Monday, June 4, 2012

Whole-Wheat Sourdough Ciabatta


What great timing! This week Virtual Potluck has partnered with King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast and I am actually visiting the headquarters of King Arthur for a few days as part of their second Blog and Bake conference! You can follow along with some of my adventures on Facebook or Twitter for now and I'll be sharing some more on the blog as I go! For more of the Virtual Potluck activities this week, go check out the round-up from Donna at Cookistry.



My goal with this post is to start the discussion around baking bread and help you get more comfortable with it or even try it for the first time if you never have before! Why is baking bread so scary? I know that working with yeast can be a little tricky, but I think the perception is that it's just too hard and so people don't even try. Then they hear about feeding and caring for a sourdough starter and they run the other direction!

Well, we're going to use both yeast and a sourdough starter today and make it fun and easy, so stick around and then give this one a try!


Let's start with the Sourdough. This starter came to me via King Arthur Flour and is over 250 years old! While it's true that the sourdough starter takes some work, once you get it going it will just be a few minutes every week and you'll have something that can make so many different breads and treats even more amazing than you could imagine. I remember when I was younger not liking that tangy, sour taste of sourdough, but that's certainly changed and now, the stronger the better! The best part is that you can really adjust that sourness by how long you let the dough sit. If you like a more mild flavor, you knead and let it rise normally and bake. If you like it stronger, let it sit overnight in the fridge and then let it rise the final time. All up to you!

My favorite part about the sourdough is that I get to share! Each time you feed it, you can divide off a portion and share it with someone else. I now have starter "children" and "grandchildren" all over the twin cities area and love getting updates from people on what they've been making with their starter. 


As for the yeast part of baking, just don't worry about it! As long as you have fresh yeast, either regular or instant, it's most likely going to work just fine. Use warm, but not scalding water and if you're proofing the yeast first, one trick I use is to sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in with the water and yeast to help it get going.  Here's a cool link to some tips about yeast and what kinds to use if you're looking for more information!

Now this ciabatta bread is great because you get the sourdough flavor but it's healthier for you with the 100% whole wheat.  Now you can technically convert your sourdough starter to whole wheat by feeding it whole wheat flour but I wasn't as concerned about that so I just used my regular starter.

Follow a few easy steps and you'll have some great sourdough ciabatta for you and your family!

~ Mix the ingredients together in the stand mixer for 5-7 minutes. If you've made bread before, it's going to be much looser than you're used to. Don't add more flour. It will all be good in the end.



~ Pull it from the bowl in two halves and form it loosely into rectangles on the pan. Make sure there is lot's of flour on the pan before placing the dough so that it doesn't stick!


~ Place the pan on a heated pizza stone and it with some steam in the oven, you quickly get a nice light beautiful loaf of bread! I love it fresh out of the oven, but it's also great toasted.



You can follow King Arthur Flour on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest, and sign up for special offers through the e-newsletter.

Red Star Yeast also has  recipes  for you (including gluten-free), a yeast conversion chart, a baking steps guide,  and how-to-bake videos including videos for bread machine, stand mixer and hand-kneading:.

You'll find Red Star Yeast on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

I've also got some great products from both companies for a lucky person today!

Enter to win A Baker's Dream Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive from King Arthur Flour one (1) dough whisk, one (1) coupon for a bag of flour in the supermarket, one (1) sourdough starter, and one (1) bag of Vital Wheat Gluten. But that's not all! Red Star Yeast is adding three (3) strips of yeast, one (1) bread loaf pan, one (1) apron, and one (1) bread knife to this baking package!

Leave a comment below telling me an experience you've had with baking bread, or what it would take to get you to try if you haven't ever baked with yeast before!


Whole-Wheat Sourdough Ciabatta

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

4 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups fed Sourdough Starter
1/4 cup King Arthur Vital Wheat Gluten
2 teaspoons salt


Directions

Begin by combining the warm water, yeast and sugar in a larger mixer bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Add in the flour, sourdough, wheat gluten and salt. Using the paddle blade of the mixer, mix for 5-7 minutes until the dough comes together, although it will be quite loose.

Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm spot for up to two hours or place it in the refrigerator overnight. If you place it in the refrigerator, take it out and let it come to room temperature for about 2 hours or so before proceeding.

With the dough still in the bowl, sprinkle a generous amount of flour over the top of the dough and using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half.  Pull each half out and place it onto a floured sheet pan, forming it into a rough rectangle shape. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise for 90 minutes.

Place a pizza stone in the oven on one rack and an empty pan underneath it. Heat the oven to 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes. Place the sheet pan with the loaves directly on top of the pizza stone and pour 2 cups of hot water into the empty pan. Quickly shut the oven door and cook for 20-25 minutes or until it is lightly browned and sounds hollow when you tap on the top.


Post submitted to Yeast Spotting

You can also see some other great bread recipes here!



44 comments:

  1. I love ciabatta. And I am SO jealous that you got to go to KAF...I wish I could have swung it. Have a blast! :)

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  2. This looks delicious, I am drooling with photos from your new lens! I too wish I could have swung Blog & Bake, darn those four deadlines on the same day! Had my bags packed and hotel reservation made! Was hoping to meet you, my VP peep in person! Have fun! :-)

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  3. I always wanted to try ciabatta, it's so good from the bakery! Have fun at KAF! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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  4. sigh I am not very good in the breadmaking department...but I am willing to give it another try with the prize
    thanks
    aunteegem@yahoo.com

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  5. i have made white sandwich bread, soft pretzels, bagels and pizza dough only (most of which are pretty much the same dough). i woudl like to learn how to make rye bread.

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  6. Go say hi to my stepdaughter when you're in Norwich. She's just over the river in Hanover, NH. KAF is a dangerous place to visit! Hope you have a blast. Your ciabatta looks tasty too!

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  7. I've made focaccia by hand, and years ago made a lot of bread in the bread machine, both making just the dough (for columba--Italian Easter bread--and pizza dough and panettone) and finishing in the machine (anadama bread). But I've gotten out of the habit, so this may prompt me to get back into it.

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  8. When I was a kid we (my mom and siblings and I) often baked bread, and sometimes made edible bread sculptures. A challenge, but fun, and tasty.

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  9. Your ciabatta looks great! I've baked with yeast but never with a starter so I'd love to try this.

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  10. Love baking bread. I've been experimenting foe a couple of years and my family loves it. My waist- not so much.

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  11. I was always scared to bake with yeast, but I tried it for the first time by making Artisan Bread in 5 minutes and I've been hooked since.

    cereza25 at yahoo dot com

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  12. I've just started baking bread this year since I discovered Artisan Bread in 5 and now I'm hooked. I make all our sandwich bread, pizza dough and I love a quick naan when I totally forget to plan dinner. My house has never smelled so good.

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  13. Your ciabatta looks so good! The first time I tried a yeast bread, it was whole wheat, looked wonderful baking, then fell so flat, I was so disappointed!

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  14. I usually make sandwich / slicing bread. My husband is really good at making pizza crust and baguettes. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  15. I make a lot of pizza dough and soft pretzels. I have made sourdough in the past but it has never been sour enough for my liking, I prefer Panera's.

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  16. I grind my own flour and bake my own whole wheat bread, as well as Artisan breads. So...I'd love to win!

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  17. I just started making my own bread. It is fun!

    Thanks!

    shankyouverymuch11 at yahoo dot com

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  18. My first experience with baking bread was a bad one. I remember that the bread never rose (eventually learning that hot water = yeast killer). That's a lesson that I remember to this day. Lukewarm = happy yeast! :-)

    niftyfoodie at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. Congrats Amy, hopefully this prize package can help you keep baking and learning more!

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  19. I love baking with yeast! Most of my adult life so far I didn't bake bread, but I made my Grandma's rolls for Thanksgiving last year and realized/remembered how easy it is to make delicious bread from scratch, and I've been baking homemade bread about once a week or so ever since!

