Getting to a lot of recipe suggestions, bread being one of them. Here is a delicious ciabatta bread recipe. Great for sandwiches, sliced served with soup or my favorite dipped in local olive oil and aged balsamic. It takes some time, but now is the time. You will need ot make a sponge the day before (recipe follows), you will need 2 baking towels, parchment paper and spray bottle for water. Have fun, bread making is an art! .... not to mention the tasty reward at the end.
Serving Preparation Bake Total
4 1/4 cups bread flour
2 cups water
1/4 tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp olive oil
Make the sponge
In a medium-sized bowl combine 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour, 1 cup of the water, and yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well mixed and free of lumps.
Cover the bowl will plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, You want it to be between 12-24 hours
Make the bread
Remove the sponge from the refrigerator and add the remaining 1 cup water. Gently run a rubber spatula around the outer edge to release the sponge from the bowl.
Transfer the sponge mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and use the fitted paddle.
Add 2 3/4 cups flour and the salt.
Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Turn the speed up one number and beat for another minute. Then speed up one more time and beat for roughly 3-5 minutes. The dough will start to remove itself from the bowl and you know you are set.
Drizzle the olive oil in a large bowl and rub it around to evenly coat the inside of the bowl. With wet hands, transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
Add olive oil to a spatula and gently fold the dough over onto itself. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Repeat this step once more and let the dough rise for a final 45 minutes
Flour your work surface with flour and let the dough slide out of the bowl onto the counter. Be very gently here so you don't knock all the air out of the dough
Liberally dust the top of the dough with flour. Carefully manipulate the dough from the sides to form a square. Take care not to put pressure on top of the dough.
Cut the dough in half, down the middle of the square. Gently shape each half into 2 loaves by using a sharp knife Lay a baking towel over a large baking sheet and liberally dust it with flour.
Transfer the dough to the prepared cloth. Fold the cloth up in the middle to separate and support the loaf. Repeat with the remaining loaf.
Cover the dough with another cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Place a large inverted baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 450 F.
Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to about 12x6 inches.
Place the parchment paper on a pizza peel or inverted rimmed baking sheet.
Using the cloth, gently roll the first dough loaf over to loosen it.
Carefully transfer it to the prepared parchment paper. Repeat with the second loaf.
Dust off any excess flour and spray the loaves lightly with water
Carefully slide the parchment with loaves on the heated baking sheet.
Bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 25-27 minutes.