Quick and Easy Ciabatta

When I go to any restaurant my favourite starter is bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It's so simple but so perfect. Problem is, I eat so much of it I don't leave room for the main course. 

I first tried this recipe out a few weeks ago and I couldn't believe how easy it was. I've made a few times since...Nick keeps requesting it...and it's so satisfying. That's one of the main things about baking, when it works it's the best feeling. 

Speaking of baking, did anyone see the Bake Off final last night?  I loved it, it was so tense but I'm glad John won. It is a shame they don't take into account the other weeks though. The fraisier cake went down so well at work on Monday. I had people knocking on the office door telling me well done which was lovely to hear. 

I've got my last bake off challenge post to do on Sunday. I've enjoyed setting myself these little challenges each week and I've baked things I might never have thought to make. I need to find myself a new challenge to take it over, although I've got a stack of recipes I want to try so I'm sure working through that will be a challenge in itself. 

I really wanted to share this ciabatta find with you because it's just so nice to make when you come home from work, which is the time you might be least likely to make bread. It's so much cheaper than buying one from the supermarket as well. A 1.5kg bag of strong white flour will cost around 77p and that makes 3 loaves. It's a big saving when you think those mini ciabatta rolls can cost 40p each. Have I convinced you this recipe's money saving ability? 

I also need to highly recommend this sliced into soldiers and dipped into soft boiled eggs. You don't need to toast the bread, it tastes good enough on it's own.

I feel I've pushed my case enough so I'll just quieten down and give you the recipe.

Quick and Easy Ciabatta
(Recipe from Pease Pudding)

500g strong white bread flour
450 ml luke warm (room temperature) water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1x 7g sachet/1 ½ teaspoon dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Pre heat oven to 200C
  2. In a large bowl mix with your hands flour, sugar and yeast.
  3. Pour in the water.
  4. Add salt and ‘beat’ in the bowl with your hands for 5 minutes. The dough should be very thick and wet and not like a regular bread dough. To beat the dough you need to pull at parts of the dough and stretch it up high and then slap it down again. This pushes air pockets into the dough to create the airy texture. 
  5. Pour about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the dough so the oil covers the top and goes down the side of the dough.
  6. Allow to rise covered with cling film for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  7. Pour the dough onto a well floured baking tray (without kneading any further) and fold over like an envelope length ways to create the ciabatta shape.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes (I found 30 in a preheated fan oven to be enough), until golden and when tapped sounds hollow.