Friday, July 24, 2009

BLT Challenge | The First Bread


Since I made my bacon with a pancetta cure, I decided to give my BLT an Italian motif. The first bread I chose to make was Craig Ponsford’s ciabatta from Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer. I had recently purchased the book and wanted to try the technique. It wasn’t until I searched on the internet for help after my seeming disaster (which I’ll show you a bit later), that I found out that it is many baker’s favorite ciabatta recipe.


The day before you are ready to mix the final dough, you make the biga (pre-ferment of flour, water, and yeast) and let it ferment for 24 hours.


This biga is made from unbleached bread, unbleached all-purpose, whole-wheat, and whole-rye flours with water and a tiny bit of yeast.



Here’s the dough fermenting under plastic wrap.



During the beginning of fermentation, the dough is turned every 20 minutes. By this point at the end of fermentation it should be a bit stiffer. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm came up in the middle of the fermentation and I didn’t feel confident enough to add much flour at this point.



I was afraid to proof the loaves in a couche or tea towel, no matter how heavily floured; so I used floured plastic wrap. I had read when forming ciabatta not to make it less that 3/4” thick or it might puff like a pita. This dough was so very slack, I didn’t flatten it at all. It flowed to this form. Ah well, I’d gone this far; might as well bake it.



There was no chance the gloppy loaves would slide off a peel. I used a wide spatula and hope to flip them onto parchment paper. I was feeling a bit better…this didn’t look so bad.



Um, this looks awfully puffy.



Oh, NO! It’s a ciapita!



I had a rye Old-Fashioned. I felt a bit better about the whole thing.



It looks good like this. Maybe people will just think I’m petting the lovely ciabatta, not shoving the ciapita monster's snaggle-toothed jaws shut.



It was really good dipped in pesto made from the basil in my garden. The holes in the crumb hold nice, big globs of it.



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