Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ciabatta Recipe

This is one of our favorite breads that we have used around the world in all Tribeca Cafe's

Ciabatta, an airy, white hearth bread from Italy’s Lake Como region, receives its name from its appearance: the finished loaf, a fat oval, looks like a homely, comfortably broken-in slipper.
Ciabatta embodies the maxim, It takes a slack dough to make light bread: this dough is so slack (wet) that it must be kneaded by machine, not hand.

The texture of this bread is what sets it apart. The interior is soft and porous, with large irregular holes, while the crust is crunchy and crisp, rather than chewy. Serve ciabatta with pasta, where it’s a great sauce-mopper. Or use it to make pan bagna (“bathed bread”), Italy’s famous stuffed sandwich. To make pan bagna, cut the ciabatta in half to make a top and bottom crust. Brush the cut sides with olive oil, layer on meats, cheeses, and vegetables, then wrap the sandwich and weigh it down for several hours before serving.

Makes 2 loaves, 8 servings each

• 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
• 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
• 1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon (a very scant 1/2 ounce) instant yeast
• 2 teaspoons (1/8 ounce) nonfat dry milk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce) salt
• 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (7 3/4 ounces) water*
• 1 tablespoon (3/4 ounce) olive oil
• 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1. TO MAKE THE BIGA: Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, cover the bowl, and let it rest for about 12 hours, or overnight.
2. FOR THE DOUGH: Use your fingers to pull the biga into walnut-sized pieces, and place the pieces into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast, dry milk, salt, water, olive oil, and flour, and beat slowly with a flat beater paddle or beaters for about 3 minutes. Replace the beater paddle with the dough hook(s), increase the speed to medium, and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should be very sticky and slack. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over every 45 minutes or so.

3. TO SHAPE THE LOAVES: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and use a bench knife or dough scraper to divide it in half. Working with one half at a rime, shape the dough into a rough log. Transfer the log to a parchment-lined baking sheet, or one sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina, and flatten it into an irregular 10 x 4-inch oval. Use your fingers - your entire finger, not just the tip - to indent the surface of the dough vigorously and thoroughly Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Cover the loaves with heavily greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and set them aside to rise until very puffy, 2 to 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

4. BAKING THE BREAD: Half an hour before you want to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister for about 5 seconds. Place the bread in the oven and spritz water into the oven three more times during the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake the loaves for a total of about 25 minutes, or until they’re a deep golden brown and their interior temperature measures 210 degrees F. Remove the loaves from the pan and return them to the oven. Turn off the oven, crack the door open a couple of inches, and let the loaves cool completely in the oven. Dust the loaves generously with flour.
*Use an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons of water in the winter, or in very dry conditions.

Nutrition information per serving: 1 slice, 51g
103 cal, 1ig fat, 3g protein, 20g complex carbohydrates, lg dietary fiber, 269 mg sodium, 45mg potassium, 2RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 5mg calcium, 31mg phosphorus


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good recipe