For my Bake Off challenge this week I decided to have a go at the ‘Technical’ bake – often the trickiest – as I haven’t attempted one of Mary or Paul’s own recipes yet. To make things even more difficult, I’ve never baked so much as a loaf of bread before, let alone a ciabatta.
I got the recipe from the Great British Bake Off website and you can find it here. The advice given to the contestants as they prepared to make their ciabatta was ‘be patient’ and this was definitely good advice. I spent a lot more time waiting for my bread to rise than I did actually mixing or baking it. I did my best not to handle the dough too much as this knocks the bubbles out of it, and a well-risen loaf with lots of air bubbles are key to a good ciabatta (I think!)
It was really lovely to fill the house with the smell of baking bread – there’s nothing quite as appetising as homemade bread, is there? The ciabatta seemed to rise well in the oven, and it had a good, crisp crust when I took it out. I think I would’ve been marked down for the slightly odd shape of my loaves and also because they were slightly denser than you would look for in a ciabatta. But they tasted really great. Especially with some oil and vinegar to dip into.
I’m pretty happy with my first attempt at making bread and will definitely have a go at some other types in the future. My next Bake Off challenge is likely to be even trickier. After last night’s dramatic episode there was only one desert I could possibly attempt – the dreaded Baked Alaska! Hopefully mine won’t end up in the bin…