Day 8: Bake Bread

YEEESSSS!

Awesome challenge. Awesome. I love baking bread. And the taste of fresh bread (not cheap sandwich bread).

Sooo…it only took me four months to find a bread recipe I liked and that was successful.

So that’s a long time.

But I’m here now, and ready to share it (so you know it’s good, because I searched and tested and searched).

My roommates know of my love (and trials trying to make) sourdough. When I buy bread from the grocery store, its almost ALWAYS When Pigs Fly Sourdough or Whole Wheat Bread. They are super light and airy with a crusty outside and the nice hole-y middle.

This King Arthur’s Flour Ciabatta Recipe fits the bill with lots of holes in the middle. You need to start it the night before, and make it the next morning (on a day when you’ll be around for a little – like a Sunday morning?) or plan on starting 8-15 hours before you’ll be home for several hours.

The results are well worth it.

Ingredients

Biga (starter)

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup Water (I used water at ~110 degrees. King Arthur Flour doesn’t specify a temperature, but that’s what yeast likes best. 110 degrees should be warm to the touch but not hot at all)

1/8 teaspoon Yeast

Dough

Biga

1 teaspoon Yeast

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons Salt

1/4 cup Water

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1. Mix all the biga ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and let sit for 8-15 hours

2. Place all of the dough ingredients, including the biga, in the bowl of a stand mixer* and beat it at medium speed (4 on a kitchenaid) using the flat beater for 7 minutes. Dough will be extremely smooth and elastic, soft and viscous.

3. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 2-2 1/2 hours. Deflate midway through the rise if convenient.

4. Form 2 loaves into a shape of your choice on a greased pan. Allow to rise 1 hour.

5. Oil your fingers, and gently poke deep holes all over the loaves. Let rise one more hour.

6. Spritz, sprinkle, or rub loaves with water. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. (Optional: boil water and place in a pan beneath the baking bread to fill the oven with steam for crustier crust.) Turn off the oven. Remove the loaves from the baking sheet, return them to the oven, and prop the door open with a folded-over oven mitt. Allow the loaves to completely cool in the oven.