Saturday, 26 March 2011

angry sourdough ciabatta sort off... oh...

i'm having the worst bread baking day i've ever had...

... i've been searching for that perfect sourdough loaf, you know, the one's you see that are full of air-holes and have that incredibly crispy crust and i've not quite made it yet...

... I was all ready to follow the best recipe ever by Luc Martin, for which i've been so excited about all week, but I lost patience and used the wrong kind of flour and it's been a wasted 24 hours and i'm pissed off... and I have two bread bricks I could kill a Luchador with... i will try again next weekend with the correct flour!

... so in an attempt to make matters worse I thought i'd try this easy ciabatta recipe... and whilst its ingredients don't call for a sourdough starter, it does say you should make a sponge the night before, which is essentially what a sourdough is...

... i'm also using this post as my entry for the Fresh From the Oven Challenge, which came from Helen at Fuss Free Flavours, who has asked us all this month to bake anything as long as we use flour from a local miller or supplier, so i've used some fabulous flour from our local windmill, the Alford Five-Sailed Windmill, which is beautiful stuff as well as a beautiful place and well worth a visit!

sourdough ciabatta
350g very strong white bread flour (I used a light brown organic flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
200ml hand-hot water

For the sponge (if you're not using a sourdough starter)
115g very strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fast action dried yeast
150ml hand-hot water

- make the sponge the night before by combining all the sponge ingredients in a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel

- the following day mix together the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.

- make a well in the centre and add the sponge, olive oil and a little of the water, beat to a smooth paste, gradually adding the remainder of the water.  You should end up with a thick batter.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let it prove for a couple of hours or until it triples in size.

- once it's risen, very carefully ease it out onto a dusted oven tray, coax it into your desired shape, sprinkle with a very generous amount of flour and let it prove again, un-covered for 45 mins.

- bake for 15-20 mins on 220.

... now I realise that this looks NOTHING like a ciabatta and in fact, it tastes NOTHING like a ciabatta and that's the fault of the flour... don't use brown flour for a ciabatta... however it had the most wonderful cake-like crumb and tasted so sweet and delicious... so not such a terrible day after-all!

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. Well done on rising to the challenge!

    Looks good even if it was not what you were planning!

  2. I've had loads of those horrible baking days myself... they're extremely frustrating.

    But what I tell myself is that as long as it's edible it's all good...that's somewhat a consolation, haha.

  3. Haha, well I guess you could always just spread jam on it and eat it as if it were a cake! We all have these days in the kitchen, thanks for posting - makes the rest of us feel like we're not alone ;)

  4. Oh dear, we've all had those kind of bad baking days. I'm glad it came ok in the end. :-))

  5. oh, i have been here too, my friend

    keep charging on....

    kary and teddy

  6. Oh dear, I feel your pain. But the path to kitchen happiness is strewn with failures to make the successes taste all the more delicious (or something like that!)
    Thanks for the ciabatta recipe though, looks like a winner!

  7. Oh Dom. Sorry to hear the sourdough did not turn out the way you wanted it to be... :( how frustrating.
    Hopefully next week you'll get it right.

  8. Sorry Dom, but I think all we have these days and is really sadly, I think Ciabatta is absolutely nice, hope you will be OK soon, gloria

  9. What a bummer! Hopefully the next loaf will be better! Nice idea to use local products! Have a great weekend!


  10. Hi Dom!!! I'll suggest you to watch this video....I know its in Italian...but I can translate the recipe for you if you want...but maybe watching the video will help you.
    I follow this guy recipe to bake my ciabatta, and the result was very good!!! This one is with sourdough!!!
    You need Only 300 gr of flour 00...Usually I used a very strong flour(canadian flour)
    300gr of water, 250 gr of sourdough, 12 gr salt!!!!
    Let me know if you want me to translate the rest of the recipe!!!

  11. Argh those bad baking days are the pits aren't they? I am gladit worked out Ok in the end. Brown ciabatta........Hmmmmm

  12. well thanks all for boosting me up a bit... it was a dreadful day!... and yes Nicoletta, I knew I should have followed your recipe from your blog but I'm a stubborn old fool!

  13. Dom....i've been thinking about it (re my post)...i think that it must have something to do with the humidity? and the changing seasons? and...moon????? here's to a more sucessful bake next weekend!xx

  14. The brown ciabatta looks good. And that windmill is beautiful - so idyllic. Have you been there? It says it has a tearoom in it - I wanna go!

  15. @ Victoria ... Defo the moon!

    @PDNFTA ... Been there! We nearly bought it last year when it came up for sale. It's such a lovely place although sadly the town of Alfords a bit of a dive now. They do very good scones in the tea room x

  16. I am terribly sorry about your sourdough debacle. I do think "I have two bread bricks I could kill a Luchador with" is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.
    Glad you came out with something lovely in the end.

  17. Dom - I will blog about my total disaster with sour dough soon - but you would be heartened (or picking yourself off the floor laughing) if you saw the blackened frisbee that is proporting to be an example of craft baking as per Dan L's Handmade Loaf. I'm stealing myself to take a picture of it.

  18. they still look good to me. and i am definitely going to try.

  19. Yes - I'm a disaster ridden sourdough person too...I keep trying, but sourdough starters and me don't get on. Maybe the mistake was to think of this a ciabatta, you invented something new...

  20. At least it tasted good, I can live with disasters so long as they taste ok! You're one ahead of me, I have just been given some of Vanessa Kimbell's sourdough starter and I'm convinced I'm going to kill it before making any bread with it.

  21. Sorry to hear it didn't turn out as you had planned...but at least it still tasted wonderful! It might not look like a ciabatta, but it does look delicious!

  22. It's heartening to see even you have some kitchen mishaps. My husband loves anything sourdough. Should I have a go?

  23. thanks @Jenn... it was delicious and airy and crumbly... just not a ciabatta!

    @ Tess... you MUST start a starter... so easy and worth it as it lasts for ever... a little pet who lives in your fridge!

  24. You are good! I've never experimented beyond the basic white loaf. This looks really good!

  25. Eh, you are a good sport for showing us your failures as well as successes. Also, what is a Luchador? Maybe this is a pop culture reference that is lost on me. I'm so un-hip!

    I had a really hard time finding some local flour here in Hong Kong... I ended up with flatter bread than yours! (But that was on purpose.)

  26. Ciabatta with meat the perfect combination.


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