As a lover of Italian food, ciabatta is a bread I always enjoy, the chewy texture and the crusty outside are always a great start to a meal at our local restaurant. Strange then that I’ve never tried making it before, if you listen to the instructions on the Great British Bake Off this week it can be done in 3 hours, although if you follow the recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book Bread he adds an extra 6 hours of proving to the start to ferment the dough and increase the flavour. I followed Mr Hollywood’s recipe initially but found that the dough – which he says should resemble a batter was much too dry with the amounts listed so I added another 50ml to this. The recipe instructs you to mix up half the dough and leave to prove for 6 hours before mixing in the rest of the ingredients and beginning a more traditional prove. In all honesty I probably wouldn’t do the first stage again, I’m sure it added an extra dimension to the flavour and the bread did come out smelling exactly like ciabatta should but I really don’t have time in day to day life to prove for 6 hrs, then 2 hrs, then another hour.
We had our ciabatta for supper on Tuesday with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I tasted lovely and had the irregular bubbles that Mr Hollywood said should be present so all in all a successful experiment.