Ciabatta

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I’ve been away from this little blog for a few weeks. Two weeks ago my Mum came out to Hong Kong to visit. We had a lovely week of amazing sunny weather doing lovely things like treating ourselves to afternoon tea at the Pennisula, and scoffing our faces at the Jumbo TopDeck brunch.

Of course the only time I saw home during this time was to fall into bed, then drag myself into work before heading out for more delicious food out and about. Needless to say there was no baking that week. Last week there was a distinct lack of baking either. I spend every night going to bed early, eating bowls of vegetable soup, trying to catch up on sleep and shed the pounds resulting from eating out every night for a week.

I do, however, have this to share with you. This loaf was the first bread that I tried to bake in my silly little Hong Kong oven and it went hideously wrong. This was before I’d learnt how to adjust the setting to at least get close to the temperature I wanted, before I’d worked out how to get the kitchen hot enough for the dough to rise. Before I’d found a reliable brand of yeast sachet. I was a bit scared of trying to out again, but I’m glad I did. It’s delicious, quick and easy. The dough is very different to normal bread dough. It’s a very wet, runny dough and rather than knead it on a work surface, you slap it about the bowl instead.

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We ate nearly all the first loaf I made, fresh from the oven,dipped in oil. In fact it’s so good there’s another loaf in the oven baking now. This time I threw in a bit of dried rosemary. I love the taste of rosemary in bread and it creates such a lovely, warm homely scent in the house. It’s amazing eaten warm with oil, and also fantastic toasted and topped with butter the next morning.

Ciabatta Bread

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(from Pease Pudding)

Ingredients

500g Strong White bread flour

450ml Luke Warm water

1/2 tsp sugar

1 7g sachet dried yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

Olive Oil

Method

Put the flour,sugar and yeast into a large bowl. Mix them together with your hands.

Add in the water, then the salt and mix together until blended.

The mixture will be thick and gloopy, it won’t look or feel like normal bread dough.

Begin to ‘beat’ the dough by pulling up sections and slapping it back down into the bowl. This will create the lovely air pockets Ciabatta is known for.

Pour about 1tbsp of Olive oil over the top of the dough, still in the bowl, so it covers the top and begins to run down the sides of the dough.

Cover the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Tip the dough out onto a flour covered surface and fold in half to create the Ciabatta shape, then transfer to a floured baking sheet. Alternativly pour the dough directly onto your floured baking sheet and fold it on there. It can be a little tricky to transfer between the two without some extra helping hands!

Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

Eat fresh from the oven dunked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you plan to slice it, leave it to cool completely first.

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  2. […]  Melting, we headed back to the shade of the house with some friends for a picnic. Alongside fresh ciabatta bread, brie, chorizo, dorset ham, olives and hummus, I served up these, chocolate and Baileys […]

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