Photos on Fine Fettle Kettle are originals taken by Miriam Latour and under copyright protection.
Recipes are the creation of Miriam Latour, unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dave's Ciabatta Bread and Acorn Squash Soup

Dave is getting to be more and more of an expert artisan bread maker as he works to improve his techniques and find the perfect recipes. His Ciabatta bread is absolutely divine. The texture is fabulous! Ciabatta has a rich, soft lacy center with a crisp crusts. It is never dry, and tastes wonderful dipped in infused olive oils or served with soup or used in panini sandwiches.

Dave's Ciabatta
Originally from Jason Molina with instructions by Jason "LilDice" on The Fresh Loaf.

500 g Flour
15 g salt
2 tsp yeast
450 - 490 g water


In Kitchen Aid style mixer: Mix all ingredients roughly till combined with paddle, let it rest for 10 minutes.

With the paddle (I prefer the hook to prevent the dough from crawling into the guts of the mixer), beat the living hell out of the batter, it will start out like pancake batter but in anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough. if it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. You'll know it's done when it separates from the side of the bowl and starts to climb up your hook/paddle and just coming off the bottom of the bowl. I mean this literally about the climbing, i once didn't pay attention and it climbed up my paddle into the greasy inner workings of the mixer. It was not pretty! Anyway, it will definately pass the windowpane test.

Place into a well oiled container and let it triple! it must triple! For me this takes about 2.5 hours

Empty on to a floured counter (scrape if you must, however you gotta get the gloop out), cut into 3 or 4 peices. Spray with oil and dust with lots o' flour. Let them proof for about 45 minutes, which gives you enough time to crank that oven up to 500F.

After 45 minutes or so the loaves should be puffy and wobbly, now it's iron fist, velvet glove time. Pick up and stretch into your final ciabatta shape (~10" oblong rectangle) and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), and onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. Try to do it in one motion and be gentle, it might look like you've ruined them completely, but the oven spring is immense on these things.

Bake at 500F until they are 205F in the cnter (about 15-20 minutes), rotating 180 degrees half way through. Some people like to turn the oven down to 450F after 10 minutes, but whatever floats your boat. I usually bake in 2 batches.

Dave's tips:

"The key is to beat it and beat it to death. Also measure using grams instead of cups, because you can get the ratios better. Flour is dependent on the humidity and how long it's been sitting. A cup measurement is not a good way to measure flour.

It will be super sticky to begin with, and you beat it until it becomes shiny and elastic. The flip at the end is really tricky, so parchment paper is a life-saver. If the flip is too hard, skip it, because it's optional. A baking stone is a must for this bread.

Put water on your hands when touching the dough. It's really gooey and sticky and you don't want to add extra flour. Bread knives are helpful so you don't have to touch it with your hands at all.

Keep trying if you don't get it right the first time! It's worth it."

Dave will be trying out even more recipes for ciabatta and other breads that will hopefully end up on this blog.

Acorn Squash Soup
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

3 whole acorn squash (about 8 cups)
6 shallots, 1 cup diced, 3 left whole and peeled
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper, freshly cracked, plus more for seasoning
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sage, dry
1 tsp savory
1 cup cream
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half on the equator and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut a flat spot on each end so the squash will sit flat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the squash, cut side up. To 3 of the squash halves, add a peeled shallot and to the other 3 add 2 garlic cloves on each. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon each of the salt and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in the hot oven until very tender and starting to caramelize and collapse, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin. Reserve the roasted shallots and garlic with the squash. Can be done ahead.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and when the butter is starting to foam, add the raw diced shallots and saute until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir to remove any fond. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and then the remaining chicken stock. Stir to combine, then puree with a stick blender. The mixture will be very thick. Add in the cayenne, white pepper and the herbs. Stir in the cream and Worcestershire sauce and heat slowly over medium-low heat. When the mixture comes to a slow simmer, mix again with the stick blender and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and turn heat to low. Serve with a fresh crack of black pepper, a nice drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of remaining Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

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