Monday, August 10, 2009

Further Musings on Ciabatta

Of course one of the reasons why ciabatta figured on the menu everyday during our river vacation is that I had completely forgotten to take my bannetons (proofing baskets) with me and that the rather austere contents of the cabin kitchen cabinets offered no real substitute. But since I often proof my breads "au clair", i.e. right side up on a floured parchment paper, it wasn't the main reason. The fact is that the tweaked recipe I stumbled upon after months of trial and error yields a flavorful ciabatta which remains fresh day after day and since I baked almost every day on the island, I was able to try many different flavors, to mix and match the leftover loaves and thus to offer an appealing variety of choices, especially at breakfast. Besides Plain, Drunken (fermented apples), Whole Wheat, Kamut and Blueberry, we had 10-grain Parmesan Cheese and Italian Fennel Sausage (above picture), Olive and Rosemary and Apricot and Limoncello. All were very good. The Parmesan Cheese and Italian Fennel Sausage was a special hit among the men and boys in our crowd. I completely forgot to take a picture of the crumb, probably because, disappointingly, it wasn't as open as I had hoped for. The reason for that is not clear: is it because I had completely forgotten the dough and left it to ferment for hours (it was crawling out of the container by the time I got back to it, so I did a quick fold and stuck it in the refrigerator to calm it down for one hour or so and later gave it only a very short proof) or because I used 10-grain flour instead of white whole wheat? I can't say for sure but I suspect overfermentation is the culprit. I will have to try the 10-grain flour again to make sure.

1 comment:

  1. Have just been exploring your blog after your lovely email after I commented on your tea cosy.
    I know lots of my friends who would love this blog! Must steer them across.
    Thank goodness for RSS feed that keeps me up-to-date.
    I haven't to date, made bread except for when we lived in Indonesia in Bogor for 3 years in the eighties and I used to make beer bread from time to time. You've inspired me to have a go!
    Hope the reading is going well.

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