A little help from my friends
This is another recipe sent to me by Dan Locaputo, and is it ever delicious. Thanks Dan for letting us use your recipe here. I made some changes mainly so you can make it in a bread maker.
Ciabatta bread was probably first made in Liguria, Italy but is now found throughout Italy. It has also become very popular across Europe and the US, and if you have tried it, you know why. The bread is also popular as sandwich bread. It has a hard outer crust and a delicious taste. Although it is not complex to make, it does take about 2 days, because you have to wait on the dough to rise. First, you start out by making a sponge followed by the final bread making process.
Ingredients (2 loaves):
For the sponge
- 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1/3 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 cup bread flour
For the bread
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 2/3 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
Preparation of the sponge
Stir the 1/8 teaspoon dry yeast and 2 tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes (until creamy). Place the creamy mixture into a larger bowl along with the 1/3 cup water and 1 cup bread flour. Stir the mixture for about 4 to 5 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 12 to 24 hours in a cool place.
Sponge after it was mixed.
Sponge after rising.
Preparation of the bread
In a small bowl, stir ½ teaspoons yeast and 2 tablespoons milk and again let it stand until it is creamy (about 5 minutes). Place the mixture in the bread machine along with the sponge, 2/3 cup water, olive oil, and 2 cups bread flour and mix until the flour is moistened. Add the salt and mix until you have a smooth and elastic dough ball (about 10 to 15 minutes).
Dough mixing in bread maker.
It will be sticky but put the dough into an oiled bowl scrapping up all of it and cover with plastic wrap. The dough should rise at room temperature for about 2 hours (until double in size) – make sure it is full of holes and sticky before you go to the next step.
Place the dough on a floured surface, and cut it in half. Place each half on wax paper and form them into oval shapes (about 9 inches long). Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust the tops with flour. Take a dampened towel, and cover the loaves. Let the loaves rise at room temperature for about 2 hours (until each loaf has almost doubled).
The dough ready to go into the oven.
At least 45 minutes before baking the bread, place a baking stone on the lowest oven rack position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Once the stone has become hot, transfer the loaves to it. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes or until pale golden brown. Once they have cooked cool them on a wire rack. Perfecto!
We made this bread last night - I say 'we' because my 10 year old had to help - and evoreyne was hovering around the oven waiting for it to finish baking. We used that for sub sandwiches for dinner and it was a huge hit but evoreyne was disappointed to not get to try it as a stand alone bread. So, this morning, we made a second batch. The 10 and 3 year old helped with the mixer, the 8 year old helped dump in the flour cup by cup and both the 10 and 8 year old helped shape the loaves. As soon as it came out of the oven ALL the kiddos helped eat it - and two loaves were gone in a matter of minutes. In fact, we have an outing later this week and they asked if we can take this bread in our lunches instead of sandwiches. They've proclaimed they like this better than any of mom's other homemade breads (and I have three different recipes in rotation). The 8 year old even asked if we can add it to the family recipe book and give him a copy to start his own recipe book. I'd say that this is a DEFINITE winner! :)By the way - miss your posting very much!!! I know you've been missing here for about a month and hope all is ok on your end and just busy rather than a problem. Thinking about you through bloggy-land....