Ciabatta Loaves and Bread Bowls

26 Feb

Last weekend I made two medium-sized Ciabatta loafs. (I tweeted about it actually.) And the timing was perfect too since my mom and I were going to visit her friends (a young couple with a baby) in San Jose.

As always when I have anything dealing with bread, I turned to my good ol’ reliable Peter Reinhart cookbook, artisan breads every day. Thumbing around the glossy pages I found the page where the Ciabatta recipe was, which actually wasn’t that hard since I had gotten flour into the crease of the book (something I hate doing). The other place where the cookbook naturally opens up is for Reinhart’s Cinnamon Buns. (Ah, those fall Saturdays with fresh cinnamon rolls are the best!)

Using my new handy dandy cookbook holder (thanks, mom!), I propped up the book and prepared the dough for its overnight fermentation on Friday.  Then on Saturday, I split the dough into two balls and let it rise for another hour.

I must admit that I was super excited when making the dough because I actually had King Author’s Bread Flour – the best stuff around. Not only that, but I used a scale to weigh all my ingredients so the ratios would be as close to perfect as possible. I did notice a difference in the dough too; it was stickier and softer than I remember, but Reinhart wrote that it would be like this so I was just careful when handling the dough.

Sticky Dough

Since I didn't have a picture of the sticky dough, I thought I'd draw a cartoon version of myself with the dough. :)

Oh, but the extra carefulness and preparation that went into these loaves were worth it. I’m not too sure how the texture of Ciabbatta bread should be, but check out the pictures and let me know what you think. I did notice one major difference between my loaves and Reinhart’s pictures: my loaves were slightly yellow due to the olive oil I used.

The Dinner Table

The table set with bamboo mats, chicken Parmesan, pear salad, and my ciabatta bread.

Ciabatta Bread Cut

The ciabatta bread all cut up and sitting pretty on a bread stone warmer.

Ciabatta bread slice

The end slice of the ciabatta bread. Is this the right texture?

I have to say that this being the second time I made this bread, I think I improved a lot. In the end the seemingly unimportant things (like a steam pan in the oven, weighing ingredients, and a bread warmer) makes all the difference in making a good loaf of bread.

Now, what kind of foodie would I be without mentioning yesterday?

“What’s yesterday?” you may be asking.

Well, it was National Clam Chowder Bread Bowl Day (according to Boudin). I have no idea if this “holiday” was created by Boudin, but when the email in my inbox said that on February 25th Boudin would be selling a buy-one-get-one-free deal for their famously delicious clam chowder bowls, I knew exactly what I’d be having for dinner.

When I arrived to my local Boudin 10 blocks away from my house, I had to wait in line behind a couple of people who all had the coupon printed out too. I felt bad for the cashier/counter employee since she was the only one there to get all our orders. You’d think Boudin would have anticipated that with such a deal, there’d be more customers and hence a need for more employees. Oh well.

Anyway, I didn’t mind the wait. I chatted with the other ladies in line. And then, it was my turn and I ordered the bread bowls, gave a polite “thank you!”, and was on my home.

Let’s just say Friday’s dinner was absolutely delicious especially on a cold winter day in February. :)

National Clam Chowder Bread Bowl Day - Boudin style

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