We live in an area of very hard water, and on a daily basis the stainless steel sink and drainer is covered in a layer of limescale. Sometimes the water tastes so bad it makes a cup of tea undrinkable if I haven't used filtered water to fill the kettle.
A few days ago I shared details of the winners from a contest to cook with filtered water, who are now going ahead and selling their produce at the Big Feastival, and sharing the benefits of cooking with filtered water with others.
Wherever I can, I try to cook with filtered water myself, just because I don't want the taste of my food to be ruined by all the nasty chemicals that can be found in household water, more details of which can be found here. We're lucky enough to have a filter built into the water dispenser on our fridge, as well as on the tap at the kitchen sink, making the availability of filtered water easy to us (as long as we remember to change the filters!)
I don't always remember to use the filtered water when I bake bread, but as this was my first attempt at making ciabatta I wasn't prepared to take the risk, so filtered water it was. Thankfully my first ciabatta making experience was a success, although I must admit that when I put it into the oven I wasn't feeling very confident as the dough was quite flat - after watching The Great British Bake Off AFTER I made mine, I realised that firstly I shouldn't have proved it in the airing cupboard, and secondly that I should have used a smaller box (mine was approx 30cm x 30cm, far too big!) - lessons learnt for next time. I did, however, use flour and semolina on the work surface to stop the dough from sticking, which I learnt during the last series when making breadsticks.
I found two recipes, both by Paul Hollywood, and both different to the other, so I improvised a little and adjusted quantities here and there.
Ciabatta - makes 2/3 loaves
250g '00' flour
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
approx 275ml water
250g '00' flour
25ml olive oil
approx 175ml water
extra flour and semolina for the work surface
- In a large bowl, beat 250g flour, yeast and enough of the 275ml water to make the dough into the consistency of a loose cake batter
- Cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature overnight
- Add the dough to the bowl of a food mixer along with the other 250g flour and salt
- With the beater attached and motor running add the olive oil and enough of the water to make a sticky stretchy thick cake batter consistency
- Keep beating for 5 to 10 minutes - it should be very elastic and stretchy
- Add the batter to a greased plastic box and leave to prove for around 2 hours
- Add plenty of flour and semolina to your work surface and turn the dough out onto it
- Slice into 2 or 3 loaves with a sharp knife or dough scraper and lift onto baking sheets covered with more flour and semolina
- Set aside whilst the oven preheats to 220C
- Bake the dough in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and crispy
I used a few slices of ciabatta loaves to make a delicious lunch, which was quick and easy to make.
Ciabatta topped with Mozzarella, Tomato & Rocket - serves 2
1 clove garlic, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of ciabatta
4 vine ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
- Slice the mozzarella into 4
- Mix the garlic in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil
- Add the slices of mozzarella to the bowl
- Lay the ciabatta slices onto a baking sheet or grill pan
- Drizzle a little of the garlic oil over the bread & lay a slice of mozzarella on each piece of bread
- Top with 2 tomato halves
- Place under a hot grill for a few minutes, until the cheese starts to melt
- Remove from the grill, top with rocket and ground black pepper and serve immediately
I was provided with a supermarket voucher to cover the cost of ingredients used