I have recently taken up the role of assistant manager at the coffee house where I work. It's a job I wanted and I enjoy thus far, but the initial stress can be slightly overwelming. Bread baking has becoming a pacifier, a soother.
So I tried this recipe. It was recommended to me in one of the forums here, and true to the recipe's claim, it was amazing.
The crust was absolutely unreal. While I love and appreciate crusty breads, I enjoy breads that have a softer but chewy crust, and it delivered with a creamy interior. No need for butter, though it wouldn't hurt. It might benefit from olive oil. I made the version that allowed for some semolina flour, which might make a difference in the flavour. I baked it on a preheated stone and sprayed water on the interior of the oven. The recipe indicates that the dough had to triple in size in 2.5 hours. Mine tripled in just under 2.
While it turned out fairly well for my first true ciabatta (I've made my fair share of fake, Americanized versions - see Betty Crocker), it wasn't without its flaws. One of the four loaves developed a giant air bubble and as a result, it was completely hollow. I suppose I could have stuck a sausage in there and pretended it was meant to be that way. I also wished for a darker crust, but I shouldn't complain too much. As I say, I'm entirely happy with the crumb for the most part and certainly the taste. I'll give it another go and be sure to expell more gas next time.