Friday, November 02, 2007

Ciabatta-ish No-Knead Bread

As I mentioned, my adventures in bread baking did result in a ciabatta-ish loaf of no-knead bread. I have no idea how real ciabatta bread is made but this version results in a flat bread with a thick artisanal crust.

Ciabatta-ish No-Knead Bread
Adapted from my adapted recipe for even easier no-knead bread

You'll need:
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (For wheat bread, 2 cups white, 1 cup whole wheat.)
1 1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of yeast, the kind sold in packets and jars

You can skip this step entirely and dump all the ingredients together in a bowl. But I think this step helps the yeast activate just a little bit. In my simplified version (ie: lazy), turn on hot water tap in bathroom and when it's hot, measure out 1 1/2 cups water. (This is because I don't have a food thermometer but have found the bathroom hot tap water the perfect temperature for yeast to rise.) Add 1/4 tsp yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Swirl the mixture around a little to activate the yeast. Add 1 tsp salt (more if you want a saltier bread) and flour. Mix thoroughly but quickly. You'll get a sticky, lumpy dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and a thick towel and leave it to rise in a warm place for at least 12 hours, ideally 18 or more. Just do it the night before and let it rise while you're asleep and at work the next day. The dough should double in size with lots of bubbles like this.

Liberally flour a cutting board and dump the dough onto the surface, dusting the top again. Cover with plastic and towel again and let it rise for a few hours. You can fold or shape your dough to make it a little more compact but you don't have to. I usually place my cutting board on the stove top where it'll be warmer once I preheat the oven for baking. Then spread out the dough and fold the two length-wise ends in, then pinch the two outside corners to form a long loaf.

Half an hour before you're ready to bake, turn oven to 450 degrees and put your pizza stone in to preheat also. Flip the two loaves so the folded sides are at the bottom.

Bake for half an hour to 45 minutes until loaves are browned.

See how light and fluffy the inside looks?

1 year ago today, herbed escargot, bun cha Ha Noi (Vietnamese Hanoi-style vermicelli rice noodles and grilled pork), and roasted Cornish game hens at Saigon Bistro - Westminster (Little Saigon).

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