March 7, 2010

Ciabatta (B&P41)

Like many people who love to cook, I've got a thing for cookbooks, especially old ones. I go through old bookstores, thrift shops and even the collections of my family and friends looking for old treasures.

A while back I checked out the cookery section at Project Gutenberg, but didn't find anything all that interesting. Time makes all the difference in the world, especially when transferring old books into a digital format. Yesterday, I was back at Project "G" oogling their selection and they do have some nice ones available in the cookery section of the bookshelf.  They have a variety of ways to download the books and some versions even have the images as well. I tested the Adobe EPUB and the Read Online formats and both worked very well.

There are some old gems in this collection like The Women's Institute of Cookery (vols. I - V), The White House Cookbook and The Cook's Decameron: A Study In Taste, Containing Over Two Hundred Recipes For Italian Dishes. There are quite a few interesting recipes to be found in this collection, especially one for Starvation Soup.  It's found in The Belgian Cookbook (1915), a  book of recipes provided by Belgian refugees of World War I.

With many old cookbooks, you will have to guess at the quantities required for a recipe. They might tell you to use an equal amount of almonds and sugar or use phrases like "...reckon the quantities as follows." These types of recipes give you the chance to really get a feel for the look, texture and taste of a baked good. Although, it can be frustrating sometimes when you have to try and figure out equal weights of eggs, butter, flour and sugar.

If you're looking for something really yummy to go with this very good loaf of ciabatta, check out a recipe for Roman Sauce from The Cook's Decameron. It calls for nutmeg, raisins, lemon, herbs, pine nuts or almonds, burnt sugar in an espagnole or brown sauce. For our dinner, I ended up choosing the classic tomato sauce with basil and garlic served it over brown rice pasta and meatballs. To finish it off, I served Chocolate and Drambuie Tiramisu, the latest Daring Baker Challenge recipe, along with a cup of organic Espresso. Delicious.



Protein Content
Original: 29.12 g
Gluten Free: 28.63 g


20 g brown rice flour (1.8 g)
15 g sweet rice flour (0.09 g)
15 g arrowroot starch (0.045 g)
20 g almond meal (4 g)
22 g white bean flour (4.73 g)
1 g instant dry yeast
50 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)

10 ml agave syrup

Final Dough

25 g brown rice flour (2.25 g)
22 g sweet rice flour (1.32 g)
20 g arrowroot starch (0.06 g)
30 g almond meal (6 g)
35 g white bean flour (7.525 g)
12 g instant dry yeast
6 g chia seed meal
4 g agar agar powder
7 g sea salt
126 g biga (from above)
130 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)
15 ml agave syrup

Biga Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, water, agave syrup and yeast. Mix together, making sure the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture or transfer to a container and allow to ferment at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C for 18 to 24 hours. When the biga is ready to use, it will have risen and receded, yet also look bubbly.

Final Dough Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the exception of the salt and yeast. Hold the salt out, so it can be added later in the mixing. Place the yeast into a small container, add the water and a little bit of the agave syrup. Stir to ensure the water mixes through the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the yeast mixture, biga, the rest of the agave syrup and blend together. Just before the dough comes together, sprinkle in the salt and then continue blending until a soft ball forms. Note: This dough should be a little wetter or looser than other types of doughs.

3. Since this dough is looser, I made a foil frame so the bread would turn out the right shape. Take a long strip of aluminum foil and fold it lengthwise until it is 2 inches/5 cm wide. Fold up 1/2 inch/1.3cm from one long edge, but don't make a hard crease in the foil. Ease the foil around until the ends over lap and can rest one inside the other. Work the corners until the fold lays flat and you have a rounded edge rectangle. Let the sides ease out rather than be straight up and down. (See the picture above.) Gently line this frame with parchment paper, so you can reuse the frame for the ciabatta (the next B&P recipe).

4. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Gently pat the dough out into the frame, but don't press it into the sides or corners. The loaf should still have rounded sides. Slide the frame onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours.

5. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F/238 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.

What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their DVD's from my family for my birthday. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.

Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.

Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Baking & Pastry #40 - Rosemary Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Week 20 - More Bigas
Baking & Pastry #39 - Cracked Rice & Potato Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry #38 - Almond & White Bean Batard (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Week 19 - Bigas


Travis Ingersoll said...

Wow! That bread looks amazing!

trishtator said...

Looks delicious! I would love to make a loaf with a biga, since I've never tried that approach before.

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Rita said...

This is serious bread. If it tastes as good as it looks and I am able to make it that good; this may be calorific trouble! This is definitely going on my to-try list.

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MaryG said...

I'm just beginning to use weights instead of measures in my baking these days, but I'm confused. Does 'g' mean grams? If so, it seems like very small amounts (eg 20 grams brown rice flour is barely a tablespoon by my scale).

I would very much appreciate your clarifying response!

Thanks very much. I am quite interested in trying out your recipes, so look forward to your response.

shend said...

I keep reading your blog. Made the sweet potato cake and it was beyond good and is one of my favorite dessert recipes. I think you are such an amazing GF pioneer.

I have never made bread and so miss it in my GF diet. Do I need a stand mixer? I also do not like to use gums? is there anything I can use in this recipe to replace gar gum? If not I don't see why not the few times I make bread.

Your blog is giving me the courage to try my hand at making bread. Going to keep my fingers crossed. ; )

Lori said...

I like your resourceful thinking here. THe ciabatta looks delicious.