Remember what I resolved after the Daring Baker's fiasco back in December? I made a resolution to conquer the much dreaded bread making and vowed to produce a stunning loaf by the end of 2012. I even spammed my brother, Suresh, with links of bread-making books on Amazon coercing him into buying me one for my birthday/Christmas. And he did, no surprise there!
Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads is a brilliant book with interesting and easy to follow recipes. Following his recipe I managed to bake myself an really good basic white loaf and things have really taken off since then.
Figuring that yeast/bread is no longer the enemy, I decided to jump right in and try out the ciabatta recipe. It turned out so much better than expected! Perfect crisp crust with a light, air-pocketed middle. It's even looks like a typical ciabatta loaf - broad and almost flat.
That same evening I talked Gavin through the recipe on Skype and even he made some pretty awesome ciabatta loaves. This recipe doesn't involve any kneading - just throw the ingredients into a bowl, give a good mix and leave it to rise. Tip the risen dough onto a heavily floured surface, coat it with more flour, cut it up into desired size, bung it in the oven and voila! Homemade ciabatta!
Like any rustic bread, ciabattas are so versatile and so I've been dunking it in soups, making bruschettas and plan to make sandwiches with it. So good!