Homemade Ciabatta Bread

I think I’ve found the way to Big Guy’s heart:  homemade bread.  Every since we started making homemade pasta, it seems that new kitchen adventures don’t seem quite as intimidating.  So this past Sunday we decided to give homemade ciabatta bread a try.  You do have to start the recipe the day before but that part of the process is super easy.  You make a “sponge” by combining some yeast, flour and water in a bowl and wrapping it tight and just letting it hang out until the next day.  The recipe I used does an incredible job of explaining each step.  The dough is incredibly sticky and I can’t stress the importance of following the timing of each step (especially the amount of time the dough is mixed in the mixer).

When we finally got to the final step – cooking! – we could not wait to see our final result.  The house smelled absolutely amazing.  When we took the bread out of the oven, we were a little worried – it was rock hard.  BUT as the recipe instructed, let it rest for an hour.  And miraculously the bread softened up and was perfection.  And while we had plans to turn the bread into pizza we couldn’t resist cutting an end off and enjoying the homemade bread in it’s purest form.

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Once the bread had completely cooled, it was time to turn one of the loafs into pizza.  Imagine a french bead pizza but with ciabatta bread.

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We picked up a local marinara sauce from The Raleigh Wine Shop and then loaded on the cheeeeeese.  We used fontina, provolone, mozzarella and after cooking a nice sprinkle of parmesan.  We also added some pepperoni and fresh herbs.

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Happy Valentines Day!