Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sì, Ho Fatto Ciabatta!

I love Google translate, but this particular translation (Yes, I made Ciabatta) looks to have been completed by Jabba the Hutt, and not just because Ciabatta sounds a bit like Chewbacca.

If you are a fan of Ciabatta you simply must try this recipe. I've made two batches now and while I still have miles to go in tweaking my form and the loaves' final appearance I'm pretty stoked to be able to turn out some great bread for sandwiches or antipasti. We had flank steak sandwiches tonight on fresh ciabatta and they were wonderful.

The photo here is from my first batch. I made it on Friday and served it that evening with Italian Beef and Giardinera. At lunchtime on Saturday I toasted it a bit and it made for a nice Avocado Lettuce & Tomato sandwich. Tomorrow my girls will find a caprese sandwich in their lunch totes. I'll say, those neoprene lunch totes must have hit the tipping point with the elementary set over the summer. My daughters and all their friends showed up with them on the first day of school. Anyway, the caprese sandwich is something they had at Red Hen over the summer - the classic, too-good-to-fail combination of  fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and tomato slices. At Red Hen they serve it up on their jaw-breaker ciabatta, drizzled with a bit of balsamic. It's become a favorite sandwich of theirs, especially on Bennison's ciabatta which we prefer. But now that I can turn out a decent loaf myself, my ciabatta purchasing days are a thing of the past.

Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think. I used the first recipe, not the semolina. You will really need a scale, and a solid stand mixer. I could measure out the flour and give you approximations, but that's just not how bread is made. A kitchen scale is a great tool. This is a close relative of the one I have. I've also seen decent ones (Salter is a great brand) at Bed Bath & Beyond in the Beyond section.

Yawn. Nighty-night.