Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ciabatta: Day Two

So, I think in this post, I can't rhyme.  I mean, in the last one, there were three pictures.  This picture will involve a lot more.  So, since I'm not rhyming, I can actually write stuff.  Haha.  So, Peter has a bunch of recipes for ciabatta -- stuff that involves mushrooms, cheese, and biga.  I decided to do the poolish recipe b/c poolish is an easier starter than biga, which involves kneading.  And I didn't have time for that yesterday.  Okay, that's a lie.  I did have time for that yesterday, but I thought I was going to start baking this on Thursday, and I wouldn't have time on Thursday, but then I ended up sleeping from eight to four on  Thursday, so that didn't happen.  Oh, grad school <3

So, the moral of the story is I'm making ciabatta with a poolish starter.  Foolish.

After a one night stand with the fridge, the poolish is so suave, thinking it's so great.  I'm sure you know. This sits for an hour to get dechilled.  Haha.  It cannot be so cool when I work with it.  Lose your swagga, poolish.

So, poolish + flour + salt + yeast + water =

This was annoying.  I hate having to guesstimate water amounts to add.  I never know what to do.  So, I probably added way too much water b/c I hate having to wait until the flour soaks up all the water.

So, I mixed everything together, then continued to mix for five minutes, probably for the gluten.  Everything in bread making is for the gluten.  Like it's special or something.  GET A LIFE, GLUTEN.

So, this gets transfered to a "bed" of flour.  I didn't know exactly what that meant.  I mean I <3 bed.  So, I made sure the dough would be comfortable in its nap.

The picture does not do that bed justice.  I actually think flour would be a really comfortable bed.  I mean, when I was younger, for some reason me and my sisters came up with substances we'd like to jump into a pool of.  I would still love to swim in flour and rice.  That's TMI, probs.

N E wayz, the dough gets transferred to this bed, hangs out for two minutes (FOR THE GLUTEN PROBS).

The then dough gets stretched.  First, it relaxes, then it gets tortured.  In its own bed.  This poor dough is probably like bipolar or something at this point.  You stretch the dough twice its normal rectangle, then fold it on top of itself, like a letter.

Here it is, all finished being folded!

So, this sits for half an hour, then gets tortured again.  I am coming to the realization that all bread baking is torture, for both the dough -- which goes through a series of rests followed by hard work -- and the baker, who must stay at home all day because baking takes eight hours and with little bits of work in those eight hours.

So, after this half hour, the dough gets stretched again.  This time I documented the process for you!  I know you're excited.  Or, you know, excited that the blog is shortened by just being pictures instead of text.  Either way:

Wasn't that enlightening?  Don't even, I know I'm the new Descartes.  The Locke of Loaves, The Paine of Pain, The Kant of Kneading.

N E Wayz, so I'm taking a cue from Benzie's comment on my last post (!) and attempting to make the dough rise faster -- I don't have that much time today, so I am attempting to circumvent the torturous tools of bread baking.  So, per her comment, I was going to put a glass of boiling water in the (not turned on) oven, along with the dough.  But, then I opened the oven, and realized it's already warm.  Our stove is weird.  It's always warm.  B/c of the pilot light?  I have no idea.  Anyway, so when you're looking at this picture, don't worry, the blog isn't almost over!  We still have more fun ahead of us!!  Or, you can stop reading now, and I have more fun ahead of me.  : (

I just put it on a plate.  So, this will sit in there for hopefully only an hour.

So, after an hour, I checked on it.  It's huge.

As big as the plate!  Yay for oven heat!  So, now it goes in a couche, which is basically just a cloth that the dough proofs in so that it doesn't become a blob.  Instead of buying a $21 one from King Arthur Flour, I just used a pillowcase I never use that came with a duvet cover I bought.  I'm so creative!  It's not canvas (Peter says it should be linen), but it's two layers of fabric, and then I folded it in half, so hopefully it'll do the trick.

All of the cooking things I use are red.  I need to switch things up.  I tried to by using that blue bowl yesterday.  Writing about that would have involved some serious rhymes though.  I'm using a blue bowl today, don't worry the red bowls are not away.  I just wanted to switch things up, so when you're reading my blog you think "whup-whup."  Whoop, whoop?

So, this sits for forty five to sixty minutes, during which I will read about state formations and listen to how great good and/or hood love is.  Same thing really.  Esp if it involves TI.  Or maybe about young radiolarians.  Blah blah blah.  (Andrew Bird, not Ke$ha.)

So, after about 45 minutes, we get this:

So, ciabatta is my first bread that requires hearth-style baking!  Which Peter is like hardcore about.  So, you put a "steam pan" in the oven with a cup of hot water in it, along with the bread itself.  Then, you close the oven for thirty seconds, then you open it up, spray water on the sides of the oven, close again for thirty seconds, spray again -- you repeat that three times, then lower the heat and bake it.  Apparently, it gives the bread a nice crust.  So, when I was buying travel-sized toiletries at Target the other day, I bought a little spray bottle!  I've done hearth baking without one before, but it was annoying.  It involved flicking water on the sides of the oven with my fingers.  It was hectic and got water everywhere.

So, here's my little bottle!  He needs a name.  He also has two personalities, sad and proud:

So, based on his appearance and personalities, if you can come up with a name, let me know.

So, I put the steam pan in the oven:

It may not look like it, but I promise there's water in there.

And then sprayed the oven!

I'm like a superhero!  Creating hearth ovens all over the world!  Watch out, non-steamed bread, I'm coming to get youuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, the bread bakes for ten minutes, gets turned around, then cooks for five to ten more.  Excited!  Mainly for something that looks like this:

Such a reward is only fitting to end my duties as a superhero.

Exactly like that, basically.

After fifteen minutes, it's done!

It's a little burnt, me thinks.  But, I'll see in forty-five minutes!

I was trying to get a good picture of the holes, but my camera wasn't working with me.  This bread is tasty.  The bottom is a little crusty aka burnt, but overall, still delicious!  I know the holes are supposed to look like this, but whatever.  My baby is still tasty!

Superhero onward!!  <3


  1. No, we never did that. You did used to say that after you died, you wanted to be laid in a bunch of flour for three days because you thought it would be cool. I think you hadn't learned about decomposing yet.

  2. Thanks for making your links pink, btw. Much easier to distinguish.

  3. Yes, the pilot light. I have electric so I don't have a pilot light-- I forgot. But yay that it worked! Sorry, I'm commenting as I'm reading because I don't want to forget what I want to say.

  4. You should name the bottle Jean after Jean Valjean, b/c he was sad, and then proud. And, you blogged about him in your previous posts.