Bread, it’s really my first food love besides chocolate. I really don’t know how I’d live without bread. There are so many varieties that I like.
Ciabatta is great. I love it for paninis. Don’t get me started on paninis. I can’t get enough of them either!
You know what I’ll be eating for lunch all week, right? Hint, it starts with a P and uses this bread.
I decided to make this knowing how much I enjoy asiago bagels and ciabatta. So what a great way to put them together.
This bread smells as if you’ve walked into a bread bakery. The smell just lingered in my kitchen for hours. Oh, and I was totally OK with that.
I hope that if you’re not a bread baker, you’ll be encouraged to start somewhere. There’s really nothing like making bread from scratch. You’ll be so proud of yourself. I just started about a year and half ago. It’s so fun.
*Bread baking pointers from a fairly novice bread baker.*
– I weigh my ingredients with a kitchen scale. Weighing the ingredients helps me to be more accurate. There are different methods for measuring flour and each ends up with slightly different amounts. This helps eliminate that.
– Don’t let the kitchen scale deter you. I began making bread without a scale. So you can start without one! But it is a great investment if you have a few extra ‘kitchen bucks’.
– This recipe starts with a sponge or starter. Don’t let that scare you off either. It’s super simple but you must PLAN AHEAD. This starter needs to be mixed up 12-20 hours in advance.
– I like to bake breads like this on my cast iron stone. I preheat this in the oven for at least 20 minutes prior to baking. This gives a nice crisp crust on the outside with nice airy texture inside.
– Mix dough until it is slightly sticky. It should slap the sides of the bowl yet stick to the bottom.
- 1 1/2 cups 6 3/8 oz unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup 1 oz whole wheat flour
- 1 cup 8 oz water
- 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
- all of the starter
- 2 1/2 cups 10 5/8 oz all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup 4 oz water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 4 oz Asiago cheese diced in 1/4" pieces, plus extra for grating over the top of the bread
- Mix all of the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, water and instant yeast with a wooden spoon in a medium-sized bowl until well-blended. Cover the bowl, and leave it at cool room temperature (68°F-70°F) for 12 to 20 hours, until the biga is very bubbly.
- Mix the biga and the remaining dough ingredients, except the cheese, using a mixer. Set on slow speed, for 2 to 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary. Mix in the cheese; don't worry if some pieces pop out. Allow the dough to rise, in a greased, covered bowl, for 1 to 2 hours, until it's very puffy. Note: You can also mix this dough in a bread machine set on the dough cycle; add the diced cheese several minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle.
- Put the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into two long loaves, about 12 x 4 inches each.
- Form into loaves by folding sides down as pictured. Pinch the back together to seal. Flip over and place the loaves, floured side up, onto parchment paper (if you plan to bake on an oven stone) or baking sheets. Cover the loaves with a greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes, or until puffy. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese.
- Bake bread in a preheated 450°F oven for 22 to 26 minutes, until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
- Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
Dave @ Fit Chef Chicago says
Homemade bread is the best. It’s amazing how following a few steps and methods, you can end up with not only bread that is 100x better than what you get in the store, but the bonus of a wonderful smelling house! 🙂 Great post and photos!