So yesterday was just one of those days that went wrong. It started with Max catching a mouse before his vaccinations are finished, which involved a panicked phone call to the vet (he will be ok). But it also included the lovely realisation that my oven had broken since sometime the night before. The grill works, the fan works, but the normal oven heating system doesn’t work when you want the fan oven on and not the grill, which I realised after the ciabatta had sat in a cold oven for a half hour.
I figured all was lost, but then I thought I could maybe manage to finish if I used the fan grill setting…
AND I DID! Well the bread is a little extra brown on top and the overlong prove meant that it doesn’t have the characteristic huge bubbles inside, but the bread tastes awesome and it somewhat salvaged the day!
This recipe is really simple, but the first step means that the dough has to be left for at least six hours, so worth starting in the morning or the night before! Also check your oven first, in case the recipe is cursed.
The recipe comes from Paul Hollywood’s Bread baking book, which along with the tv series he did, is awesome! And seems very appropriate now that it is Bake Off season again!
This is an awesome cookbook and I highly recommend getting it if you like baking bread. He has really easy to follow steps, includes a lot of different types of bread and has beautiful eyes.
The bread came out tasting really nice despite the oven hiccup.
So let’s get on with the show!
The recipe makes two loaves and is about 306 calories per 100g.
- 400g strong white bread flour (divided in half), plus extra for dusting
- 7g fast-action or easy bake dried yeast (divided in half)
- 300ml cool water
- 2 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for oiling
- 7g salt
- Semolina for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 220 C. *In my case on the fan grill setting.
- Combine half the flour with half the yeast and half the water in a bowl. Beat ingredients with a wooden spoon to create a thick batter. Let rest at room temperture for at least six hours.
- Paul Hollywood explains that this allows the dough to create a fermented sponge that gives the yummy flavour to the bread.
- Tip the dough into a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Add the rest of the flour, yeast and salt (making sure salt and yeast don’t touch). Also add the oil and remaining water and mix for 10-15 minutes on medium until the dough is stringy and soft (should be able to stretch a piece out 30cm).
- The salt and yeast tip has been mentioned on Bake Off before and is a really good one if you are having trouble getting bread to rise properly.
- Coat a 3L plastic container (about 20cm square and 12cm deep – I had a rectangular tub instead) with olive oil.
- Tip dough into container and cover with an oiled lid. Leave the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until it gets to the top of the container.
- Dust a clean counter top and a lined baking tray liberally with an equal mix of flour and semolina.
- Very gently tip the dough out of the container trying to retain the square shape.
- Use a floured knife to cut the square into two equal loaves, keeping s much air in the dough as you can (DON’T PRESS ON IT TOO MUCH!).
- Dust the top of the loaves and gripping each end, stretch the dough into a long ciabatta shape, carefully lifting each one onto the baking tray (one of mine was a bit bigger than the other).
- Place the tray in a large plastic bag, making sure to keep enough air in so it doesn’t touch the dough and allow to prove for 15 minutes. I used a fresh bin liner…why not?
- Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
I love toasting this bread and putting a bit of butter on it! It is so ridiculously good! Last night we used it to accompany the yummy lamb and potato stew I made for dinner!!!
My baking buddy Max hopes you enjoy!