Today, I want to share with you a simple kind of joy, one of home and hearth and heart - my own family's recipe for homemade bread. Now, before you run off terrified at the thought of a flour-coated kitchen and mystifying bread-making terms like kneading, benching and degassing, I should add that this fail-safe recipe for Ciabatta is so simple a 6-year-old could make it. Honest!
In my home, food = love. I don’t mean that in any pop-psycho “substituting food for love” way. My meaning is much simpler: when someone prepares food for you, with the intent of giving you pleasure and nourishment, it's a way of showing their love for you. When my children were young and I had warm cookies ready for them when they got home from school, that was love; when my grown daughter returns home for a visit and I prepare her favourite dish of spinach and cheese tortellini, that is love; and when my husband cooks up a Sunday morning breakfast while I lounge around in my pyjamas with my of mug hot coffee, that is love. So, here I am, sharing my family's Ciabatta recipe with you, with love. The smell of it baking is enough to make any house feel like a comfy cozy home. You just HAVE to give this a try - it is so unbelievably easy.
Here's the ingredients:
4 C (1,000 ml) flour
2 C (500 ml) warm water
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1/4 tsp (1.5 ml) dried yeast
Italian spice mixture (optional)
1. Add the warm (not hot) water to a large bowl
2. Add the yeast & stir to disolve
3. Stir in the salt
4. Stir in the flour. It should have a consistencey somewhere between pancake batter & play doe.
5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave for 8 - 12 hours. (Easy or what?) You can get it ready the night before & bake the next morning, or start it in the morning and have warm bread with dinner.
6. Dump the dough onto a flour coated baking pan and gently shape into a flat loaf. Sprinkle with Italian spices (if you want to make it extra-special).
7. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 celsius) for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from oven & let cool on wire rack.
8. Share the love with your family.
That's it! Enjoy!
P.S. I'd love to hear how it turns out for you, so please leave a comment.