I've been a bit quiet here lately, in part because I've launched into a new project that I talk about here with writer Tim Carman. For those who have followed ChewsWise blog, it's no surprise that it has often taken a turn towards bread, which reflected a hobby. But about six months ago, a couple of friends told me I was already writing the book on the damn blog so why not just write a real book. So I am, not a recipe book, but a narrative about bread, thanks to Viking/Penguin.
To that end, the photo above is of a loaf I've been working on lately -- ciabatta. You will see many recipes for ciabatta (Italian slipper bread), but here's my take: aside from the generous water content, the recipe's not the most important thing. What's crucial is the way you flop out the dough to either create a marvelous network of airy holes or a denser and unsatisfying loaf. In one batch of dough, I made both. Conclusion: It wasn't the dough but the way I manipulated it. Needless to say, the picture above (shared with yeastspotting) was the success story. Now let me see if I can replicate my own technique and then dissect it enough to write about it.
- Samuel Fromartz