Manasi and myself ,we enjoy eating ciabatta with olive oil and some freshly grated parmesan . I buy this italian bread from Trader Joe's and I think there ciabatta is particularly fantsatic .I buy this bread very often and everytime I buy it I give it a serious thought of baking it in my oven some day.
The last tiny piece of Ciabatta from Trader Joe's was lying on the kitchen island and I still had plenty of fresh mozzarella & sun dried tomato and fresh basil I had bought to make ciabatta sandwiches for Manasi. So I set out to make this very versatile Italian ,"slipper bread". The shape of the bread justifies its name.It quite resembles a slipper,with its characteristic long & flat shape. I looked up on the net and found one recipe which had been reviewed and had solid feedback :) I followed the instructions to the T as I knew this artisan bread needs to have the perfect crackly crust and a moist crumb. Trust me-The bread looked great,tasted so perfect that between Manasi & me we finished of more than half of it while it was still warm ,with just olive oil. The crust and the crumb soaked the oil so well-it tasted exquisitely divine . I later used the remaining ciabatta to make Manasi a tomato mozzarella sandwich.
Ingredients For Sponge:
Active Dry Yeast: 1/8 tsp
water: 2 tbsp (105-115 f )
room temprature water: 1/3 cup
Bread flour: 1/3 cup
Active Dry Yeast: 1/2 tsp
Warm Milk: 2 tbsp (102-115 f )
Room temprature water: 2/3
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Bread Flour: 2 cups
Salt: 1 1/2 tsp
Method to Make the Sponge:
Stir together warm water and yeast.
Let this stand till frothy/creamy
Transfer this mixture to another bowl and to this add 1/3 cup room tempartaure water and flour.
Stir this for 4 minutes.Make sure you stir this for 4 minutes,it will come together.
Now cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it for half a day minimum 12 hours or upto 1 day at cool room temprature.
Method for the Bread:
Mix the milk and yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes until creamy or frothy. Now in a food processor blend milk with sponge,water,oil & flour and run the processor till moistined. Run the food processor for a couple minutes more,add salt and run the food processor for couple minutes again.
Please Note: The original recipe called for beating this in an electric mixre with dough hook but I kneaded the dough in the food processor and it turned out just fine. You can also knead by hand. Just follow the time needed to beat/knead or process.
Scrape dough and cover with plastic wrap until doubled 1 1/2 hours.
Baking The Ciabatta Bread:
Dough will be sticky and full of bubbles. Cut two pieces of parchement paper approximately 10 inches by 6. Place on baking sheet and flour well.
Turn dough out on a well floured surface and cut in two halves.
Transfer each half to paper and shape into irregular oval shape about 7 inches.
Dip fingers in flour and dimple loaves.
Dust tops with flour.
Cover with dampened kitchen towel and let it rise double in size for roughly 1 1/2 hours or more untill doubled in size.
Heat the pizza stone in the lowest rack at 425 d farhaneight 45 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread.
Transfer 1 loaf along with the parchment paper on the pizza stone and bake for 20 minutes or till the top is pale golden .
remove this and keep it on the rack to cool and repeat the same with another roll.
Recipe for Ciabatta Sandwich:
Fresh mozzarella : Cut thin rounds
Sun dried Tomato: chopped into small pieces.
basil: 5-7 leaves chopped.
Pesto: 2 tbsp
Ciabatta loaf: 2 pieces.
Take 2 pieces of ciabatta loaf and spread pesto on both sides. Arrange mozzarella rounds,and spread chopped sun dried tomato along with chopped basil leaves on one loaf. Press the othet half on top of this and heat this on a griddle and press it tight with a plate or keep something heavy on the plate.. Do this on both sides till the sandwich is flat and slightly crisp & brown on both sides. Please make this in a panini maker if you have one.
Notes: Please follow the exact instructions for the sponge .
You can add a slice of cheddar cheese and a fresh tomato slice too along with other things.