The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need suggestion: bread to dip in balsamic vinegar and olive oil?

M2's picture

Need suggestion: bread to dip in balsamic vinegar and olive oil?


We're going to invite some friends over for dinner on New Year's day and my husband wants me to make some bread to dip in olive oil as an appetizer.  I guess the ideal bread will be those with airy crumb.  Based on my limited bread making experiences, I think I can achieve relatively open crumb with Leader's light rustic rye or Bertinet's basic sourdough.  However, I'd like to try something new.  Do you have any suggestion? 

My preference will be using only sourdough starter as the leavening agent, but I'm open to other recipes that include commerical yeast (hmm...I only have active dry yeast in the fridge).

Thanks in advance for your help!  Happy New Year to all!



wowzow's picture

A nice crusty ciabatta would make a wonderful dunkable slice into salted extra virgin OO + touch of balsamic.

A local restaurant used to use exactly that combo and it was outstanding -- until they switched to the cheaper bread sticks...  ..and now we don't go as often as the food is so-so but the fresh ciabatta w/ oo was delightful.

This looks like a foolproof ciabatta recipe that's on my very near todo list:



flournwater's picture

Ditto ....

BellesAZ's picture

double ditto... have some loaves going today.. marinara and meatballs for New Years dinner.

nycbaker11's picture

I made this formula today and it came out great. I baked the semolina version.


davesmall's picture

Try my Fougasse recipe. It makes a great dipping bread. In fact, I'll be making some today.

Here is a link

M2's picture

Thank you, Dave and Flournwater for the suggestion.  Yup, ciabatta is a good choice! I'll put it on my to be considered list.

Fougasse is an interesting suggestion, davesmall!  It entertains the eyes and makes the stomach happy.

Now I'm getting excited!


Cooking202's picture

Dave, I am so glad I ran across this today. Can't think of a better way to start the New Year than mixing up a batch of refrigerator dough.  I also wanted to tell you that your pizza crust method is awesome......fully cooked pizza crust.....can't get much better than that.  I even put my stone on my large gas grill, which gets really hot I made a spinach/alfredo pizza and it was perfect. Thanks for all your great posts and instructions.



davesmall's picture

Hi Carol - I'm glad you've enjoyed my recipes. Thanks for the feedback. Making great bread is a reward in itself but sharing ideas and getting positive feedback is doubly rewarding.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi M2, Seasons greetings from Australia.

 Triple ditto on above comments on ciabatta, I'm probably a bit late with my comments as I worked on 1/1/11 and it's now 2/1/11 but I just wanted to reinforce what the others had said.......please let us know how you went and the recipe you chose......................Pete

M2's picture

Hi Pete,

I decided to go for the suggested ciabatta's recipe.  Making that ciabatte was quite an "ordeal" though...

I started using the hook on my Kitchen Aid on 6 (I thought if I used the hook from the start, I have one less thing to wash--the paddle).  Bad decision.  After 30 mins, the mass was still in the batter stage.  So I switched to the paddle, and within 5 mins, the mass started to come together and I had to switch back to the hook to finish the job.  Total time in the kitchen aid: 45 minutes.

The dough had tripled in about 2 hours.  I carefully let the dough fell on the board by itself.  Though I saw gluten/network formed, and the mass just spread all over the board like a pancake.  Not good.  How could I let it proof for another 45 minutes?  The dough didn't have the strength like what I saw on the demo video.  I had to keep doing the french fold to stop it from spreading. 

After 30 minutes, I decided to put this spreading mass into the oven.  The ciabatta didn't have much overspring, but the flavour was great.

Here are some pics:

Ciabatta cooling on my Christmas present...a hugh mable board :)