Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ciabatta


Baking bread is addictive.  It's really satisfying when it works out right.
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UPDATE:  I've had a request for the recipe, so here it is:

Sponge
1/8 tsp active dry yeast
2  tbsp warm water (105-115 deg F)
1/3  cup room-temp water
1  cup bread flour

Step 1.  Stir together warm water and yeast.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.  Transfer yeast mixture to another bowl, add room-temp water and flour.  Stir for at least 4 minutes until fully combined.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day,

Bread
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2  tbsp warm milk (105-115 deg F)
2/3  cup room-temp water
1  tbsp olive oil
2  cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Step 2.  Mix yeast and milk in small bowl and let stand 5 minutes.  Oil another bowl with olive oil.  In bowl of standing mixer, using dough hook, blend together milk mixture, sponge, oil, and flour on lowest speed until flour is moistened.

Beat for approximately 3 minutes.  Add salt and beat for approximately 3 more minutes.  Scrape dough into oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let it set until doubled, at least 1.5 hours.

Step 3.  Cut two pieces of parchment paper, approx 12 x 6 inches.  Place on baking sheet and flour well.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and cut in half.  Transfer each half to paper and form irregular ovals approx 9 inches long.  Dust with flour.  Cover with dampened kitchen towel and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until almost doubled.

Step 4.  At least 45 minutes before baking bread, preheat pizza stone on lower oven rack position at 425 F.   Just before baking, score the tops of the loaf with a sharp knife.  Optionally, lightly sprinkle with coarse kosher or sea salt.

Transfer loafs, on the parchment paper, onto the stone and bake for 20 minutes or until pale golden-brown.  Remove to cooling racks.  Let rest for 30 minutes or so to allow the crust to cure.

Note that this recipe sounds a lot more difficult than it is.  There are only four steps and each one is easy.  It is also very forgiving.  You can use all-purpose flour if you don’t have bread flour.  Or you can mix flours.  Results will vary in taste and texture, but it works.  Also, if your personal schedule dictates, after completing Step 2, you can store the dough in the refrigerator and go to work (or whatever).  It will rise more slowly in the fridge, which is fine…just try to let it rise to about twice the size you started out with, probably 6-8 hours.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Gospel-Filled Wallet



One of my internet buddies has written a book.  And had it published.

It's called "The Gospel-Filled Wallet," and the author is Jeff Weddle.  Read more about it here.

Jeff says you won't like his book, though.  He thinks it will hurt your delicate sensibilities.  I say buy it and find out....that's what I did. 

Plus, I used a coupon from this page, the one entitled "LULUMAIL305" and got free shipping.

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Monday, April 26, 2010