This adventure was particularly exciting, with the theme of shiny newness running throughout the experience 🙂 Firstly as it was the maiden voyage of my beautiful new mixer (Mary… for those who read my last post, this will make sense!) and also my first attempt at a Paul Hollywood recipe, after purchasing his latest book ‘How To Bake‘. I’m delighted to report that the outcome was most successful 😀 I was actually rather surprised at how straight-forward the whole process was. Having Mary by my side was certainly a huge help though! As Paul says in his book, this particular type of bread has a very wet consistency when in dough form, so hand-kneading would be an extremely arduous task indeed! I have a feeling that Mary’s dough hook is going to be one of my greatest baking assets from now on!
Paul’s recipe produces four ciabatta loaves, which I found rather impressive. Therefore the recipe is also very cost effective- ciabatta bread tends to be quite pricey in the supermarkets… and of course this tastes miles better! With the four loaves, I managed to send Carlos to a morning shift with a delicious and substantial breakfast, feed four people for dinner (I made soup as a main, accompanied by the ciabatta, with a Lemon Tart for afters… post to follow!) as well as have a loaf left over for the freezer. Now that’s economical! The bread will keep for a couple of days according to Paul, although always best eaten freshly baked of course. A great tip to ‘freshen’ the bread a day or two after baking is by popping it back in the oven (at 220°C) for five minutes before eating. I tried this just before serving to my family for dinner, and it certainly does the trick! Just like freshly baked 🙂
I’d like to quote Mr Hollywood by saying (or “warning”) that “breadmaking is highly addictive“! After my ventures into this new area of baking I whole-heartedly agree! Taking beautifully crisp, risen golden loaves out of the oven, after 1-3 hours of time dedicated to nurturing the kneading and proving process, one cannot help but feel immensely satisfied!
If I’ve sold you on the idea of venturing into the world of bread-making, then I highly recommend investing in Paul Hollywood’s How To Bake (published by Bloomsbury, 2012), to provide you with the guidance to do so, Not only are there an array of recipes, both traditional well-known breads and also plenty of more interesting flavoured numbers, but the book also provides a fab knowledge of the basic science and wisdom behind the processes and ingredients involved in churning out perfect bread. Trust me, reading through the introduction of this book BEFORE attempting any of the recipes will teach you a lot- well worth investing the time to do!
The following link will take you to Paul’s Ciabatta recipe:
Happy baking folks!