Monday, August 15, 2011

Ciabatta Bread

Lately, we have been striking out when it comes to buying bread. Last time my husband went to Panera to get bread, they were out. Not sure how a business seemingly based on bread runs out of bread hours before they close, but they did.

I have been talking about trying to make Ciabatta at home for some time. I did a quick search of the internet looking for recipes to try. Many of them involved a sponge, which, since I thought I was eating it for dinner on Sunday would not work, since it was already after noon.

I found a recipe here and read through all of the feedback, which resulted in a few tweaks to the recipe. There are a few more that I might try next time, like adding a little rosemary to the batch.

Ciabatta Bread
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
3 1/4 c bread flour
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Layer ingredients in pan of bread machine. Select dough cycle and start.

Remove dough from bread machine pan, it will be a little sticky, onto lightly floured surface. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into two pieces and shape into two ovals on a floured baking sheet. Dimple the surface and sprinkle with flour. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Dimple again.
Bake at 425 for 25 - 30 minutes. After 10 minutes, spritz dough with water for a crispier crust.
I was very pleased with the result of the bread. It wasn't as sour as a standard ciabatta, but still had the right amount of air pockets and a good crispy crust and chewy center. It was so yummy, enjoyed warm - we ate about half a loaf this way. The rest was enjoyed at dinner the next night, where we served it with olive oil and seasoning dip.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Banana Cherry Loaf

Banana bread has been a long time favorite of mine. I don't eat nuts, so my banana bread is typically simply banana bread. On occasion, I have been known to add chocolate chips to my banana bread, but not much else. Yesterday, I decided to add some cherries to the banana bread. I think the result was absolutely delicious. I think that next time, I might try this recipe with Blueberries.

Banana Cherry Loaf
1/2 c shortening
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 c flour, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Cream shortening and sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time. Add the bananas and mix well. Add 1 1/4 c flour, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Add the 1/4 c flour to the cherries and gently toss to coat. Add to the batter and fold in.

Pour into pan and bake about 55 minutes, until the center is set.

Some notes:
I used a whisk, but you could use a mixer.
I sprinkled the top of the loaf with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar.
The cherries fell towards the bottom, I'm thinking that quartering them might leave them more dispersed in the loaf.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cole Slaw

When I was first married, we would buy Cole Slaw at the grocery store when we were having fish. Then, one day, when cabbage was on sale, I decided to give a try of making it on my own. It was surprisingly simple to make and I no longer have to worry about the celery seed that is in many varieties of cole slaw.

Getting a nice shred on the cabbage is something that is important to me. I cut in both directions to get nice small pieces of cabbage as my base.

Cole Slaw
Shredded Cabbage - about 16 oz
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over the shredded cabbage and stir. Season to taste.

I find that it is best to make the slaw up the night before. It just gets to be creamier and more flavorful when it sits in the refrigerator over night.