Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bread Baker's Apprentice #7 and #8-Ciabatta and Sticky Buns!


I am not sure which week of the challenge this is, but since I didn't have time to post on the Ciabatta, I will write about both breads in one post.

For those who are new to this blog, I am baking through Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice as part of a challenge started by Nicole at Pinch my salt. We are going in alphabetical order because that is how the recipes are organized, and we are not publishing the recipes not to break any copyright laws. This book is a treasure of information, techniques, and stories on the different breads so if you are into bread or would like to start somewhere this is a great book to start. The amazingly prolific Peter Reinhart is coming out with another book this fall and I am looking forward to buying it.

It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I started making the seventh bread of Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker Apprentice. Without this challenge I would have waited longer to finally face my fears and make Ciabatta at home. See, I love Ciabatta! I grew up eating it, it is the best bread for juicy panini, and it tastes great. I am not sure why I hadn't tried it at home yet, maybe in the back of my head I thought that my home made version would only be a pale cousin to the real thing.

Ciabatta is a relatively "new" bread, probably a result of an accident in which the baker added too much water or run out of flour. The bread has a wonderful flavor, a nice crust and huge open holes. Because of the high hydration the bread is impossible to shape, but you rather coach it into a rectangle, so it results in a bread looking like a slipper, hence the name Ciabatta, which means slipper in Italian.

The book gives two versions, one starting with a biga and the other starting with a poolish. I made the bread using my starter since it was just fed and by adding some water it works as a poolish. Obviously I can not know whether my starter changed the end results, and I promised myself to try this bread again using a biga or a poolish in the near future.

The dough was super wet, easy to shape by using the fold method and the baked bread looked beautiful. The bread had a hard crust that softened after a the bread cooled (PR mentioned this in the book). The flavor was good, but the crumb was totally disappointing, it was super soft like the crumb of brioche, not the crumb for a panino. I will try it again, but this and the experience of the other participants in the challenge confirmed that ciabatta's holes are really hard to obtain at home. To see a great photographic tutorial, check Nicole's post.


The sticky buns were another story. I made sticky buns many times before, using many different brioche recipes so I was curious to try PR's. The dough is made by first creaming the butter with the sugar, and then all the other ingredients are added. The dough comes together easily and the instructions are very clear. After rolling the dough I cut it in 1.5" pieces and let them retard overnight in the refrigerator.


The next day the buns proofed really fast, and they looked beautiful! For a great photographic tutorial visit Paul's post here.



The taste wasn't disappointing, although I think I liked the buns I used to make with Rose Levi Beranbaum's recipe better. Maybe I will make those for a future post.

7 comments:

susies1955 said...

Your ciabatta and buns look great.
I loved baking both of these recipes. :)
You did a wonderful job,
Susie

Karine said...

Wow they both look fantastic! Can I have a sticky buns>

The Missing Piece said...

I love Rose Levy Beranbaum too! We're going to do a bake off with her new cake book when it comes out in October. Let me know if you want to join us. (we won't be baking a cake once a week...that's just too much cake!)

Excellent job on your ciabatta and buns. I haven't tried Rose's ciabatta yet. Have you?

Sweet Charity said...

I'm with you on the ciabatta- good bread but not really ciabatta... and I tried making both versions. I did a little reading on a few bread forums, and apparently one can get good results by switching to all-purpose flour and doubling the water. Probably makes for the sloppiest dough ever. Come to think of it, the first no-knead bread I made last September was very ciabatta-like.
ANyhow, your cinnamon buns look pretty perfect! Hope mine turn out as nice :)

misterrios said...

Pretty buns and an even prettier Ciabatta loaf! I made both variations and the Biga version was better, but no big holes. Still tasted amazing.

Laura said...

Susie, thanks for your comment. I have to check and see where you are on this challenge.

Karine, sticky buns were good, and yes you could have one.

The missing piece, I would love to bake from Rose's new book, but I am afraid I won't have any time. I will love to buy it though. She is such a sweet heart.

Charity, thanks for stopping by.

Misterrios, it is fun to bake with you and all the other participants.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I've made Reinhart's ciabatta before and found it disappointing as well. I prefer a "shaping" method that is simply stretching the dough into a rectangle and cutting it into pieces, with no folding. Your buns look great!

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