Ciabatta

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Well it has been an interesting week, we have heard of the discovery of Gravitational Waves, detected from the collision of two black holes more than a billion light years away and we have learnt that “made in England” suits for the English football team have to travel almost as far before they hit the shops!

Yup, dress yourself in a cloth that is sold as “100% British” and do your bit for the country. It is after all woven in Leeds so what could be more British? Well, as described by the BBC, the torturous route of these very British suits is:

  • The shearing of quality wool from Merino sheep in Australia or New Zealand. Looks like the poor British sheep are simply not good enough…..
  • All this fresh wool then gets shipped off to China for cleaning and processing. Unfortunately it would seem that China are not experts in diving as….
  • It’s off to Italy to get just the right colour on the wool. At least we are in Europe….
  • And we stay in Europe for the next step or two with the wool being spun into thread in places like Romania.
  • Then the all important British step, the threads are woven into cloth in Leeds.
  • Obviously the Brits are no good with needle and thread because the cloth is then off to Cambodia to be turned into suits.
  • The finished articles are then brought back so that they are available for purchase in shops across Britain.

So in truth perhaps they haven’t travelled quite as far as the recently discovered gravitational waves, but it does seem rather a surreal journey and a ridiculous amount of environmental impact just to put a suit on someone’s back.

Well this week I am doing my bit for our planet, the recipe this week requires just two bowls and a spatula to make. As promised, a bread that does not need any fancy equipment, nor if fact does it require any effort at all. So dig out a couple of plastic bowls from China and give it a go……..

 


Ciabatta  

Ingredients for 2 small loaves:

¼ tsp Yeast

150ml Warm Water

200g Strong white bread flour

1 tsp Salt

3 tbsp olive oil


Method:

This recipe requires two large bowls that fit together. Ideally the second bowl, turned upside down, needs to be able to form a lid for the first one.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in the lid bowl.

Mix together the flour and salt in the base bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones with a wooden spoon. This will form a soft, sticky dough.

Put about a third of the olive oil into the bottom of the now empty base bowl. Gently spoon in the dough and use the now empty dough bowl as a lid for the other.

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Dough after First Mix

Leave for one hour to rise.

GENTLY, using a plastic spatula, fold the dough in half then in half again. Cover and leave for an hour.

Repeat the folding and resting thrice more, adding a little more olive oil each time, to ensure it does not stick and to add flavour to the finished bread.

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Turning the Dough

At the end of the final resting time preheat the oven to 260ºC Conventional Oven or 240ºC if it is Fan Assisted.

 

Generously dust a working surface with flour. GENTLY pour out the mixture and cut in half. With well floured hands shape each piece of dough into an elongated round. Sprinkle with flour and move onto a baking tray.

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Cutting and Shaping the Dough

Bake for 15 minutes. The outside should be crisp and the inside nice and soft.

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The Finished Breads

Notes:

If you don’t have two bowls that fit together well, just use a shower cap! A shower cap is a marvellous tool for the kitchen and perfect for bread making. Just use one to cover a bowl whilst the dough rises. The cheaper the shower cap the better….. the very best are the ones one might see in a hotel room…. not that I would recommend pilfering one of course!

To cut and shape the loaves, and indeed to help move them onto a baking tray, try a dough scraper. I find they help shape the loaves and handle the dough. Far from essential but certainly a nice-to-have.

I use Fast-Action Dried Yeast that can be bought in foiled packets in many supermarkets. Unopened packets last for a long time, which gives me the flexibility to bulk-buy when I am in town!


 

As usual, please feel free to leave any comments in the fields at the bottom of the page. I will respond to all comments received.


 

Key:

tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml

tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml


2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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One thought on “Ciabatta

  1. Pingback: Ciabatta | Other Man's Flavours

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