Friday, January 9, 2009

Parmesan Ciabatta

As I mentioned in my last post (you know that delectable brownie mosaic cheesecake), the in-laws were over for dinner the other night. The main entree was a garlic and herb pork loin with carrots and potatoes that I cooked in my beautiful new 6 3/4 qt Le Creuset dutch oven. I was looking for a bread to serve with it and this one that I found on the King Arthur website sounded awesome. I love asiago cheese, especially paired with bread, but rarely buy it due to its costs. I had a block of Parmesan in the fridge so I went ahead and used that.

Although the entire process took more than one day, most if it was inactive waiting and rising time. This bread was very easy to make, required minimum kneading and the shaping could not have been any easier. This recipe would be perfect for people who are first starting out baking bread.

The texture of this bread was amazing. The big air pockets coated with cheese was my favorite part. I only used 4 ounces of cheese but I will definitely be using the whole 5 next time. This bread got two thumbs up from everyone. Definitely give it a try.

Asiago (Parmesan) Ciabatta
King Arthur Flour

-makes 2 loaves -

Biga (Starter) Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) pumpernickel, rye, or whole wheat flour
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough Ingredients
all of the starter
2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavoring (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
4 to 5 ounces Asiago or Parmesan cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup), plus extra for grating over the top of the bread

For the Biga
Mix all of the biga ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well-blended. Cover the bowl, and leave it at cool room temperature (68°F-70°F) for 12 to 20 hours, until the biga is very bubbly.

For the Dough
Mix the biga and the remaining dough ingredients, except the cheese, using an electric mixer set on slow speed, for 2 to 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary. Mix in the cheese; don't worry if some pieces pop out. Allow the dough to rise, in a greased, covered bowl, for 1 to 2 hours, until it's very puffy. Note: You can also mix this dough in a bread machine set on the dough cycle; add the diced cheese several minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into two long loaves, about 12 x 4 inches each. Place the loaves, floured side up, onto parchment paper (if you plan to bake on an oven stone) or baking sheets. Cover the loaves with a proof cover or well-greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes, or until they're very puffy. Sprinkle them with additional grated cheese.

Bake the ciabatta in a preheated 450°F oven for 22 to 26 minutes, until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.

-- -- -- -- --
Like a proud mama I just had to throw a picture in of my pork loin. It turned out so incredible that I wanted to share (um brag). :) I put a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan and cooked the salt and pepper seasoned veggies (carrots, potatoes and whole garlic cloves) on the stove for about 5 minutes. Then I removed the veggies, seared the meat on all sides and deglazed the pan with 1/3 cup chicken stock. I added the veggies back into the pot, put the lid on and cooked it in a 375 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. The veggies were awesome, they had such an awesome flavor that I could not stop eating them. I am in love with my Le Creuset and I can't wait to use it time and time again.


Katie said...

Both of these recipes look amazing!

Anonymous said...

Ciabatta is my favorite bread and the fact that it has cheese in it? Yum!

I just started the biga :)

Kristen616 said...

Looks amazing! I love asiago cheese bread but have never made it myself...I think I'll have to try it now!

#1SAHM said...

ciabatta is my new fav bread...thanks for sharing the recipe, looks delicious! : )

What's Cookin Chicago said...

I need to make this and decided to give ciabatta another try. I normally don't like it but having had some good and soft ciabatta recently I bet it would better made from scratch than store bought!

Bob said...

Wow, those look wicked good. I love bread with cheese in it, it's just the best.

Spryte said...

I think sandwiches might count as my favorite food. I'd LOVE to have a sandwich on that awesome bread!!!

That Girl said...

Hmmm I have parmesan in my fridge....

Anonymous said...

mmmmm....the bread looks sooooo good.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a great recipe! I'm not in love with my ciabatta recipe so I'm definitely going to have to try this one.

Heather said...

Bread looks great. I will have to try it some time. I loved the No Fuss Focaccia you posted a while back, so good!

Question for you: How do you take such great photos? Do you always manage to shoot in daylight, or do you have another trick? A lightbox? A good flash? I'm just curious because I'm about to pull the trigger on buying a really nice flash for my digital SLR, but it's expensive. Just curious what you do... your pics always look awesome!

Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic! I'm definitely going to give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Ciabatta is my favorite kind of bread. I love the addition of parmesan. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love ciabatta! This looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I was planning on making some wheat bread this week for sandwiches. I think it just got bumped so I can make this tonight!

Anonymous said...

This bread looks fabulous! Ciabatta is on my list of things to try, and this definitely sounds like a perfect recipe to start with!

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog and already have a list of recipes to try!

I want to make the bread but have never heard of pizza dough flavoring. What is it, and where do you buy it?

Courtney said...

Amber, the bread you make continually amazes me. I've already tried two great bread recipes from your blog, and I can't wait to try this one. For that reason (and so many more), I've given you a blog award. I love reading your blog, and I don't think I ever would have worked with yeast if it weren't for you. :) You can pick up the award on my blog.