BBA Challenge (Week 7): Ciabatta Bread

Bread Baking, Food


Today I’m going to tell you a story about a girl who does not know how to read directions. Or rather, a girl who knows how to read directions but who sometimes bites off more than she can chew and neglects to follow them.

This girl is a repeat offender in the multitasking arena.

She’s been known to drag her unwilling laptop into the kitchen so that she can Twitter while she’s cooking dinner.

Sometimes she has her radio and her TV on at the same time, so that she can watch the Food Network but if a song she likes comes on the radio, she can rock out to that instead.

At work, she sometimes opens the Microsoft Outlook icon in her task bar to discover that she has not one, not two but thirteen active e-mails open at once.

So it’s not surprising that she misread the directions to the ciabatta bread in her Bread Baker’s Alliance book and instead of wonderful, crusty ciabatta loaves, she ended up with, well, not very crusty, dense loaves of white bread.

I mean, they LOOKED good and they tasted just fine but the texture was all wrong. I know that baking bread isn’t exactly rocket science but oh yes, there’s science involved. And math – percentages, ratios…my eyes just glazed over.

Oh but wait, we’re not talking ABOUT ME here, of course not.

We’re talking about a hypothetical home bread baker who may or may not have cut about two hours of proofing time from her ciabatta recipe and then baked a little longer than she was supposed to.

Okay, you’re right.

It was me.

All was not lost, however, since I had these three, semi-perky loaves of bread staring at me, begging not to be thrown away or worse, relinquished to the back of the freezer.

So I turned lemons into lemonade…or rather…dense, stale bread into Italian-style croutons.


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  • Reply
    July 5, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Wow, it does look gorgeous and kudos to you for even trying!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Multitasking often puts me in stressful kitchen situations as well, I know your pain! The bread looks great, I’m sorry it didn’t turn out like you expected… well, it gives you an excuse to try again, right!?

  • Reply
    July 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    We LOVE ciabatta and yours looks fantastic. One of the reasons I like to cook with my daughter is that she sees the importance of reading directions…and reading through all of them before she starts. It always reminds me, too, because I think we all suffer from those last-minute oopses.

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    July 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Another great way to use the leftover (or slightly imperfect) bread is to make your own breadcrumbs. Let the bread get a bit stale (i.e., sit out for a day), then grind in the food processor.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    July 4, 2009 at 5:28 am

    You sound just like me! I over multi task at times and think that I know better-until disaster strikes. Still these are some mighty fine looking croutons!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    I could eat a million homemade croutons. They are dangerous! And yours look especially good!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I definitely have the same issues sometimes. I tend to not read through the directions very well before embarking on a recipe and often find that something I’d intended to serve for dinner needs to sit for 24 hours so I have to rethink my gameplan. Oops.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Good bread, bad bread, I love it all. Yours looks very good to me so it couldn’t have been so bad, plus you can’t beat homemade croutons!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Bread is really involved and I have almost no luck with using yeast. Homemade croutons though? Sign me up!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I am too scatter brained to be a baker. I just hate following the directions, I have a problem with measuring, I hate it. And all that Math, ugh.
    But your bread looks divine and who wouldn’t like some fresh croutons? I am so envious of all you #BBA. I wish I could do it, or at least eat it 🙂

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 9:50 am

    That story was hilarious and a perfect example of when science meets technology. So…what to do…maybe call the Dr. Phil show to get the clutter out of the twitter.
    Good you salvaged what could have been a total disaster.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2009 at 6:56 am

    I would love some of this to dip in my soup. It looks absolutely fantastic.

  • Reply
    Julia @ Mélanger
    July 3, 2009 at 4:31 am

    You are certainly busy in the kitchen, twittering, watching tv, and listening to the radio! The great thing is you found an alternative use for your bread. They looked good, if that’s any consolation! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Hey, they look like great croutons at least..! Great save, I’m glad you didn’t just give up and throw the bread out.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    MMMMMM,…your ciabatta bread look so exact as they should be!
    Yummie indeed!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I think you did a wonderful job. After all baking (and cooking) aren’t really about following a recipe…IMO it’s about creating the best tasting food from what you have available. Sounds like you did a great job with that!
    I had a mini-dinner-debacle last night and that lesson came through loud and clear. Make the best of what life puts in your way and your life will be richer for it!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Very funny post! I am aaalways multitasking and have definitely made errors because of it. At least you got something tasty out of it.

  • Reply
    Susan from Food Blogga
    July 2, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I adore ciabatta bread. How I wish I had a big hunk of that loaf right now to dunk in some extra virgin olive oil.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    What could be more wonderful than homemade Ciabatta Bread Croutons! And now you know what under rising results in and what it felt like – I know I how slow learning can be, I’ve sure done it.
    You really do tend to heavy multitask 😉

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I can also get to speedy and not read through very good. Sometimes I read it over and over before I start. I guess if I’m intimidated by the recipe I read it a lot. 🙂
    I think your ciabatta’s look so very good. So what was wrong with the texture?????????
    Nice baking along with you,

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 11:11 am

    A chef told me the other day that you must read the recipe through 3 times before even beginning! No wonder I’ve screwed up so many recipes!!
    B the way- the bread looks amazing to me! Love your blog also!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I for one never hesitate to post about kitchen failures; it makes us more real. Then you take your mistake and make something delicious from it, and all is well and good. Back at square one again!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Oh no but I bet they’d be good in bread pudding too

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 5:39 am

    I love it! I would take homemade croutons anyday!

  • Reply
    alexa - cleveland's a plum
    July 2, 2009 at 1:09 am

    i love that as i’m reading this post a world of warcraft add is streaming next to the post.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Oh, I miss read the recipe so many times too. Most of the time my bread won’t even as good as yours. So, it happen to all of us. Still look gorgeous and delicious!

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