Three of the kids left together in my Suburban on Sunday, and were thankful for 4 wheel drive when they hit the slushy snow, and didn't join other vehicles in ditches. One had no problems on his route, and another had to sit in the Denver airport when she found the interstate closed for 3 hours or so after she got there. Some will be back in 8 days, some in 10. In the meantime, Christmas shopping must start. Cyber stores, here I come!
A while back, in his blog, Kevin mentioned using Ciabatta as the bread in some wonderful sandwich concoction of his. (His concoctions usually make me drool, so I remembered this). After doing some research, and playing around a bit, I found the formula to make a nice Ciabatta. The loaf pictured here didn't crack across the top, as they usually do; however, this type of bread has a nice firm texture and large crumbs. Best of all, it's neither too sweet nor too salty. As testimony to that, three loaves disappeared in about 20 minutes the night I made it.
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 tsp yeast (6 tsp for a superfast rise)
4 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the ingredients in the bread machine for 10 minutes, and let rest for 20, or sprinkle the yeast on the water, stir in the sugar, and then the olive oil and salt, and gradually stir in the flour. Let it rest for 20 minutes also. Take the dough from the mixing bowl or bread machine and place it on the floured counter. Knead in more flour, if necessary, then split the dough into 2 large loaves or 3 small ones. Let rise until doubled in size, then mist with water and place in the oven at 375F. Splash 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the oven, close the door really quickly, and let bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until the desired degree of brownness is reached. The water in the bottom of the oven increases the crunchiness of the crust, which pleased my "No Wet Bread!" daughter immensely. Great sliced, and served with butter, but it also makes a dandy grinder (hoagie, sub, whatever). Just ask the sons who are here for the month of December, and eating grinders on aforementioned bread even as I type!