A Ciabatta Challenge

I enjoy a challenge almost as much as I enjoy bread.  To this end I decided to try myself with a bread based challenge.  Ciabatta is Italy’s answer to the French baguette and both are among my favourite breads.  I have spend a lot of time trying for the worlds best baguette, and although I may never achieve the perfection I seek, I am satisfied that it is at least very good.  Ciabatta, however, I have never tried.  In fact I don’t even have a recipe on hand.  I don’t know if I’ve even properly seen a recipe, so it could be said I have no clue as to how to make it.  Bread is complex enough that simply trying a new recipe for the first tome could be considered a challenge, but I feel like taking it a step further.  I’m going to try to recreate ciabatta from scratch, without consulting any recipes, based on my own bread knowledge alone. Continue reading

The Zen of Baking Or The Art of Bread

Many cooks don’t like baking.  I am inclined to go so far as to say most don’t.  When questioned most of the cooks and chefs who can’t stand to bake quote a lack of patience.  Baking does indeed require patience.  Personally I find it to be a form of meditation.  Nothing more so than bread.  All bread takes time and the best bread tends to take the most time.  My personal favourite is a French recipe that takes several days.  Appropriately we begin with the starter. Continue reading

Making Bread and Rolling in the Dough

Despite doing most of my work in pastry, I’m a bread guy at heart.  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I could eat an entire loaf of good quality bread in one sitting.  Plain.  Without butter, even.  Really good bread is a rare thing, though.  It’s far easier to find in your own kitchen than it will ever be to find in a store.  There are of course good breads in good bakeries but that’s not what we’ve all gathered here for, is it.

I get a twisted sense of amusement when people act shocked at the thought of making bread at home.  People seem to think that this is a somehow insurmountable task, when really it doesn’t have to be difficult.  The rewards are well worth it. Continue reading