August 10th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Makes 2 loaves


For sponge

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105°-115°F)
1⁄3 cup room-temperature water
1 cup bread flour

For bread

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
2⁄3 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt


Make sponge

In a small bowl stir together yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl, stir together yeast mixture, room-temperature water, and flour and stir 4 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

Make bread

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl of a blender, blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour and combine with wooden spoon. Add salt and mix. Turn out dough from bowl on floured surface and knead until soft, about 10 minutes. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.)

Have ready a rimless baking sheet and 2 well-floured 12-by-6-inch sheets parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone or 4 to 6 unglazed “quarry” tiles (see note, above) arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up for edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone or tiles in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. With a large spatula transfer loaves to a rack to cool

Arugula, Tomato & Lemon Preserves on Ciabatta

August 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


Ciabatta bread
Arugula leaves
Tomato slices
Goat cheese
Salt & pepper
Lemon preserves (recipe follows)
Olive oil


Place arugula leaves on both side of the bread and place a tomato on one side and a tablespoon of lemon preserves on the other. Place a dollop of goat cheese on and season with salt and pepper, place the bread slices together and cook in a panini press, making sure to grease the outside of the bread with oil for crispiness.

Lemon Preserves
Makes 2 ½ cups


3 lemons, de-seeded, and chopped whole, peels included
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (optional)


Place all ingredients (except basil) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 45 minutes or until totally soft and thick. Take off heat and add basil. Cool.

Zucchini, Chili & Mint Panini with Parmesan

August 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 4-6 Paninis


2 zucchinis, cut into ribbons (using a mandolin)
½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped superfine
1 teaspoon fresh red chili, deseeded and chopped superfine
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
12-18 slices parmesan cheese
Ciabatta bread slices


In a mixing bowl mix together the zucchini, garlic, lemon juice and mint. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over it and sprinkle with chilies, pine nuts and salt and mix well. Let the zucchini sit for about 10 minutes. After the zucchini has marinated place some parmesan on each side of the bread slices, layer the zucchini ribbons on the cheese and drizzle a little dressing on. Fold the bread over and cook in a panini press making sure that the outside of the bread is greased or oiled for optimal crispness.

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