The author of this ciabatta bread recipe had me laughing out loud - literally - with comments like this as you went along with the recipe:
Add flour and salt to your bowl of yeasty water. This, after measuring out the flour, presents another prime opportunity to get flour on your person. This will be regarded by many as a sign of your culinary determination. You’ll need such signs because anybody who actually watches you make the bread will think you’re one of the laziest bakers in existence.
Which meant that I had to make a loaf immediately. 🙂
adapted from lifehack.com
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour (do NOT pack the flour into the measuring cup)
- 2 cups of bread flour
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of granulated yeast (or equivalent)
Mix water and yeast in a large bowl. Add flour, salt, sugar (I mixed the water and yeast in a different bowl and poured it into a well I made with the flour - but the recipe states you can just put it in the main bowl). Stir into a heavy batter - this only takes a minute or two. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 8 to 12 hours, or until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Prep your cookie sheet, parchment paper or baking stone with flour and cornmeal. This is a very sticky batter so be sure to coat your work surface well. Pour out the batter onto your pan of choice forming a long bread shape. It doesn't have to be perfect, your cutting it up anyway. Add spices of your choice to the top (I actually recommend doing this when you mix the dough 8 to 12 hours previously).
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.
It's time to step up the bread game after this one. I have the basic 'no knead' method down - but I really want to make good breads in the future and I know that's going to require some blood, sweat and tears.
I used the ciabatta bread later that night to make grilled pork sandwiches - that I didn't get to photograph because it was late and we were very hungry. Don't let the lack of photos fool you, they are delicious, and you really need to make this recipe soon.
Grilled Pork and Fontina Sandwiches
adapted for picky eaters everywhere from foodnetwork.com
- 2 (8-ounce) 1-inch thick, boneless pork loin chops
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
- (1 pound) loaf ciabatta or rustic bread, ends trimmed, cut in ½ horizontally
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves, halved lengthwise
- 4 ounces fontina cheese, cut into (¼-inch thick) slices
Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the pork chops on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle both sides with the herbs de Provence and grill for 10 minutes. Turn the chops over and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 160 degrees F. Transfer the chops to a cutting board and let them rest for 10 minutes. Slice each chop into 6 (¼-inch thick) slices.
To assemble the sandwiches: Lay the bottom half of the bread on a work surface and spread with some of the mayonnaise. Add the lettuce leaves, arrange the cheese slices on the lettuce and top with the pork slices. Spread the top half of the bread with the remaining mayonnaise mixture and cover the sandwiches. Slice the loaf into 4 pieces and serve.
I placed the sandwiches on the panini press before serving for about 5 minutes. This made the bread thinner, which helps in the eating department and also, added a really good crisp to the bread while melting the cheese into the pork. I would add some caramelized onion and maybe try this with brown sugar and cumin for the seasoning the pork the next time I make it. And Lord knows, while we're at it, I'd also add bacon. Bacon makes everything better.