Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ciabatta (Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge)

When I first flipped through the pages of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, I came to a screeching halt when I landed on the ciabatta bread recipe. You see ciabatta is my all time favorite bread when I'm making panini. And I was thrilled at the thought of being able to make it myself instead of continuing to pay the high price for ciabatta from the bakery.

I used the recipe for the poolish version and I can remember thinking that the difference between the needed amounts of water listed (6 tablespoons to 3/4 cup) left quite a large margin for differences in hydration. And since this was really the first "wet" dough we've worked with thus far, my experience with this type of dough was nil. I didn't even come close to using 3/4 cup of water and I'm guessing from what I've read about ciabatta since I made my loaves, the amount of water used dictates the final outcome of the bread's texture.

While I really enjoyed the flavor of this ciabatta, I was disappointed that it wasn't as holey as I had anticipated. And I don't mean in a "come to Jesus" way. I like my ciabatta filled with all those air pockets to soak up herbed olive oil or whatever else I have close by to dip it in.

I shall attempt this again, and the next time I will pay closer attention to the amount of water I add. I won't be defeated. And... this challenge still rocks!

This panini is the family's new favorite. Deli-sliced thin roast beef, gruyere cheese, sauteed onions and green peppers, and mayo (mixed with a bit of horseradish.) Grill it then dip it in beef broth or consomme. Delish!

16 comments:

haleysuzanne said...

Those loaves are gorgeous, and I love your pictures. The panini is so perfectly grilled; you make me want a sandwich! I'm looking forward to this challenge, as well.

stephchows said...

OK your come to jesus comment made me bust out loud laughing... coworkers are looking over at me weird now :D LOVE your writing in the flour photo!!

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Your ciabatta really rocks...it's fab & that sandwich could easily become my fave. I've gotta get a hold on all this bread baking. I dream of making a ciabatta that looks like yours!!

misterrios said...

Mine wasn't holey either! It was a bit thick, but it might have been from the flour. I was definitely underwhelmed by it.

However, yours are beautiful, and that panini just looks maaaah-velous.

Rosemary & Garlic said...

Mine was pretty holey. I did the poolish but will try the biga tomorrow. I found that looking at youtube ciabatta sites on folding helped. I have to get my next loaf wetter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhjGxZyOzDg

susies1955 said...

Love, love, love your sandwich. :) I WANT one.
I actually think that the fluid amount is low in this recipe. I put it all in and it is suppose to be a very wet dough.
You did great "as always".
Love reading your posts and seeing your photos.
Great baking along with you,
Susie

peteeatemall said...

Looks great to me! Mmmm Paninis...cant wait to make mine...I am back in the outdoor kitchen catering so I will give it a whirl...Happy Baking.

Janice said...

I have got to stop getting caught up on our BBA Challenge posts late at night. All these pictures of great sandwiches are making me hungry. I'm not sure I'm ever going to look at ciabatta the same way again, however. I'm going to be thinking, holy or holey? Too funny!

Mags said...

((hugs)) to you all for commenting. Thank you so much.. it means a lot to me!

oggi said...

It's worth making this bread again to make your beautiful and delicious looking sandwich.:)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Love how yours turned out and the sandwich looks perfect!!!

Michelle said...

Your Ciabatta looks fabulous and that sandwich...WOW!

Linda said...

I'm not part of the challenge, but I have tried the poolish version and was similarly disappointed in mine. I will enjoy trying again though. ;)

coffeegrounded said...

Pretty little babies :)

You write in your flour, too! Who would have ever thought? Too bad we can't get it colorized. ;)

ATigerInTheKitchen said...

That sandwich looked truly amazing. Congrats on the beautiful bread.

That flour picture -- we should make that into T-shirts that all BBA-ers can have!

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! I learned to bake bread from the BBA a few years ago :) I am actually making that exact ciabatta recipe right now (found your blog looking for ciabatte oil/vinegar dip ideas). I have made it many times, and the wetter you can get it, the bigger the holes - definitely try putting a lot more liquid next time dough should stick to your fingers and be a bit tricky to deal with unless you flour your hands before your first stretch & fold). Happy baking!!!