The next logical step: ciabatta rolls

Ain't she a beaut? - Slow roasted pork with red cabbage and mustard on homemade ciabatta roll

I’d planned on making a different bread for my second stab, though I did want to return to ciabatta soon to correct my errors.  But then Sunday I got on a bit of a sandwich kick, so we needed to have ciabatta rolls around.

I stuck with the same recipe as before from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, using poolish over biga, except this time I paid much more attention to measuring ingredients, or “scaling” as bakers like to say (I personally hate the term scaling, though I’m not sure why).  My starter, or pre-ferment as a baker would also say, was great and considerably slacker than what I’d made a week ago.  (Turns out I didn’t need more water, I just needed to be a little more careful when I measured my flour.) 

However I must note that the relative humidity yesterday was around 93%, as opposed to the week before which seemed like it was hovering around 0% based on my dry and itchy skin.

Aside from getting the dough to be slacker, I didn’t really know how much dough to use for the rolls.  I’ve made dinner rolls before at 2 ounces apiece, and remembering that they wouldn’t be quite large enough for a sandwich, I opted to weigh the dough out at 3 ounces each (which conveniently gave me 12 rolls – exactly what I need for the week!).

I held the baking principles the same, though I opted to bake the rolls on sheet trays instead of the pizza stone, mostly to save myself time and just to make things easier.

I can’t complain with the results, though it’s a bit of a shame I don’t have a loaf of this week’s ciabatta hanging around seeing as it turned out considerably better than my previous effort.  Oh well, at least I know what I’m doing now.

As for the sandwiches I’ve made for the week or will be making, all the ideas have come from Tom Colicchio’s excellent ‘wichcraft.  We’ve already had the chicken breast with roasted peppers, mozzarella and spinach-basil pesto on sourdough (I had to buy the sourdough seeing as the sandwich urge kicked in before I could get a sourdough starter ready in time); the slow-roasted pork with red cabbage, jalapenos and mustard (pictured above); and will be having (but is a household favorite) red wine-braised flank steak with roasted peppers, onions and Gruyère (also served on ciabatta).

Next up will be Anadama bread at the end of the week.


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