Archive for January 19th, 2010

Ciabatta Change

Change – is a difficult thing for me, most of the time.  I like changing stuff around on my computer, aka blog (as you’ve probably noticed…I’m just trying to get it to look just right – my perfectionism at it’s best); I like changing the furniture around in our house; I like changing up recipes.  But when it comes to big life stuff, I don’t handle it so well (friends changing or moving, changes at church, someone else changing my stuff impulsively). However, I’m not one of those kinds that fights it kicking and screaming…just more like sulking and crying 😀  I also know from experience that it is a necessary process, for growing, for becoming more mature, for gaining wisdom, for becoming the woman God that wants me to be.

Last summer, we noticed a cocoon on the outside of our garage.  It was super cool.  Everyday we’d check on it.  It went from a vibrant green color to black.  At one point, I wasn’t even for sure that it was a cocoon.  But then one day it looked like this:

I could actually see the print of the butterfly.  And by the end of the day it looked like this:

Leave it to God to teach us about patience, change, endurance, beauty through a tiny little butterfly.

So what does this have to do with food?!  Tonight is pasta night and I wanted to make Ciabatta bread to go with it.  I’ve never made this bread b/c of the length of time it takes.  It begins with a starter that has to proof for at least 8 hours, then mixes with some more ingredients and it changes.  Then proofs again for another 2 hours, and it changes again.  Then you shape it and it proofs one more time – for another hour.  However, the outcome from the patience and changing process is beauty:

The length of time is what gives the bread such a deep flavor and the awesome airy pockets in the texture.

God knew what He was doing with nature, with the science of this delicious Ciabatta bread, and He knows what He’s doing with me.

Just for my benefit, I’m gonna repeat that last part…He knows what He’s doing with me.

Ciabatta Bread
1 1/2 c flour
1 c cool water
1/16 tsp instant yeast
all of the starter
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp dry milk
1/4 c lukewarm water
2 Tbsp olive oil

For Starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Cover the starter and let it rest at room temperature at least 8 hours, overnight, or for up to 15 hours. It will become bubbly.

Place all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, into the bowl of your mixer, and beat at medium speed, using the flat beater, for 7 minutes. The dough will be very smooth, soft, shiny, and elastic. (it will even look a little runny – if it doesn’t, add 1-2 Tbsp water).   Transfer dough to a greased bowl or other rising container, cover it, and let it rise for 1 hour, deflate it and rise another hour.  Grease your large baking sheet and grease your hands. Transfer dough onto pan and split in two parts, using your hands or a tool of your choice.  Do this very gently as you don’t want to deflate it. It’ll lose a bit of volume, but don’t actively punch it down. Shape into 2 logs.  Let rise for another 45 minutes – 1 hour.  Halfway through, dimple the top with your fingers (this means, just poke it a few times – lol)  Towards the end of this rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spritz the loaves with water.  Some of the dimples should have disappeared by this time.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  This bread is perfect with pasta, made into garlic toast, used for making sub sandwiches.

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