I’ve been on a obsessive bread baking binge this week. I’ve been on the quest to make gorgeous and delicious rustic breads—sourdough, ciabatta, and rustic italian bread. Oh my, it’s all so good. I’ve been using my favorite baking book (I gotta quit blogging about this book) as well as the stinkin’ fabulous cooking school membership that I won over at America’s Test Kitchen.
The lesson at the cooking school was invaluable in helping me make ciabatta. Everybody in my little household loved the bread. It was heaven. And better than any ciabatta I’ve ever had before. Seriously. Chewy and tasty. Just look at the texture and the chewiness? I was near giddy. I should get out more.
I usually shun recipes that make you start mixing ingredients the day before. I need instant satisfaction. I need to be able to have a thought about something yummy and be able to eat it within a few hours at the most. But I am a new convert to making the biga (or starter) the night before. Then finishing the bread the next day. The flavor is just too good to pass up. I was surprised that it only took 2-3 minutes to make the starter the night before. (The sourdough starter, however, takes 2-3 days.) Sometimes my laziness even surprises me. Heaven forbid I take a commercial break from watching Stephen Colbert to do some work.
Here’s my rustic Italian loaf. In the immortal words of Bernie Mac, “Did you see that America?”
With bread this good, I only needed a salad to make the perfect meal. (Dang this stupid blurry photo!)
Lastly, the sourdough was yum-yum as well. I used the recipe “My First Sourdough” from the heavenly blue book shown above. Although I am disappointed at how flat mine is. I used the amount of the flour called for in the recipe but obviously it wasn’t enough to hold a nice round loaf. No matter, we made awesome turkey sandwiches with the bread. I want that true “San Francisco” sour, which it didn’t have, but it was still sour. My daughter Ilene said it tasted like their was cheese in the bread. I had to agree—it tasted just a little sour/tangy like good feta or bleu cheese. The quest continues. Nice bubbles and craggy crust though, huh?
I’m hooked on making these rustic loaves. How could anyone ever give up carbs? Crazy folk.