I have discovered in the last few months that I really love to bake. If I could work in a bakery (without gaining 300 pounds…) I would do it in a heartbeat. Cookies, cake, muffins, and BREAD. I have baked in the bread machine for years, but making real bread, nope, didn’t do it much. Had made my Mom’s oregano cottage bread, but that’s it. (It turns out green.) But now I have decided that bread is NOT that hard. Really!! So last week I was in a bread baking mood. I had wanted to try two things: ciabatta bread and English muffins. The only ciabatta bread I have ever had came from Whole Foods. And while it is quite tasty, surely I could make it at home. So I did. Several months ago I had added a new cook book to my collection (So what else is new??) 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood. This recipe makes four small loaves, but I wish I had made only two larger loaves.

    Ciabatta Bread

      Scant 4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
      generous 1/5 cups water
      1 oz yeast (this is 4 small packs)
      1 Tbl salt
      2 Tbl olive oil

Put 2 cups of the flour into a bowl with a generous 3/4 cup water and the yeast. Using a hand whisk, whisk for 5 minutes, then let ferment for 4 hours. (Now this whisk thing didn’t work for me. The dough was way too thick, so I hand mixed it.)
Add the remaining flour and water, the salt, and olive oil. Whisk briskly for 5 minutes, then let rest in the bowl for 2 hours. (This is 6 HOURS so far.)
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide into two pieces. Stretch each piece of dough into an 8 inch loaf, then let rest for one hour.
LIne a baking sheet. Divide each piece of dough into two. Stretch each of the 4 loaves back into 8 inches. Transfer to the baking sheet and let rest for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 F/200C. Dust loaves with flour and bake 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown, then transfer to a wire rack to cool
Okay, what did I like about this bread. Well, despite the 8 HOURS of work for 4 very small loaves, it was a fairly simple recipe.
What didn’t like. The Loaves were really too small to do anything with. I wish I had left it as two loaves. They would have been a nice size. The other thing. The strong fermented sour dough taste. I like sour dough bread. But this was too sour for ciabatta. Oh, and the 8 HOURS didn’t help.
I won’t give up, but not this recipe. Ah, well!! Experimentation is fun!

The next day I made English Muffins from Pete Bakes I won’t put the recipe here. Just follow the link. These were good. Thanks, Pete.

It still amazes me how yeast works. Isn’t it beautiful.
How good are they. I just ate the last one.With just a touch of peanut butter and mayhaw jelly. UUUMMMM!!!!!!

The only thing I didn’t like about these – I didn’t get the little pockets so indicative of these muffins. But I won’t turn one down if someone offers them to me.