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  20. I've been trying to bake more bread lately, and I love sourdough, so thanks for the inspiration. When we lived in Egypt for a while, we used to make sourdough English muffins for the expats who missed that kind of breakfast food.

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  21. I just made my first two loaves of multigrain bread yesterday! They came out great!

    mrsc8@yahoo.com

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  22. love making pretzel rolls with sour dough for burgers. Full loafs are always problem for me

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  23. I've come to love my sour dough starter :-)

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  24. I love baking bread, the kneading, the way it smells while baking, and of course getting to eat the finished product! My big fail was making a pizza on an upside down cookie sheet and expecting it to just slide off the sheet and onto my pizza stone that was preheating in the oven. I gotta get me a wooden pizza peel!

    contact info for when I win ;)
    gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

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  25. I have never baked bread from scratch before. I have used the bread maker with prepackaged ingredients with some success. I guess winning the ingredients would help me to try and also some guidence. I have looked over the King Arthur site and they have some pretty good pointers and instructions. Thanks for the opportunity to win.
    amylammers@rocketmail.com

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  26. Megan M - shibori_fan at yahoo.comJune 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    The no-knead bread is seriously the best invention. Great bread with so little effort.

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  27. I use a bread machine and I must say I've had very good luck with the bread. I also use it to make my bread dough for rolls, coffee cake, shaped breads, you name it. I used to make sourdough but my starter spoiled and I haven't gotten around to making a new starter. I frequently make french bread and would love to win as sourdough bread is the best!

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  28. Great photos - must be that new lens, eh? I'm sure you have a great time at KAF. Can't wait to hear the details!

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  29. I've made yeast bread, but not sourdough. Would like to attempt it sometime. My favorite to make is a quick foccacia that I can start just an hour or so before dinner.
    quiltlady59 at fuse dot net

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  30. Love your recipes and stunning photos! I've never made homemade bread before but this review encourages me to give it a try! Might start with a homemade pizza crust!

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  31. Would love to give bread baking a try! I made pretzels once but never ventured further in baking. This sure looks tasty - thanks for a great giveaway!

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  32. I've never attempted bread making but your post sure is inspiring on giving it a shot sometime! And if I win, I'll be stocked up with all the necessary bread-baking equipment

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  33. I love baking bread and do it every week! No store bought bread in our home. I live ciabatta and can't wait to try this version.

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  34. Looks awesome Matt! I need to give this one a shot for sure.

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  35. I love the rhythmic kneading when I make bread; it's a bit of power, meditation and science all in one. And the best part of a fresh loaf of bread is ripping off the crust and placing a pat of butter on it. There is nothing like it in the world.

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  36. My favorite memories of making bread are with mom, I can't count the number of times we got to help mix, knead, eat dough, and then bake and eat the final product! Great times!!

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  37. i have been trying to recreate the oatmeal molasses bread from Cattle Company for a long time and this last year hit pay dirt - but then under baked the bread. Next time, I'll know better!

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    Replies
    1. Never had their bread but it sounds great. Share the recipe?

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  38. I've made Focaccia Bread in the past and loved it! The Ciabatta looks delicious!!!
    Thanks a bunch for a chance at a great giveaway=)
    Lethea B
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

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  39. I've baked bread a few times, but haven't had enough success to replace bread from the store yet. My boyfriend only likes that super soft commercial style honey wheat bread, so I'm always looking for a way to replicate that, only healthier! Will definitely try this sourdough - we love sourdough!

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  40. Wonderful, WONDERFUL post! This is exactly the attitude we're trying to spread via BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread. I hope you'll share this (and any other bread posts) with our/my monthly link up (http://www.girlichef.com/p/byob-bake-your-own-bread.html)!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Love the idea of the link up!

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  41. How fun that you got to visit King Arthur Flour! Your whole wheat ciabatta looks just like mine, it spread a lot and isn't super tall, doesn't have giant air holes in it or anything. Makes me feel that I'm doing ok on mine, heh heh. It's good stuff, and I'm sure yours is extra special with the sourdough!

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