First things first. Check out the newest sourdough ciabatta:
This was a 12-hour ferment at room temperature with no second proof. I poured the dough out onto a floured board, folded letter-style, dimpled with my fingers to deflate the larger bubbles, and slid it straight into a hot oven. See how the air pockets are uniformly distributed? This is what I’ve been going for, a holey ciabatta that has good flavor and keeps for several days. Here’s the interesting part: I made another loaf after, but that one had to sit for 40 minutes while the first baked. Even though I dimpled it before baking, it created one massive air pocket just under the top crust, like an inflatable indoor tennis court. So maybe the key to the no-knead ciabatta is simplicity: no kneading, no proofing. Am I done? Not hardly. Now I want the crust more crispy and not quite as chewy. I’m thinking of changing my flour blend for this bread. Maybe 100% bread flour, or 100% high-gluten. More to come.
Garden? Yes, thank you. While the rest of country chips at the inch-thick rime of grey ice on their windshields, here in Southern California flowers are bursting out in glorious celebration. Here we see the elusive bird of paradise peeking through the foliage, ready to strike at intruders with its razor-sharp beak.
Remember the horribly-made birdbath? It has fallen over, Humpty Dumpty style, and can’t be put back together again. Here’s the bowl, severed from the stand by shoddy workmanship.
Out in the garden it’s good to have company, someone to cheer your victories and comfort you in defeat. Sometimes that companion is small, furry, and stuffed. Never underestimate the hamster as a master gardener!