‘Bout time we make some darned bread around these parts, isn’t it? I mean, there’s that pesky title of the place, about “Yeast” and all, and we haven’t seen bread in months ! Literally MONTHS I tells ya !
Bad Roberta. Bad baker.
Well….it’s not that bread *hasn’t* been being made in the little kitchen (OWWWW, grammatically massacred, much?), it’s just that they’ve all been recipes/techniques I’ve shared with all y’all before. Like a loaf of my sourdough or two, and some cornbread (no need to share that one, who can’t make cornbread??) and some of that M. Grill knock-off rosemary-olive oil bread.
And this ciabatta. I actually baked this a few weeks ago, but got sidetracked telling you about it with the surprise that was that cranberry jelly (still loving that, by the way) and the gnocchi. See, I get easily distracted…..EWW, Pretty ! SHINY !! GLITTERY !!!!!!!!
And bread, bread….bread is not pretty, shiny nor glittery. Bread is humble, bread is plain, bread is modest and unassuming. Well, not really, but you get the idea. Compared to the flash and dazzle of homemade gnocchi, bread is pretty unpretentious. But then you pull a fresh-baked loaf out of the oven, and schmeer (highly technical cooking term alert) it with good, sweet butter, and sprinkle it with coarse salt, and of course you remember how sublime good bread is, for all its simplicity.
So, now’s the time to revisit bread, and a damn fine bread this is.
And considering how wet (slack is another term you’ll hear for wet, soft doughs) this dough is, pretty easy to work with, and get an acceptable result from (good heavens, my internal Grammar Police must’ve taken the night off….). Just take a deep breath, read the technique through, and follow the internal Zen that is working with a slack dough.
Uhhhhhh, yeah. I’m still working on finding that Zen. Sometimes the dogs get a little worried when Mazzie’s trying to shape an artisan loaf.
This one, though, because of the signature shape of ciabatta, is pretty much a breeze. You “plour” (that’s a combination of plunk and pour) the dough onto a parchment, and then gently prod and coax the edges into that “slipper” shape. Gentle, careful coaxing. Don’t even try to “shape” the dough into a loaf, it’s so slack that ain’t gunna happen with this dough, and you’ll just get frustrated and yell and scare the little dogs. We don’t want to scare the little dogs. Plus, you’ll be tempted to use too much flour to get the dough to a manageable state, and then your bread will be too tough and hard, and well, you’ll get frustrated and yell and scare the dogs. See caveat about not scaring the dogs, above. Trust the inner Zen that the little yeastie bugs will do grand things with that blob of ploured dough.
Don’t ask me how I know that yelling scares little dogs. Nothing that a few doggie treetz won’t cure, though. Usually.
BTW, Lulu still has a Mohawk…..but I digress.