My little man is 10 months old and so much fun. He has been growing and changing so rapidly this month; in the past week he has said his first word, stood for the first time, taken his first step, and used a fork to eat his food. (I realize the last one seems out of league with the others, but this mama is thrilled for the fork!) I usually don’t get emotional about these things, but with so many in so few days, I’ve had a difficult time processing the magnitude of his rapid growth. I feel like blinking will cause me to miss something! And, I don’t want to miss it. This morning, I nearly missed him clap for the first time. Another first this week! My goodness. And since he is nearly 11 months, it is time to start “officially” planning his first birthday party. One word: mustaches. Awesome, right?
I have also spent a lot of this month baking. I threw my friend Heather a baby shower last weekend with my friend Stefanie and we made an assortment of treats that I will blog about soon. I have also been trying some new breads from my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. I took a different spin on the ciabatta bread which resulted in deliciousness that you won’t want to miss out on.
Rosemary & Sea Salt Ciabatta
RECIPE: (makes 2 loaves)
5 1/2 cups bread flour
3 cups warm water + 1 cup hot water reserved
1 1/2 T kosher sea salt + 1 t reserved
1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 T dried rosemary
You will need a bread stone, metal baking dish, and 5 qt tupperware. A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment is what I use to mix together my dough, but you can also do it by hand in the tupperware.
Mix water, sea salt, and yeast together. Add bread flour and mix until incorporated. Transfer to tupperware and cover for 2 hours (it is important that tupperware is NOT airtight). Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes before working with it. The best thing about this dough is that it will last in the refrigerator up to two weeks. So make one loaf this week, and make another when you run out!
When you are ready to bake your bread, put the bread stone on the middle rack of the oven. On the rack below it, but the metal dish to one side to use for a steam bath. Heat oven to 450 F.
Meanwhile, wet your hands and take half of your dough (about 2 lbs) and quickly shape it into a ball by pulling out from the center and tucking that section under the ball. Once you have a ball, start working the dough out into a flat oval, keeping it at least 3/4 of a inch thick. If you need to wet your hands again to keep the dough from sticking, do so. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes on a dough paddle or flat cookie sheet that has been generously dusted in white flour. Crack reserved sea salt on dough and sprinkle rosemary over the top surface.
After 20 minutes, slide dough onto bread stone, then pour the reserved hot water into the metal dish and quickly shut the oven. Cook for 20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove bread from oven with paddle and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into it.
I recommend serving it with an olive oil dipping sauce. Crack sea salt and pepper into a small dish, add parmesan cheese and top with olive oil. Get creative with it! Add red peppers, olives, or other spices to add some flare to your bread!