Bread week. The week that your baking future depends on microbes and elbow grease.
The week that perfectly sane people begin repeating, "does that sound hollow?" with alarming frequency.
The week that I wish I had a food mixer with a dough hook, rather than an amusing hand mixer with spirals.
And the week that I cannot even wait for a photo before sinking my teeth into the delicious loaf. (And the week that I am so proud of my crumb structure!)
Point of note - this recipe needs to be started the night before if you're hoping to eat the ciabatta at lunch time, and early in the morning if you're hoping to eat it for supper.
400g/14oz strong white (bread) flour, plus extra for dusting
7g instant yeast
300ml/10fl oz water
30ml/1fl oz olive oil, plus extra for oiling
7g saltSemolina flour, for dusting
1. At least six hours before you intend to bake the loaf (I started mine off at 8pm): Combine half of the flour (200g) and 4g of the yeast with half the water (150ml), in a bowl. Beat it together into a thick batter.
2. Oil a clean work surface and knead the dough for five minutes.
3. Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and leave it to rise for at least six hours at room temperature.
4. (The next morning)Tip the mixture into the bowl of a food mixer. Add the remaining flour (200g), the oil and remaining (3g) and half of the remaining water (75ml).
5. Mix this all together in a food mixer with a dough hook attached.
6. Dissolve the salt in the last of the water (75ml) and gradually add this to the mixture (v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y or you will be wearing it); mixing for 6-10 minutes, or until the dough is stringy and soft.
7. Tip the dough into a well-oiled litre square plastic container and put the lid on.
8. Leave the dough to swell until the dough has risen three-quarters of the way up the side of the container. (If you accidentally leave it until it has risen to the top of the container it doesn't mind, and this may fulfil Paul Hollywood's edict to "be patient")
9. Mix equal amount of flour and semolina flour together and use this to flour the work surface (don't use all of it, mind, as you'll need some to flour the baking tray later). Tip the dough out onto the surface. Split the dough into two and stretch the two pieces into shape (do NOT knock back - the lovely irregular holes are because it is not knocked back).
10. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 (I have a fan oven, and bread is the one time that I don't adjust the temperature - the hotter the better).
11. Place the dough on a baking tray floured with a mixture of flour and semolina and allow to prove again for another 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes.
I'm entering this in Supergolden Bakes #GBBO bake along and Mummy Mishaps Great Bloggers Bake Off (Bread) (Updated to add - also submitting to Yeastspotting )