"It IS all about the TASTE"
RSS icon Home icon
  • Ciabatta

    Given my starter will not be ready for at least 5 more days, and given that I am already in a full blown nicotine fit, time to bake some bread.

    Looking for a straightforward, simple recipe, that will yield a decent loaf and provide a nice crispy crackly crust with a good crumb. Sounds like a job for Ciabatta.

    From Wikipedia:

    Ciabatta was first produced in 1052 by Francesco Favaron, a baker from Verona, in collaboration with Molini Adriesi who provided the flour to produce the bread. Favaron named the bread ciabatta as he said that the shape of the bread reminded him of the slipper (ciabatta) of his wife Andreina.

    Cavallari, owner of Molini Adriesi, called the bread ciabatta Polesano after Polesine, the area he lived in, and registered it as a trademark. The recipe was subsequently licensed by Cavallari’s company, Molini Adriesi, to bakers in 11 countries by 1999.

    Many regions have their own variations on the original recipe or a bread that closely resembles ciabatta and has become accepted as a variety of ciabatta; the ciabatta from the area encompassing Lake Como has a crisp crust, a somewhat soft, porous texture, and is light to the touch.

    The ciabatta found in Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche varies from bread that has a firm crust and dense crumb, to bread that has a crisper crust and more open texture, and in Rome, it is often seasoned with marjoram.

    New variations of the recipe continue to be developed. Wholemeal ciabatta is known as ciabatta integrale, and when milk is added to the dough, it becomes ciabatta al latte.

    The sons of Francesco Favaron of Pan Technology confirm that their father personally invented this bread. Pan Technology is a private school devoted to bread, pizza, and pastry, located in the Veneto region of Italy. Favaron stated that he developed the idea of ciabatta in the 1960s by experimenting for years when working in the city of Milan. The manual produced by Pan Technology includes 1028 formulae for Italian regional breads, one of which, it is claimed, is the original ciabatta formula. Cavallari and other bakers in Italy were concerned by the popularity of sandwiches made from baguettes imported from France, which were endangering their businesses and so set about trying to create an Italian alternative with which to make sandwiches. The recipe for ciabatta came about after several weeks trying variations of traditional bread recipes and consists of a soft, wet dough made with high gluten flour.

    Umm, a wet dough, with high gluten flour, this is gonna be wall paper paste. Better to not try and shape..

    I remember a Master Class show, with Paul Hollywood, and Mary Berry, from the Great British Baking show… Maybe a few hints lifted from there .. and a few ideas lifted from else where on the net.

  • Sourdough Starter

    Some will ask “What the hell does an ashtray have to do with Sourdough bread and stater.

    Very simple, last time I quit smoking, I started baking bread, and cooking. Just to have something to keep my mind occupied during nicotine fits, and to have something to beat during nicotine fits.. (Thereby saving on medical and legal bills)

    So one can surmise that I will again attempt to cease my inhalation of carcinogens, and resume my manic production of multiple forms of carbohydrates.

    In an attempt to keep this slightly on the healthy side, I’ll go after one of the most difficult of all breads, the dreaded French Baguette, but as always with that rougechef twist..

    What is sourdough?

    From wikipeida:

    Sourdough remained the usual form of leavening down into the European Middle Ages until being replaced by barm from the beer brewing process, and then later purpose-cultured yeast.

    Bread made from 100 percent rye flour, popular in the northern half of Europe, is usually leavened with sourdough. Baker’s yeast is not useful as a leavening agent for rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten. The structure of rye bread is based primarily on the starch in the flour, as well as other carbohydrates known as pentosans; however, rye amylase is active at substantially higher temperatures than wheat amylase, causing the structure of the bread to disintegrate as the starches are broken down during cooking. The lowered pH of a sourdough starter, therefore, inactivates the amylases when heat cannot, allowing the carbohydrates in the bread to gel and set properly. In the southern part of Europe, where panettone was originally made with sourdough, sourdough has become less common in recent times; it has been replaced by the faster-growing baker’s yeast, sometimes supplemented with longer fermentation rests to allow for some bacterial activity to build flavor.

    In English-speaking countries, where wheat-based breads predominate, sourdough is no longer the standard method for bread leavening. It was gradually replaced, first by the use of barm from beer making, then, after the confirmation of germ theory by Louis Pasteur, by cultured yeasts. Although sourdough bread was superseded in commercial bakeries in the 20th century, it has undergone a revival among artisan bakers.

    Manufacturers of non-sourdough breads make up for the lack of yeast and bacterial culture by introducing into their dough an artificially-made mix known as bread improver or flour improver.

    And just for the food porn addicts out there :