ciabatta at the farm

Ciabatta is one of my favorite Italian breads. Mom brought a loaf, for dinner, last Sunday and raved about how quick and easy it was to make. I’ve been experimenting with ciabatta recipes for Italian by Night for months but hadn’t quite found what I was looking for. When I bit into this bread last weekend, I knew my search was over. I’ve tweaked the recipe and the technique making it even easier than the original  If you like making bread, this recipe is a keeper. If you’ve never made bread before, give this a try. You’ll never look back! The chewy interior encased in crunchy goodness inspired me to create a roast chicken and plum tomato ciabatta  sandwich topped with a spicy guacamole for lunch at the farm. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know it must be raining outside for me to be spending this much time making lunch when I could be outside playing in the garden!

We arrived at the farm yesterday, packed to the rafters, ready to begin a summer filled with our new puppy Fynnigan, visits with the girls, the witches, family and friends. We’re behind with the garden, our new pond looks icky, dandelions are running rampant and the barn is beyond dismal. All of the ingredients needed to make a spectacular summer! We’ll work hard then we’ll play hard…

Ralph and I have committed this summer to tackling the barn. Over the last couple of years, Dad has worked away rebuilding the doors complete with stunning hand forged hinges. It is awesome to have a dad who can make anything! We’ve sourced the lumber from a local mill and are hoping to have it delivered within the month. A hundred years ago, our barn was shingled. Forty years ago, too much of it was covered in aluminium siding. This year it will be resurfaced with board and batten siding. The roof is rusty but otherwise in great shape so we’ll coat it with a black colored rust inhibitor. Ralph’s been pushing for red but I can’t get my head around a red roof on a pale yellow barn!

The Spring has been unseasonably cold which kept the apple blossoms from bursting before I got here. They should be popping in the next couple of days so if the rain lets up I’ll be in the pastures capturing the magic.

It’s wonderful to be here and more wonderful to see what the summer will bring…

Ciabatta – adapted from Betty Crocker New Addition Cook Book

2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
3 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Place yeast in bowl of stand mixer
Add water, mix together then allow yeast to soften for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, stir flour and salt together.

After the yeast is soft and frothy, add olive oil and mix
Add flour and salt mixture.
Using dough hook, knead dough for 10 minutes

Dough will be soft and sticky

Pour a glug of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a clean bowl.
Place bread dough in bowl coating the bottom then turn it over so all of the dough is covered.
Cover with a clean tea towel and allow it to raise for 1 hour. The dough should hold an indent from your fingers.
Punch the dough down, turn it over, cover again and allow dough to raise 40 minutes
After 40 minutes, turn dough out on to flour surface and divide into 2 pieces.
Carefully shape the dough into 2 loaves
Dust tops with flour and allow the loaves to rasie until doubles in bulk

Preheat oven 375*F

Check at 30 minutes – loaves should be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom

THE LOVE: Don’t be put off with how sticky the dough is. I use a rubber spatula to move the dough and grease my hands with a little olive oil to shape the loaves. Take your time…

printable copy

If you have any recipes that you’d like me to develop or write about, let me know. I’d be happy to oblige!

one years ago: quinoa and chickpea salad

two years ago: rhubarb cake

Thanks for reading.