A holiday loaf

Happy New Year! It’s holiday season and I vaguely recall that I once wrote a blog semi-frequently. Then life (and Instagram) took over. Happily, things have slowed down over the past week or so and I’ve had time to run, read, cook, and I figure I can even knock out a recipe post or two.

I’m not sure what it is about Christmas, staying with my parents and bread – each year, I seem to find myself in the kitchen making some form of bread. Maybe it stems from the Croatian roots, where a meal isn’t a meal if there isn’t bread on the table. Maybe it’s just because it makes me feel like ‘home’. Whatever it is, this year has proven no different.

As my sourdough starter is tucked up safely in my fridge at home, I’m relying on commercial yeast. And the what to make was decided when Master Seven dictated that nobody was to eat rest of the ciabatta his Baba (Nana) had bought.

This is my go to recipe – it always works and is pretty hard to muck up. And, it never fails to impress.

Note: I’m a big fan of fresh yeast (which you can buy from the grocery department of your supermarket), but active dry yeast works well too. I find loaves have better ‘holes’ with fresh yeast.

What you’ll need

6g fresh yeast (2-3g active dry yeast)

3g (½tsp) sugar

300g tepid water

380g strong flour

8g salt

20g olive oil

How to make it

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 150gm of the water. Set aside for 10 minutes to activate.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the yeast mixture and remainder of the water into the dry ingredients. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for five minutes.

20171227_160615.jpgMix in the olive oil by hand, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.

20171227_165019Using your hand, fold the dough from underneath over itself. Repeat in the opposite direction. Do this three more times, with 10 minute intervals between each fold (four rounds of folds in total).

20171228_091253Cover the bowl with cling film and rest the dough for 45-60 minutes. I often do this overnight and keep in the fridge for a slow prove. If doing this, remove bowl from the fridge and let come to room temperature before proceeding with the next step.

20171228_091908.jpgCover an oven tray with baking paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a rectangular loaf. Flour the top of the loaf and loosely cover with cling film. Rest for 30-45 minutes.

Turn the oven to 210°C fanbake while the loaf is resting. (Experiment with the temperature as oven temperatures can vary from oven to oven.)

20171228_112603 (1)Pop a ramekin of water onto the baking tray – this provides steam (or use the steam setting if you have a flash oven). When the oven is hot, pop the tray into the oven.

20171228_121318Cook for 12 minutes, then rotate the tray in the oven. Cook for a further 12-15 minutes until the loaf is cooked through (timing will depend on your oven).

Cool before slicing – if you can manage to wait. As always with fresh bread, it tastes better with butter (especially if it is Lewis Road Creamery product). Give it a go this holiday season – perfect for the summer barbies.

Ciabatta

  • Servings: one loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

6g fresh yeast (2-3g active dry yeast)

3g (½tsp) sugar

300g tepid water

380g strong flour

8g salt

20g olive oil

Directions

  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 150gm of the water. Set aside for 10 minutes to activate.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the yeast mixture and remainder of the water into the dry ingredients. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for five minutes.
  4. Mix in the olive oil by hand, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.
  5. Using your hand, fold the dough from underneath over itself. Repeat in the opposite direction. Do this three more times, with 10 minute intervals between each fold (four rounds of folds in total).
  6. Cover the bowl with cling film and rest the dough for 45-60 minutes. I often do this overnight and keep in the fridge for a slow prove. If doing this, remove bowl from the fridge and let come to room temperature before proceeding with the next step.
  1. Cover an oven tray with baking paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a rectangular loaf. Flour the top of the loaf and loosely cover with cling film. Rest for 30-45 minutes.
  1. Turn the oven to 210°C fanbake while the loaf is resting. (Experiment with the temperature as oven temperatures can vary from oven to oven.)
  2. Pop a ramekin of water onto the baking tray – this provides steam (or use the steam setting if you have a flash oven). When the oven is hot, pop the tray into the oven. Cook for 12 minutes, then rotate the tray in the oven. Cook for a further 12-15 minutes until the loaf is cooked through (timing will depend on your oven).

 

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