Monday, June 29, 2009

Ciabatta for the BBA Group

This is the 7th bread from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Group.  I have to confess, I skipped number 6.  I was just kind of sick of egg breads and it was Challah.  The family doesn’t seem to be fans either so I waited the week and dove into the ciabatta.

flickr ciabatta

About the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Group: Nicole of Pinch my Salt sent out a twitter message saying “I need a challenge. Am thinking of baking my way through every single recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Anyone want to join me?” Well I jumped right in. Both feet, no thought at all. I think I was one of the first 5 that joined…did I even have the book? Nope but I ordered it that night!!!


The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

We are now over 200 strong with members everywhere on the globe. It’s an incredibly enthusiastic group that wants to share like no group I have ever belonged to before. Awesome!

Our goal is to bake our way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. An intimidating book at anytime but to think that you are going to be baking one of these recipes a week is slightly overwhelming to say the least. But I love a challenge and feel a real need to get out of my comfort zone. Oh yah, I bake all of our bread but I never seem to have the time or the desire to try something new and different. This will change all that!!!


I followed Peter Reinhart’s recipe for the ciabatta using a poolish.  I left the poolish in the fridge for about 2 days to help the flavor develop and when I was ready to bake the bread I took the poolish out and left it at room temperature for a couple of hours.  I learned my lesson well from my brioche fail and I wanted that sucker at room temp!!!

I added the poolish to the flour, salt, yeast, and water and mixed it all together.  The recipe called for 6 Tablespoons – 3/4 cup of warmish water.  I swear I added all of that and then some just trying to get my dough really wet!!!  The flour was just sucking it right up.  I finally got to the point where I was afraid to add any more and figured it was just time to let it rest. 

This bread is fairly labor intensive and there is not much time that you can be away from it.  It’s not simply a 1-1/2 hr to 2 hr rise.  There is lots of stretching and folding and shaping involved in this one.  You need to prepare your oven for hearth baking using water in a pan and spraying the inside as well.  With that said I ended up a little disappointed with the crumb.  I know that several others had the same problem and the crumb was tighter than expected.  I just would have loved for this one to have been perfect!!!  The outside was nice and crusty.  The color was beautiful and the smell and the flavor was the best!  But my loaves weren’t perfect…

Would I make this one again?  Maybe, but not using this recipe.  There are so many other recipes and techniques that I would like to try my hand at one that was slightly more successful.  I did love the flavor of this and the kids loved it with an Italian herb and oil dipping sauce and as toast for breakfast!!!  flickr ciabatta and oilThe girl’s loved this with olive oil and herbs for dipping! 

Check out the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Blogroll to see some other really nice loaves of Ciabatta!

Want to Bake Along With Us?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun! First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Then just start baking! Even if you are starting late, just begin with the first recipe and start working your way through. There are several ways to communicate with the group as you begin your journey:

Flickr: We have set up a BBA Challenge Flickr Group where you can upload photos, see photos from other members, and even post questions and comments in the group forum. It’s a private group, so you will need to click on the link that says ‘join this group’ if you want to be able to post photos. As long as you are willing to bake bread all of the bread from the book, you are welcome to join the Flickr group!

Twitter: If you use twitter, you can follow what the group is doing by searching for #BBA or #bba using Twitter’s search box. You can join in on the conversation by adding the #bba or #BBA tag to the end of your tweets when you are talking about anything related to the BBA Challenge. For me, following what people are doing on twitter has been the most fun!

Facebook: If you’re on Facebook, you can join the BBA Challenge Group there and share photos, ask questions, and talk about your bread baking experiences with other BBA members on Facebook.

Next up…Cinnamon Rolls or Sticky Buns!!!!

I am submitting this to BYOB (Bake Your Own Bread) hosted by Sandy of At the Baker's Bench. This is a great challenge to get you baking more of your own baked goods. Better for you and cheaper in the process!

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!



Michelle said...

Your ciabatta looks great!

Susie said...

Great looking ciabatta.
What recipe would be something better? Just wondering as I may try it. I loved the flavor of this one for sure. Great baking along with you.

Deeba PAB said...

That's a great looking bread Judy. Sorry it didnt make the'crumb' after all the hard work. My AB in 5 baugettes came out great. No work=happy moi!! LOL. Waiting impatiently for the cinnamon rolls!!

Thistlemoon said...

I really commend you for trying your had at all these breads, Judy! I love that it is making you really creative and really getting a feel for baking all kinds!

Nico said...

nice try!! next time try a higher hydration to get bigger eyes. nico

Patsyk said...

In spite of the challenges you had, the bread really does look great! I am impressed with all of you doing this challenge as I am not quite ready for the traditional bread baking... yet!

Frieda Loves Bread said...

Your bread looks just like mine! I am sure that it still tasted great! I'm trying the biga version and using active dry yeast to get those big airy holes...Wish me luck...and looking forward to more of your posts!

Reginald @ Ceramic Canvas said...

wow judy,

this looks amazing.

i feel inspired to muster up the nerve to bake my own ciabatta.

i'm gonna cross my fingers and just throw caution to the wind.


Susan @ SGCC said...

A very lovely loaf of bread, Judy. It really looks perfect! I wish I had the time to join BBA. It sounds like a great group!

Peter M said...

Bravo Judy...Ciabatta's one of my fave breads...sandwiches, muffeletas or good ole dunkin'!

Mike said...

Hi! I'm an amateur baker out of California who bought this book a few years ago specifically because I wanted to learn more about the process of bread baking over just getting a bunch of recipes. I had no idea a group like this existed!

Ciabatta was one of the first breads I tackled, because I'd been spoiled by the fresh baked loaves from a Mediterranean restaurant I used to work at. I too used the poolish, and was unhappy with the crumb the first time. But I've made this close to a dozen times, without making any conscious changes (other than just experience and efficiency), and the crumb got much better the third and forth time I tried it. I don't know if I just needed to develop my timing or what, but with practice the recipe produced a pretty reliable nice crumb eventually.