Hello, Reader! Long time, no talk (read? write? what is the appropriate verb here?). Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Has your holiday season gotten off to a pleasant start?
I apologize for the lack of blogging recently. While I enjoy writing, cooking, baking, and photography, sometimes it’s hard to roll all my interests into one neat little blog post.
I wanted to share things with you, Reader, like about how I roasted a 20-lb. turkey for Thanksgiving this year, and made two kinds of stuffing, and red cabbage, and generally helped my grandpa host 28 people for dinner.
Or about how my friends and I tried to make gingerbread houses, which maybe would’ve been a blog post, had they turned out acceptable. In the end, we decided they were actually gingerbread house ruins, which is sort of more appropriate since we’re into historic preservation and things like that.
I even did the baking and photographing of today’s recipe a while ago, but never got around to looking at the pictures and writing the post. (Speaking of photos, the light in my apartment is pretty awful especially with the short days, and I’m still trying to figure out how to work with it.)
I’ll be honest, this ciabatta didn’t turn out perfectly. Ciabatta is known for it’s randomly sized and randomly spaced air pockets, and mine were way too uniform. Even so, I’m sharing this recipe because I was really happy with the results even if they weren’t perfect ciabatta loaves. I also love recipes that already use whole wheat or white whole wheat flour, and wanted to share the whole wheat love. Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Ciabatta
Makes 16 rolls or 4 small or 2 large loaves
Slightly adapted from Cooking A La Mel
For the biga (pre-ferment)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
For the ciabatta dough
- 1 biga recipe
- 2 cups + 2 T warm water
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
To make the biga: Mix warm water and yeast, let sit for about five minutes to allow the yeast to activate. Mix in flour to form a shaggy dough. Cover and let sit overnight or for about eight hours. It should rise and be visibly bubbly.
To make the dough: Combine 1 cup warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer to activate, about five minutes. Add remaining water, flour, salt, and biga. Stir to form a wet dough, then let sit for twenty minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.
After resting, knead the dough with the dough hook for about fifteen minutes, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It should be smooth and elastic. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl (this can be the bowl of your stand mixer) and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for 2-3 hours, until tripled in size.
Once the dough has risen, turn the dough gently onto a clean, heavily floured surface. Divide the dough into however many pieces you want for large or small loaves or rolls. Place the shaped dough onto parchment or silpat-lined baking sheets–this part is tricky! Be very gentle, as you want to keep all the air bubbles. Let the dough rise again for another thirty minutes. During this rise, preheat the oven to 475ºF.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your rolls or loaves. The exterior should be golden brown, and the loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when baking is complete.
These freeze well, just wrap tightly (I wrapped mine in aluminum foil then in a sealed plastic bag)! They should keep for up to two months, but mine did not last longer than two weeks. The loaves were just too good for garlic bread, sandwiches, and general consumption.
Posted to Sweet & Savoury Sunday!