Friday, July 29, 2011

Ciabatta bread

With Borders going out of business (boo hoo), I thought I would check it out for good cookbook sales.  Well, the sales weren't that good but I picked up a few items that I had been eyeing for a bit.  I found this book called:
What a fabulous book!  I've been wanting to experiment with my own recipes but the perfectionist in me has held me back.  Ratio gives me the building blocks to give me the courage I need to step out of my comfort zone.  

The first chapter is about doughs and batters.  Carbs and I get along just fine...just a peek at my thighs will prove that! I've made bread before, too, but always very careful to follow a recipe.  Ratio gives you...well, it gives you the of ingredients you need in order to make a successful loaf of bread.  Once the proper ratio is used, the rest of the additions are up to you.  

I made this wonderful herb filled Ciabatta bread to go with the Greek Penna with Chicken I had made.  We just couldn't get enough of the bread... a crisp crust and a soft inside... It was carb heaven!

Basic Bread Dough
20 ounces bread flour
12 ounces water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active or instant yeast
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In mixing bowl, place the flour and add the water.  Add the salt then sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow it to dissolve.  Mix the ingredients to combine, add the additions of thyme, rosemary and garlic,  then knead the dough.  I used my Kitchen Aid and with the dough hook attachment I let it knead for about ten minutes. 

I like to cook my bread in a enamel cast-iron Dutch oven. This bread only needs one rise and so I lightly greased my Dutch oven with olive oil and placed in the dough.  Dough should double in appearance.
When dough has doubled, stipple dough with fingers.  I did a light spray of olive oil over the top and then sprinkled with coarse Kosher salt and Parmesan cheese.

Baking Directions for use in Dutch oven: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Cover the pot and bake for 15 minutes.  Uncover the pot, drop temperature to 375 degrees F. and continue to bake bread until done... about another 15 minutes. Dough should sound slightly hollow when it is cooked through.

Since this dough contains no added fats, it will spoil quickly.  Best if used within two days.

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