Baking Bread: Ciabatta

In last year’s to do summer list, I wrote I wanted to bake more bread. Amazingly, I have made various forms of bread at least three times since that post and last month (still haven’t tried the challah bread like I said I wanted to!). I’m finally starting to feel like bread isn’t as terrifying as it sounds; you just have to be patient and follow the recipe. With this new confidence, I started sifting through recipes I’ve collected (Twitter and searching for random recipes or ingredients online has made my recipe list quite hefty) and found one for Ciabatta from TheKitchn. I’d been dying to make an at-home version of a sandwich I love from Romano’s Macaroni Grill that’s on ciabatta and after glancing at the ingredients and drooling over the pictures on the website, I decided I must make it.

My excitement dwindled a bit when I carefully read the recipe and realized I needed to start the night before to make a starter. So, I did our meal planning for the usual two weeks, scheduled in my copycat sandwiches and set a reminder in my phone to make the starter on the correct night.

I have never made a bread with this consistency before and it made me slightly nervous. My starter didn’t sound like the description, but it acted fine when I threw it in with the rest of the ingredients. Mixing it in my KitchenAid was a new experience, as well. I use it all the time for cookies and cakes, but I’ve never tried to knead something on speed 5 or 6 for 17 minutes. Like the article said, it did walk all over the counter, and I feared my motor wouldn’t make it, even with the few breaks I gave it during the kneading time. I never saw the point in needing one of the bigger, stronger KitchenAid mixers, but I totally get it now. And, I’ve decided when this one dies, or if I get the chance to upgrade, I’ll definitely go bigger.

Dumping the bread onto a well floured surface, shaping and moving the ciabatta bread was probably the trickiest part; I feared I had broken too many of the bubbles that make it so tasty, but after they were baked and I cut one open, I was rewarded with lots of nooks and crannies and bubbles.

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Ta da!

I didn’t get 16 rolls, but the 12 I did get were beyond delicious. I couldn’t wait until they were cool, either. I had to crack one open and slather it with butter, risking burned/steamed fingers (it was totally worth it).

The copycat sandwiches also turned out well.

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The Romano's Macaroni Grill copycat sandwich with Parmesan fries

I froze the few leftover rolls, thinking we wouldn’t eat them for a bit and I could test how well they last and reheat. I thought wrong. There’s only one left in the freezer and I’m not sure it will last much longer (it makes killer cheesy bread and is a great foundation for a breakfast sandwich!), but the ones we reheated in the oven were just as good as the freshly baked ones. We will definitely have more ciabatta rolls in the future, and I’m sure the copycat sandwich will make many more appearances on the meal menu. Want to try making your own ciabatta? Check out the recipe here: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-hom-159913

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. whilehewasout
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 08:26:22

    Seems to me a perfect ciabatta!

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Homemade Snickers « conversebear

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