Thursday, January 15, 2009
I love ciabatta bread. I love what a great, chewy bread it is, but with giant, irregular air pockets so that it doesn't feel quite as heavy or filling as a rustic or country bread. A wonderful yeasty smell without being overwhelming, and a crust that has just enough bite to it to be substantial, but without breaking into a billion shards. Not necessarily the best of "soup" breads, but great for sandwiches and paninis, or just a roll with a dinner. But sorry, this isn't one of those "super easy, no kneading, hardly takes any time" breads. This one begins the night before by mixing up a starter, or "poolish," which the next day is added to additional flour, yeast, salt and water to make the final dough. Then it rises for 3 hours, and has to be turned out and folded after each hour, and then shaped into loaves or rolls, then risen again for another 1 1/2 - 2 hours, and then finally baked. But oh, the outcome. Delicious, delicious ciabatta!