Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lesson #104: Ciabatta Bread

This bread has everything you want in a bread: a crispy crust, soft & spongy inside, and an incredible depth of flavor. The recipe takes a little planning ahead because you make a sponge (a mixture of flour, water, and yeast) the night before and a little hands on time folding over the bread to create pockets of air, but it is TOTALLY worth it.

One surprising technique to creating a crispy crust is to use a squirt bottle to spray the dough in the oven during the first few minutes of baking. The steam helps to create a golden, crunchy crust that you typically see on artisinal bread. It's so good! Even though I'm known for eating the soft, spongy part of the bread first, the crispy crust is AMAZING.

Since this recipe makes two loaves, I found that you can easily freeze the bread (wrapped in foil) and reheat in a moderate oven until warm and crispy. The bonus is that you already did the work of making the bread and can enjoy it later with dinner - like we did with spinach lasagna!

LESSON LEARNED: Using a squirt bottle to spray water on the dough creates a crispy crust on this bread.

Recipe for Ciabatta Bread

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