I am now officially a Bread Baker! Maybe I’m a Bread Baker’s Apprentice because I used Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (a Christmas gift from my daughter – thanks, Harriet!) to bake this Ciabatta.
The crust has just the right amount of crispness, the inside is tender and holey (is that a word? you know what I mean) and it tastes good. I’ve impressed myself, that’s for sure! Makes me wish I was having a dinner party. Of course, I didn’t cook anything else or clean the house….
There were lots of personal firsts in this Ciabatta Baking project:
– first time using a “pre-ferment” – in this case the wet sponge Poolish
– first time using a couche (although I didn’t have one so I made my own with a white linen dish cloth, spray oil and flour) to hold the rising loaves
– first time using the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer, which I have owned for 20 years. It’s a miracle I actually found the dough hook. Hey, I’m learning to bake.
– first time I used steam while baking (this involved spraying the hot oven with water and pouring hot water in a cast iron skillet in a really hot oven when the loaves first went in, then reducing the temperature).