Monday, October 10, 2011

Ciabatta Bread

So it's shadowy- but the bread is yummy!
The stand off is in week two: I am still denying that the weather is too hot for soup, and mother nature continues to go on her merry upper 70's way. I have the feeling I'm going to win. I just have to wait long enough. So I'm sure you've guessed, I made another soup this past weekend. I'm not giving up on my new soup each weekend in October goal.

Along with our soups, I've been making bread each weekend, because really, what goes better with homemade soup than a nice hot out of the oven homemade bread? I've long loved ciabatta bread (read: nearly obsessed with it) but never made it myself. I was glad to find that this is an easy, no knead bread. Delicious, crusty on the outside and nice and springy on the inside. Just the way bread should be! If you choose to make this, plan on it taking 2 days (mostly inactive time) because this requires you to make a sponge a day in advance. I also used our pizza stone to bake these, as the original recipe calls for a baking stone or 4-6 unglazed "quarry" tiles. I bet it would work on just baking sheets if you don't have a baking stone.

Ciabatta Bread (makes two loaves)
adapted from Gourmet

For the sponge:
⅛ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105°- 115℉)
⅓ cup room-temperature water
1 cup bread flour

1. In a small bowl, stir together yeast and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy.
2. In another bowl, stir together yeast mixture, room-temperature water and flour. Stir 4 minutes. The mixture should begin to combine and clean the sides of the bowl.
3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

For bread:
½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (105°- 115℉)
⅔ cup room-temperature water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Dough hook in action! You know it's ready to begin timing now.
1. In a small bowl, stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy.
2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil and flour at low speed until flour is just moistened. Continue to mix an additional three minutes. Add salt and beat an additional 4 minutes.
3. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl  and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about an hour and a half.
4. Prepare two well floured 12x6 inch pieces of parchment paper.
5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long.
6. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops of loaves with flour.
7. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
8. About 45 minutes before baking, if using a baking stone, preheat oven to 425℉. Place baking stone on oven rack placed in the lowest position of the oven.
9. Transfer 1 loaf to the baking stone, sliding onto the baking stone. If you can fit the second loaf onto your stone, go ahead and transfer it. If not, you can bake the second when the first is done.
10. Bake loaves for 20 minutes, or until pale golden. When finished, transfer loaves to a rack to cool.


  1. Fist pumps for homemade bread!

  2. That looks awesome! I so love homemade bread!!