I don't think there could be anything better than baking your own bread! Today I attempted this bread.
Ciabatta is an Italian white bread made with wheat flour and yeast. The loaf is somewhat elongated, broad and flattish. It's famous for a sandwich bread.
This was my first attempt in baking Ciabatta and I must say we were pleased. Not sure it will hold out until tomorrow when I had planned on making sandwiches. This bread is absolutely delish right out of the oven. Of course smeared with lots of butter!!
Whisk together the bread and wheat flour with salt; set aside.
Pour warm (110 degrees) water into a medium size mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast with spoon.
Add the flour mixture to your bowl of yeasty water; stir into a heavy batter. I used a wooden spoon.
Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic. Now this is where it gets tricky, or least it did for me. Set the bowl with dough in a safe place and forget it for about 18 hours. I read and studied several recipes for this bread and the time ranged from 8 hours to 18 hours. I guess maybe it becomes like a "sour" dough? Anyway I let my dough set for 8 hours and it turned out great.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. And, prepare your pan. I used a 10 x 15 airbake cookie sheet that I placed parchment paper on. I then spinkled with cornmeal.
Pour the batter on to prepared baking surface. Use a spoon to guide the dough on to the baking sheet. The dough will be very wet and sticky. It should be in an oblong shape.
At this point you can spinkle with your favorite herbs. I used Italian seasoning. NOTE: this is entirely optional. I love the added flavor.
Place bread in oven; bake for 25 minutes. If it's golden browned on top, take it out of the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.