This was the other recipe I attempted this weekend that I have labeled a semi-fail. It was not a complete failure, since it tasted good and we ended up eating it, but it did not turn out how I expected. I know ciabatta is not the tallest bread in the world, but this came out very thin, like a flatbread. I am not sure if I messed up somehow, or if that is how this recipe is supposed to work. Let’s look at the evidence.
The recipe is called “The Very Lightest Ciabatta,” from the King Arthur Flour website.
I made a sponge. It got all nice and bubbly, like a good sponge should.
Mixed up some yeast, flour, salt, and sugar:
Added some dry milk:
Why, hello, macro lens.
And my bubbly sponge:
Kneaded it up for a full eight minutes with my trusty Kitchen Aid, after which it looked like this:
Then I let it rise for one and a half hours.
Now this next part may have been a problem. You have to pour out the very liquidy dough, divide it into two pieces, and put it on a cookie sheet. So far so good. I used an oiled quarter sheet pan as my “work surface,” dumping the dough into it to divide:
I divided it with my bench knife, which I initially forgot to oil. Please don’t make this same mistake.
Then I scooped up each piece with hand and the bench knife, and laid it out on the cookie sheet. This was not the easiest thing in the world to do. Then you are supposed to let them rise covered in oiled plastic. Well, I did this, but I did not like how the plastic kept sticking to the dough, even though I had oiled both plastic AND dough. I wonder if this kept it from rising enough.
They did get puffier, but they expanded more outward than up. Is this normal ciabatta behavior?
I poked it and let it rise again, covered (despite my misgivings). I had to separate the loaves again with the bench scraper when they were ready to bake:
When I took it out of the oven, it looked like this:
It tasted good, but it looked like the flatbread you get at Cosi.
I might need to try another recipe. I think there is a recipe for Ciabatta in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which will give me the chance, since OHMYGOD I have signed up to bake the whole book as part of a Twitter foodblogger challenge and what in the world was I thinking? Especially since my last two breads have turned out so badly? I hereby reserve the role of dark horse.