… I realise the irony of posting a bread recipe at the start of a low-carb eating plan but this is going to be my last bread post for the month of May as i’m on a very strict, month-long, low-carb #AlternativeEatingPlan. This is essentially a diet but I loath the D word. There’s just something about that word that leads directly to failure, too much pressure. So my #AlternativeEatingPlan is all about reducing the carbs and the sugar. I’m sort of going for a healthier version of the Atkin’s Diet, which I did many years ago with exceptional results, but i’m allowing myself low-sugar fruits such as berries and nuts yet and still cutting out the brown and white carbs and high-sugar fruits such as oranges and apples… plus i’m only doing it for a month… As i’m sure many of my food blogger friends will testify to, the period from Christmas through to Easter can be a litany of chocolate, cake, stews and roasts and whilst I adore all this food it can be a bit of a slippery slope and unless you take control of it you can find yourself deep in the summer with a wobbly belly and tanned arms where you’re too embarrassed to take your shirt off… so this is my attempt to regulate myself… I promise it won’t be too boring for you all. There will still be treats, i’ll just make them for other people to eat…
this didn’t quite come out exactly like a proper ciabatta with the big airy holes but it tasted fabulous and the ‘slapping’ kneading process is great fun and makes you feel quite authentic… you need a very large bowl to do this and plenty of arm-strength so don’t give up!
500g strong white bread flour
450ml luke warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
preheat the oven to 200C
in a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and yeast
pour in the water then add the salt and combine – I use a silicone spatula for this – and once combined get stuck in with your hands
you want to beat the dough for 5 minutes – pulling and stretching the dough up high and then slapping it back down into the bowl – the dough will not be like any other dough you’re used to, it’s more like a thick pancake batter and is a bitch to get off your hands but you only have to slap it around for five minutes… and it’s this stretching and slapping process that adds the air bubbles…
pour about a tablespoon of olive oil over the dough, cover with cling film and let it rise for about an hour or until doubled in size
once it’s risen, pour the dough out onto a well floured work surface and without kneading, fold it over ‘envelope’ style into a classic ciabatta slipper shape
swiftly transfer to an oven tray, dust with flour and bake for 30 minutes or until risen and golden
let it cool on a wire rack if you can but I challenge you not to eat it warm!