Sunday, July 5, 2009

BBAC Week #7 - Ciabatta

Onward and upward to week #7 (my second) of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge with Ciabatta. This bread was first made in Italy, and should have a crisp crust with a porous, soft interior.

The dough was much stickier than the Challah from last week. I made the poolish variety, rather than the biga, but both involve starting the fermentation process a few hours, or even up to three days, before making the actual dough. For the poolish, I mixed the flour, yeast, and water together to make a sticky, thick pancake batter-like texture. I let it ferment for four hours on the counter, and then stuck it in the fridge overnight.

This morning I added the poolish to more flour, salt, yeast, and water in the mixer, and mixed for about 7 minutes total using the paddle and then the dough hook. It was a bit dry at first, so I added water by the tablespoon until I got the stickier texture I was looking for.

After the first 30 minute rising, I added some fresh rosemary and thyme and did the first stretch/fold, and let it raise for another 45 minutes.

It was looking pretty puffy by then, so I decided to go ahead and divide it up into loaves. The loaves sat in a makeshift couche (one of my kitchen towels) to keep them seperate during the final raising.

To get the crispy crust I was looking for I had to add steam to the oven. I did this by pouring hot water into a preheated pan on the top rack as I added the dough to the bottom rack. I also misted the walls of the oven every thirty seconds for the first two minutes of baking.

The recipe made enough dough for two small loaves and two buns. Since I don't have a baking stone or even a huge pan I decided to bake them individually. The recipe called for a bake time of approximately 22 minutes, but I had to bake each for closer to thirty to get the caramel colored crust I was looking for.

The loaves looked great. I didn't take a photo of the inside this time, though, because I was a little disappointed with how mine turned out. Ciabatta is known for it's light crumb filled with tons of big air pockets. Mine was sadly missing those big holes. The only thing I can figure out is that the house was a little cooler today, and the recipe called for a final stretching ( but no folding) of the dough as it was going into the couche. I think that last stretch probably flattened any air holes that might have formed.

Despite that, the bread tastes great, and looks nice. I'm still going to chalk this one up to success since the buns played an important role in tonight's dinner.

Mmmm...salmon burgers (grilled by the BF) with avocado aioli and leaf lettuce. Pretty excellent way to end the three day weekend.

Next up: Cinnamon Rolls


Nem said...

How are you so amazing? Seriously!

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...