Topped ciabatta is one of those products where I went ‘I could make this myself?’ Food that was so good you rolled your eyes and went, I have to have that again, but the price is just one of those ‘treat’ costs you can’t afford on the regular?
This thought has crossed my mind many times when I’ve bit into something slightly different, but I usually let it go into the vault of good food memories. You know the one with donuts floating in the air and those two a.m. burgers that you thought at the time was the best thing you’d ever eaten!
Before I go back to the food vault in my head let me get back to my point. That thought of ‘I could make this myself’ crossed my mind several times the last few months as I bought this ciabatta week after week at my favorite bakery.
I love onion and tomatoes, combine them with rosemary and cheese and this bread is the perfect treat from standard bread fare. Saturday’s would always involve a stop into this bakery where I would treat myself to a pastry (best on earth by a French pastry chef, so no, I cannot try to make that right now) and this bread which would soon be devoured over the remainder of the weekend with slices of cheese and canned tuna with mayonnaise.
By Monday, the sad reality of fun weekend fare was over and I return to healthier eating, but this bread was there, haunting me until Saturday returned again. Bread has been a constant in my life, but nowadays it is merely a treat, and if I’m treating myself I might as well go all out. That’s this bread!
Adapted from Squidoo.com
Makes 2 loaves
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 sachet 7 grams yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups warm water
2 medium tomatoes, finely sliced
1/2 onion, finely sliced
Small handful fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (a mild one is best)
Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, stir to combine. Add in the olive oil and 1 1/2 cups water. Add more if necessary, but do so slowly, stirring each time.
Once the dough is soft and sticky, roll onto a floured bench and knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a mixer.
Return to the large bowl (trust me, this rises a lot, so ensure it is a third of the way up the bowl). Dust with flour and place in a warming cupboard to prove for an hour, it should be doubled in size.
Remove and knead for a further minute on a floured surface, dusting your hands with flour before doing this also.
Return to the warming cupboard and allow to prove for a further hour.
Once further doubled in size, remove and knead as previously.
Halve the dough and place on a greased flat baking tray and allow to prove at room temperature for a further hour.
Preheat the oven to 250°C/450F.
Meanwhile at the end of the hour, place the tomatoes, onions, rosemary and cheese on the ciabattas.
Bake for 30 minutes until crusty and it sounds hollow when you knock on it.
Makes great sandwiches, or is a lovely accompaniment to soups or can even be served with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.