Ciabatta Bread

Photo Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

If you adore the taste, texture and smell of homemade bread, this ciabatta bread recipe is an excellent one for you to learn to make from scratch. These ciabatta loaves are characterised by their fluffy interior with large air bubbles, rectangular shape and crusty outside. This bread recipe will be delicious spread with butter or as a sandwich bread. When Michelle, the author of Brown Eyed Baker recipe blog, came up with this ciabatta bread recipe, she realised how easy it was to make bread every day. Bread baking is time-consuming, but each step is very easy, and the time it taste to make bread is mostly hands-off time, which means you can go and do whatever you want while the dough ferments, rises and bakes. If baking homemade bread sounds appealing to you, check out Michelle’s blog for her easy-to-follow instructions.

Bread baking has to be one of the oldest culinary skills there is, and bread has been noted as a central food to civilisation for centuries. Bread varies in its preparation from culture to culture, with it taking shape as flat bread or yeast-based bread. No matter the bread variety, the process of making bread is similar across the board, though. Many yeast-based bread recipes will start with a fermented starter, which you can make yourself or buy. In the case of this ciabatta bread recipe, the starter is called a sponge, but in other cultures, it might be noted as a levain or poolish. The main purpose of the sponge is to help develop the taste, texture and structure of the bread, and it is an important step of sourdough bread, country boule or French bread. The longer a sponge or pre-ferment is allowed to sit, the better it will taste and the sourer it will smell. This process can go too far, though, and in those cases, the starter can be fed with additional water and flour to slow the production of the yeast. In the case of this ciabatta bread, you won’t have to worry as much about over fermenting the starter, since it is prepared with completely fresh ingredients and used within an appropriate amount of time. If you were making a sourdough bread recipe, however, leftovers of the starter can be kept for years and would need continuous feedings to maintain its quality.

Common bread ingredients are flour, yeast and salt, and that is what you find in this bread recipe as well. In the case of this bread, instant quick-rising yeast is used, which is the easiest variety of yeast for the home cook to use. Unlike dry active yeast, instant yeast doesn’t have to be dissolved in liquid before use. Instead, it can be mixed directly into the dough. As with any baking and pastry recipe, precision is required to make the perfect loaf, but chances are you will achieve something very good nonetheless. For bread bakers, it takes several tries to achieve the best results, such as the right flavour, volume and crust. One tip for ensuring proper rise to the dough is to find a warm place in your home to proof it. All most dough recipes need is an hour or so to double in size, but the process can slow down if your house is cold. To proof a crusty bread recipe, warm your oven to the lowest possible temperature and turn it off. You can place the dough inside the oven and allow it to proof with the residual heat of the oven. Thank you to Michelle, the author of Brown Eyed Baker recipe blog, for sharing her ciabatta recipe with us.

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