Have you ever noticed how many of your memories are tied to a specific smell? For me it seems like the majority of my most vivid memories are tied to some kind of smell, usually from something great being cooked in the kitchen. Maybe that is one of the reasons I love to cook so much. Each time I do, I am usually reminded of some experience of cooking or spending time with friends and family. Homemade bread is certainly no exception and I believe that anyone that makes their own bread will agree that there is no better smell than walking in to your home after baking a fresh batch of bread.
This Ciabatta bread is a recipe that I have been eyeing for years in my Williams-Sonoma cookbook and just never got around to making. It does take some time, especially if you have to make your own sourdough starter, but the deep complex flavors are certainly worth the wait, and if you end up making the starter, there are always a number of other sourdough recipes you can use it for as well.
If you haven't had Ciabatta before, it is a thin bread that gets it's texture from dimpling the bread with your fingers as it rises. The result is a thin crusty bread that has light airy holes through out the top. It is fantastic cut or torn into strips and dipped into olive oil and fresh or dried garlic chunks.
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking
- For the sponge:
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast