I’m back after a pretty long hiatus with some crusty, carby goodness! Ciabatta bread. Now, I have no true reason for not posting for such a long time… I was on rotation for the past 6 weeks, but that’s neither here not there. I was busy, but not overly so! Now, I’m off for the next two months, so I won’t let that amount of time ever pass between posts again. And now, since I’ve been talking about diabetes and telling patients not to eat many carbs for the past month and a half, I think it’s high-time to share none other than: a bread recipe!
This is probably one of my all-time favorite bread recipes to make. It results in a crusty bread filled with air bubbles that is absolutely perfect for toppings. All of those nooks and crannies are just asking to be doused in butter, garlic, and cheese for a killer garlic bread! It’s great for dunking into soups, and it’s also sturdy enough for a sandwich!
I made this bread so many times over the past few months; when you have to pack a lunch every day, fancier bread is the best way to go to liven up another boring sandwich. This bread is so easy, too! You do need to make a biga, a pre-ferment of flour, yeast and water, the night before, so I find it easiest to make this over the weekend. I mix up the biga before bed on Friday or Saturday night, and then mix up the dough in the morning so it can rise all day. It takes a little bit of planning, but most of the process is hands-off, so there is a very small amount of time you actually have to be actively working on it!
You know I always like to make things healthier, so of course, I made this with mostly white whole wheat flour. Because using 100% whole wheat flour in a bread recipe usually makes a pretty dense bread, I do use a bit of bread flour to lighten it up slightly. Alex usually doesn’t like homemade whole wheat breads, but he loved this one! A little bit of bread or all-purpose flour is definitely key here to keep it from being totally overwhelming with the whole wheat.
Do you like making homemade bread? What is your favorite kind to make?
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 biga
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp warm water
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
Stir the yeast, water, and flour together in a small bowl, until it forms a paste. Continue stirring until it resembles a shaggy dough; this is to help build the gluten.
Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours (I usually leave it overnight). It will rise, looking very wet with a lot of bubbles the next day.
Scrape the biga into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water to the biga, and break it up with a spatula to dissolve it slightly; it will still be in stringy blobs - that's fine!
Add the flour, instant yeast, and salt, and stir to form a wet dough. Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes to enable the flour to absorb the water.
Once the dough has rested, knead the dough with the dough hook attachment at medium speed for about 15 minutes, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It should be smooth and elastic at this point.
Place it back into the bowl of the stand mixer, and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with olive oil (to keep it from sticking). Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours, until tripled in size.
Once the dough has risen, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a heavily floured surface (try your best not to deflate it - the more bubbles in your dough, the better!). Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough. Cut the dough into 16 pieces for rolls, or 2 pieces for loaves.
With floured hands, gently scoop the rolls or loaves onto the prepared baking sheets. Press gently about halfway into the dough with your fingers to dimple the rolls (or loaves).
Allow the rolls (or loaves) to rise again, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Once risen, they should appear to have many bubbles just below the surface. While they are rising, preheat the oven to 475ºF.
Once the rolls (or loaves) have risen, bake at 475ºF for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Store rolls (or loaves) in an airtight container at room temperature. You may freeze these, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
adapted from The Kitchn