Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ciabatta hates me

I just don't know why this bread hates me so much. Ciabatta was my first bread that I ever made from the bread bible. It turned out a horrible flat failure. Hard and flat, like a rock rather than "slipper". I vowed that with more experience, I would venture to conquer this bread. I failed. Again. But the worst part is that I don't know why. I followed the directions so carefully! Maybe it turned out right, but it just looks so wrong. And its hard. Really hard. I had a lethal weapon after I baked it. Anybody trying to break into my house will get a face full of ciabatta! I had to use a chain saw to cut it open ; ) But it was wierd, it had holes inside, but was wicked flat, and well, dissapointing. The pictures in the bread bible made it seem soft and spongey, the king of breads! Not. It tasted all well and good, as long as you have dental insurance. I had some searous deja vu wile cutting this open. Then I realized that it reminded me of making biscottis.
So what is your worst botch up in the kitchen? : )

21 comments:

Mary Coleman said...

We all have our little failures, honey. Love Homer Simpson. Brilliant touch.
Homemade bread for 30 years was my failure. Thirty years!!! Of course I was 2 when I started making it. It took til last month for it not to be a failure!

cook eat FRET said...

looks like biscotti

practice, practice, practice
don't let the bread beat you down

and mary is lying. she is totally 39. not 32.

Lina said...

but ciabatta loves you! It dosent even look that bad!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

i have dental insurance coverage from the company...i'll go for it, and i'll also get those lil tooth whitening/veneering at the same time LOL!

Bellini Valli said...

Ciabatta is a chewy bread, yours does look good:D

Elle said...

It still looks good to me! Don't give up.

My current nemesis in the kitchen? Buttercream frosting. Tearing my hair out over this stuff!!!

Nick said...

Homer Simpson is a genius and I love that quote. Maybe if you tried a different ciabatta recipe? I've failed before as well. I once was assigned the task of scrambling 8 eggs and I burned them all. Recently, I set a huge pot of beans to boil and also burned them all =/. It happens, no biggy. Maybe the bread bible is wrong! Who knows? Perhaps it was done where the water contains higher amounts of minerals and it was baked at a much higher altitude...could be any number of things. But also, it could just be a typo. Maybe where it calls for 2 cups of flour it should have said 1 cup.

noble pig said...

Oh there are too many botches to mention and I commend you on trying again.

laura said...

I made ciabatta today. It didn't come out with holes as big as I thought it should, but the taste was excellent. The recipe I used was from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker
apprentice book. The recipe is long, but it does work. I didn't read the recipe right and skipped one of the
risings, but it still came out ok

Emiline said...

I don't know. The ciabatta looks pretty right to me. The ciabatta I've had in the past has been really tough, chewy and hard. I like it, though.

Renee said...

It looks gorgeous! And since it tastes good, take a really sharp knife, cut it up as you have in your beautiful picture, and CALL it biscotti! (We'll never tell!) *grin*

As for me? I can't make pie crust for the life of me, not matter WHOSE recipe I try...

Dani said...

The texture looks good and it should be chewy. Why not check your recipe against other recipes and see if there is any variation if you're convinced it's gone wrong.
I have kitchen disasters all the time. Generally when I'm doing too many things at once, screeching at the Ankle Biters or generally losing focus on what I'm doing. Bread is a tricky beast, It think you're doing brilliantly.

Priscilla said...

Never had Ciabatta before, but lookd great. Those biscottis look yummy as well.

Helen said...

They do look just like biscottis! I've never tried making it so I can't offer any advice I'm afraid :-( My worst kitchen bodge up is caramel. Caramel hates me. I always burn it. I'm just about to buy a sugar thermometer actually so hopefully I will actually be able to make caramel successfully!

Pixie said...

haha! I'm just truly impressed you're even spending time making bread.

Am sorry it's been like ages since I last stopped over-you're doing great.

Pixie

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

Love Ciabbata. Got to try this. And sounds like practice makes perfect.

Abby said...

It does look like biscotti! But if it tastes good, who cares, right?

And my worst failure lately was a Boston Brown Bread that I tried. Phee-yew. I'm no good with breads!

Kate / Kajal said...

haha trust me i failed miserably at bread too. atleast yours looks like biscotti , toast it a bit and spread some sugar on top ...perfecto !! gr8 with coffee.

White On Rice Couple said...

Ummmm, we think this looks mighty fine because isn't this what ciabatta is supposed to look like! Ciabatta is one of our favorites and at every place that we've gotten it from,it looks just like yours!!
We'll eat it! Send it our way!

liz said...

It looks nice and has a nice open hole structure, like ciabatta should, but it shouldn't be difficult to cut through ... was your dough really wet? maybe you overworked it a bit; ciabatta comes out flat if it's not handled super-gently. but keep trying -- you'll get it...

my biggest kitchen failure was also bread. I was trying to make damper on a campfire, and decided to throw Anchor steam in to see how it would taste. Either that or a mistake with the baking soda made for a really strange tasting, bitter bread -- we tried eating it with gobs of honey, but gave up in the end. At least yours tastes good!

Jeffrey said...

I've tried the Peter Reinhart BBA recipe several times, and the Maggie Glezer Artisan Bread Recipe, and discovered that the amount of water in both is nowhere near enough. As a matter of my experience, neither the Reinhart or Glezer book recipes call for enough water most of the time.

I think the best way to get a feel for Ciabatta is to use what seems like way too much water, and keep working the dough until it glops together.
The initial mix of ingredents should be like a medium-thick batter - not soupy, but not thick.

I prefer using the paddle attachment for most of the process on a high-medium speed. (I have a somewhat heavier-duty mixer, 800 Watts vs. KitchenAid 560 Watts, so I can keep my mixer running. Less heavy-duty mixers might need a periodic rest.) It's amazing, watching a batter start to form tendrils of gluten, then start to ball up, sticking to the sides of the bowl at first, then only sticking to the bottom, then even clearing the bottom - then adding more water, and watching it stick to the bottom a while before clearing again.
Part of the trick is to turn the dough (see Glezer's book) in the bowl or on a surface without any extra flour, at least for the 1st 2 turns. Sometimes, depending on how long it's been mixing, you don't have to turn it very much.