Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sourdough Ciabatta

Italian bread recipe, best bread recipe

Every week day morning, I force myself to get up, trying not to throw the alarm clock against the wall (sorely tempted though). All week I'd be counting days till the weekend, and the weekend comes and - whoosh - it's already over.
Arrgghh. There is some recompense though to Monday mornings: once my children are at school, I take it easy and catch up some of the TV programmes from the weekend.

Yesterday I was glued to the screen, watching the 2nd episode of Outlander (season 3). Jamie is still gorgeous, once rid of his beard. Can't say I was in raptures, but he's quite dishy.

Then I procrastinated even more, going through a week's load of newspapers.
I haven't completely wasted the day, as I baked a lovely ciabatta loaf with the sourdough starter, plus did all the usual chores: cooking, washing, ironing etc etc.

best Italian bread

I received a PR email/pitch yesterday, which was suggested as a possible story for my blog. The story revealed that Brits spend an hour and 40 minutes every day, striving for perfection. Apparently we spend 12 hours a week on average trying to improve our looks, career or love life.
Sorry, but this pitch only made me do an evil cackle sound.

My "beauty routine" amounts to 5 minutes in the morning and a couple of minutes in the evening.
I don't spend hours photo-shopping selfies, if anything, I forgot when it was the last time I took a selfie.
Anyway, what is a perfect life? Surely a pouting selfie does not count as such?! or does it?
Hmm, for me a reasonably quiet night, undisturbed sleep and a cup of tea in the morning sounds perfect.
I think this story pitch was sent to a wrong person. But it did make me laugh, so that's a bonus.

Returning to the above-mentioned ciabatta - it is one of my top favourite breads, especially when freshly baked and hot from the oven. Ciabatta in Italian literally means "slipper" as the shape resembles slippers.
The aroma of hot bread is always amazing.

The other day I mentioned Jane Mason's book Perfecting Sourdough. Now that I have made a fresh starter, I am hoping to test a few bookmarked recipes from the book.

I cannot reproduce the recipe for copyright reasons, but an almost identical recipe for sourdough ciabatta recipe could be found on Jane's blog Virtuous Bread - for the step by step see her post Sourdough ciabatta.

I halved ingredients in her recipe, as I only wanted to bake one loaf rather than two. I have also added a glug of olive oil to the dough, as I love the flavour it gives to bread. JAne also adds olive oil to the recipe online, but not in the book.

I began working on the sourdough starter back on Tuesday. By the weekend it was ready, and I made a batch of sourdough pancakes aka Yukon flapjacks.
The day before yesterday I measured 100g of sourdough starter and added more flour and water to it.
In the morning it was all bubbly. I kneaded the starter with more flour and left to rest for 4 hours.

Then more kneading and folding, and leaving to rest.

20 minutes in the oven, and the loaf was ready. It sounded hollow, when you tap it, as it was supposed to be. Crusty outside and soft inside, it was delicious.

I toasted a few slices today, and made bruschetta with tomatoes. It's a very good bread. A bit fiddly, and you cannot bake it on the spur of the moment, but it's worth waiting.


  1. That sourdough starter looks very impressive - and the finished bread is divine. All soft and fluffy on the inside but crusty on the outside, it's perfection on a plate ! You could have done a selfie with the ciabatta ! :)

    1. Thank you, Cheryl! An idea of a selfie with a ciabatta made me smile.