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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Parmesan Ciabatta Bread

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No matter how many bread recipes I make successfully, I still continue to get a huge kick out of watching the dough rise and having so few ingredients become a delicious loaf of bread.  This bread turned out very well, with a nice crust and a soft interior dotted with delicious pockets of melted cheese.  Unfortunately I do think that the recent frigid temperatures and my consequently chilly house affected the rising of the sponge.  The interior of the bread did not have as many air pockets as I expected, but it was soft and delicious nonetheless.  So far I have eaten it alongside pasta, toasted and dipped into hummus, and we plan to have it with soup for dinner tonight.  I also think it would be great sliced lengthwise for a sandwich.  This would be fantastic with any number of cheeses, but Ben loves all things with Asiago cheese so I think I will try that next time.

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Recipe Rewind: tried and true favorites I’ve made recently
Pot Roast – perfect for a chilly evening at home

Parmesan Ciabatta
Ingredients:
For the biga (starter):
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat, pumpernickel or rye flour
1 cup warm water
1/8 tsp. instant yeast

For the dough:
all of the starter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
4-5 oz. Parmesan (or other) cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice, plus extra for grating over the top

Directions:
To make the biga, combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix until well blended.  Cover the bowl, and leave it at cool room temperature (68-70 degrees F) for 12-20 hours, until the biga is very bubbly.

To make the dough, mix the biga and the remaining dough ingredients except the cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed just until a dough begins to form.  Switch to the dough hook and continue kneading on low speed for 6-8 minutes, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.  Add additional water or flour as necessary, a tablespoon at a time.  Mix in the cheese; don’t worry if some pieces pop out.  Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours, until very puffy.

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 onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover the loaves with well-greased plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 45 minutes or until they are very puffy.  Sprinkle with additional grated cheese.

Bake in an oven preheated to 450 degrees F for 22-26 minutes, until the tops of the loaves are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Source: adapted from Amber’s Delectable Delights

  • http://culinaryinfatuation.blogspot.com Ally

    That looks delicious. MMMM, I’m imagining how nice it would taste. I really have to make this soon, I keep putting it on my to do list every week, and never get around to it.

  • http://joelens.blogspot.com Joelen

    Looks delcious and its on my list of must trys!

  • http://tinnedtomatoes.blogspot.com holler

    That looks like lovely bread and I do like the scattering of parmesan on top. I only saw the tip of the bread, when I got to your post and thought the cheese looked like little letters or patterns.

  • http://www.homewithmandy.com Home with Mandy

    oh how I wish I wasn’t completely intimidated by bread making. This looks so warm and yummy.

  • Laura

    I love ciabatta bread…this recipe looks great! : )

  • http://amberskitchen.blogspot.com Amber

    I am glad that you enjoyed this bread. KA flour really hit a home run with this recipe. I can’t wait to try it again with asiago cheese. The cheese pockets were my favorite part. :)

  • http://yesdessertmenu.blogspot.com/ annie

    Yum! My last attempt at cheesey bread was a disaster (that is, my oven died with the loaf part cooked inside!) but this has made me want to try again!

  • http://www.apotofteaandabiscuit.blogspot.com Sylvie

    I’m completely with you when it comes to getting a kick every time bread dough rises and even more so when I finally get to take a beautiful golden loaf out of the oven. The chiabatta looks lovely.

  • Julia

    This bread is absolutely AMAZING. I got my first stand mixer for Christmas and this was the first recipe I tried out. I ran out of cheese so I put fresh rosemary on top. So fragrant and so good :]