Sunday, 23 March 2008

Ciabatta: stage two

Here finally is my slightly belated ciabatta update. Everything got a bit mad in the preparations for Easter, but I shall post it all in good time.

Having rested the ferment for the ciabatta for 24 hours it was looking and smelling all yeasty and bubbly and really seemed like it had a life of it's own! Look it's all stretchy and fermented:

I added it to the rest of the ingredients and began the final process that would take us through to having fresh hot ciabatta to welcome in the four day weekend. I was slightly concerned as the dough was really wet and in the end I did end up adding lots more flour with it to make it manageable. I wasn't sure if I should have, but I wanted a dough I could shape properly.

The massive amount of dough the total mix made meant I could make four large loaves.

They rested again once they'd been shaped, and then I stretched them out slightly and put them in the hot oven. Having added lots of additional flour I really wasn't sure how they'd eventually turn out, they smelt good, but would the taste and texture be alright?

Oh yes! They came out of the oven smelling amazing and actually looking like ciabatta.

Then we cut into them. I wish the steam had been picked up in this photograph, along with the smell. It was so satisfying.

So, while it was still hot, we divided the bread between us, dished up some of the roasted tomatoes I'd also made earlier, added olives, freshly grated parmesan and a touch of balsamic vinegar and oil. Voila! A perfect and extremely delicious meal served with cold white wine.

There really couldn't have been a better way to welcome in the weekend. Well, at least we didn't think so.

p.s. recipes for the ciabatta and roasted tomatoes to come later when I can be bothered to type them up. Right now there are more important things to be doing: the Arsenal match is about to begin...

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