 400 degrees 25-30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. (Solar bakers...let bread raise about 30 minutes only then bake in your solar oven. Note, increase baking time by 5 minutes. Crust will not get "crusty". I have yet to get a thick crispy crust out of my solar oven, but they still taste wonderful. )
Dipping oil is often a must have. I go heavy on the garlic. That's how I roll.
My crazy oil usually goes something like this:
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh pressed garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp fresh pepper
1/4 tsp fresh crushed fennel seed
dash of salt

Combine. Oil is even better after a few days in the fridge. Yikes. Make a double batch.
There you go.


Marylois said...

Thanks, I'll definitely give this one a try. I have some ham and chicken in the fridge just crying out for some ciabata.

Chef Tess said...

Yeah! Go for it. Just so you're not surprised, it does make a pretty loose dough, but that is what gives it that character I love. Use plenty of flour on the counter top.