Freitag, 5. Juni 2015


Summer has finally arrived in Graz!! And I could not be happier about it. All winter I waited for summer and when I saw this image yesterday I thought someone must have created this for me, haha!

With summer comes summer food; juicy fruit, tasty veggies and my herb garden thrives, it's a joy to watch - and taste!

The only thing that's missing there is rosemary, and when I mentioned that to a friend I was visiting yesterday, she walked to the back of her garden and brought me a bundle of the most aromatic rosemary. A dream!

So I decided to try my hand on rosemary ciabatta. I've been baking my own bread for a while now and go for whole wheat or spelt bread most of the time but I thought the ciabatta would go nicely with a summery salad. Who doesn't love to soak up salad marinade with a piece of ciabatta? Also: it's vegan and only needs 4 ingredients.

I looked up recipes and adapted this one from The Kitchn. I used fresh yeast instead of dried yeast, mostly because it's a public holiday in Austria today (stores are closed) and that was all I had. Also, I mixed three cups of wheat flour with one cup of whole wheat flour for a more saturated taste, which is also why the bread turned out darker. And lastly, a confession: I did not mix the dough for 18 minutes like it is recommended in the recipe. I don't have a stand mixer and since it was arm day on my workout schedule yesterday, I was unable to hold the mixer in the same position for that amount of time 😁 While I am sure there is a reason for this step in the recipe, the bread still turned out fine!

First you create the biga. The biga is the starter for the dough and there is no ciabatta without it. It will have to rest for 12 hours, too, so keep that in mind when baking.

For the biga you'll need:

1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast or 1/4 cube of active yeast
1 cup flour

Start by dissolving the yeast in the water. Add the flour, give it a good stir to activate the gluten. Cover it up and let it rest for 12 hours.

For the ciabatta you'll need:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon dry yeast or 1/2 cube of active yeast
the biga
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt

I also added 1/2 cup of rosemary and to one of the two breads, 1/2 cup of green olives. Dried tomatoes would also work!

Again, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the biga and stir; no need to mix it properly yet. Add the flour and the salt. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, until the flour has absorbed the water. 

Knead the dough using your mixer. The initial recipe calls for a mixing time of up to 18 minutes. I managed about 4 and it was fine.

Cover the bowl and let it sit / rise for another 2-3 hours, until the dough has approximately doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 250°C / 475° F. That's when I added the rosemary. I put a parchment paper onto a baking sheet, took about half of the dough out of the bowl using my hands - the dough is not very compact - and tried to create a long rectangle. Because I used a bit more water due to the whole wheat flour, which has the tendency to absorb water more than normal wheat flour, the dough was a little too wet and did not hold the shape well. I will not add more water when I bake it again, which is why I did not put it the list of ingredients.

I added olives to the remaining dough and on hindsight, I'd drain the olives REALLY GOOD, which I didn't do, which is why the ciabatta is a bit wider and flatter than anticipated. Then I patted the rectangles with a bit of flour and baked them for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. Mine were a bit darker due to the whole wheat flour, as mentioned above.

Perfect bread to go with a summery salad!

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