Thursday, September 14, 2006
Come on! It's time! Break out those Mixers! And one...
And two..and one...and two. It's time for a mixer workout! No, no, I don't mean doing aerobics with a mixed drink in your hand. I mean it's time to make some ciabatta! Ciabatta is also known as "slipper bread" due to the shape it takes on after being baked. Somewhat like a nice puffy bread slipper to place on your feet, instead of placing it on your feet, I really recommend eating it dipped in some olive oil.
Like many good breads, this starts out with a preferment (another biga, in this case). Now this is a different biga than the one I used for the potato rosemary bread. This is a slack biga, a wet biga, a stretchy and fun to play with biga. Now, I'm sure you could mix this by hand, and if you were Popeye it wouldn't take too long or make you feel like your arm was about to fall out of it's socket, I really recommend a mixer.
This will be part one of a two recipe installment:
Small Mixer Ciabatta: The Biga:
1 7/8 cups water
1 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups high gluten flour (bread flour will work if you cannot find high gluten, but if you use bread flour, I really recommend adding about 2 to 3 Tbsp of wheat gluten to it)
-In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, dissolve the yeast in the water.
-Add the flour.
-Beat on low until flour and water are incorporated. Switch mixer to high speed, and let it mix until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (you will be able to see the bottom of the bowl at this time, and the dough will form a wet lump in the center of the bowl). The dough should be shiny and glutenous and wonderfully stretchy.
-Oil your hands (this is very sticky stuff) and lightly oil a bowl (olive oil would be preferred) And carefully transfer the dough to the oiled bowl forming it into a ball (as best as you can). Make sure the dough has a light coat of olive oil on top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill over night or up to two nights (the flavor development will be a bit nicer if you let this chill for two nights).
Now let your mixers cool down and relax. Get them ready and willing for another workout tomorrow! Till then, thanks for tuning in!