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Cheesy Ciabatta Bread

Actually, I wanted to call this “Cheesy Artisan Perfect Crust Chewy Everything-That-Is-Good-In-This-World Ciabatta Style Bread” but the title was a bit overkill. It IS all those things though. And more. When you haven’t had a proper piece of chewy, crusty, awesome bread in over a year, the first time you do it can be life changing. I discovered it last June with Against The Grain Baguettes. A bread that tastes like bread? The texture comes from… CHEESE? I started keeping them on hands at all times.

Then I moved and my regular Whole Foods no longer carried the baguette. Talk about a tragedy – Population ME! They usually have the rolls, but not always. The bagels are fine – but so are the ones I make! Plus, the price tag is a little high. (Not that I care… for the perfect sandwich, rent can wait).

I had read the ingredients list over and over again, and began reading up on some yeast free breads. Maybe these could be recreated? Guess what… they can. At a fraction of the price, with so few ingredients it’s a little ridiculous.

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This is it.  Even fewer ingredients than the original.  If you’re going to get in to gluten free baking, tapioca flour is going to be one of your best friends.  It’s a great texture and weight, making a fantastic wheat substitute.  In this recipe notice we don’t even need a binding agent like xanthan gum? That’s the beauty of our cheeeessseeeee!

Start by cracking 2 Eggs in a bowl and adding about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of Sea Salt. This is definitely to your individual taste, but the flour doesn’t carry any of its own flavor so you’ll have to add something. Maybe a flavored cheese? Ohhhh. I digress.

I love salty stuff. I use the full 1/2. Blend these together gently so it can be added to your dry(ish) ingredients in a moment.

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In a larger bowl, add in your salty egg mixture to 2 cups finely shredded mozzarella.

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Blend gently until it looks like this!

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Sift together:

  • 1 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1 T Baking Powder

And toss it in to your cheese mixture.  Now, in my prior wheat-filled life, and even in my experiences attempting fresh gluten free pasta, I’ve enlisted the help of the food processor.  For pizza dough, I’ve always use the dough hook in my stand mixer.  Why I haven’t used any of the machinery at my disposal in my attempts at this recipe? I’m not really sure.  Feel free to give it a shot. Tell me how it goes. I cannot attest to how it will affect the dough though, and I’m now so anxious to get the finished product out I don’t want to do ANYTHING that could trip me up and ruin it.  Perhaps I’m being dramatic.  I’m still not changing – it feels good to use some old school muscle in cooking every now and then.

 Now, depending on how dry your cheese is, your dough may still look crumbly at this point.  If you used fresher cheese, you’re probably fine. If it was pre-shredded, it probably lost too much moisture.  Here’s where you can bring in the help of 2 T of Milk.  This won’t be necessary every time.  Let the look and feel determine what to do.

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As you saw earlier, I used pre-shredded cheese.  I needed the milk.

If it already looks like this.

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You don’t need any milk.  If it still looks like eggy-cheese, you may have used very large eggs.  Toss in some more tapioca flour.

Turn your now stuck-together awesome bread dough out on to a tapioca floured counter.

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Knead it gently until it begins to feel smooth and blended.  Since there is no ‘gum’ used in this recipe, it will still be fragile.  You won’t be able to really dig in to it like you would with traditional hand-kneaded bread recipes.  Just work it until it’s smooth, and then form it in to a log.

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Cut your log in to what are about to become the best thing in your life since you gave up sliced bread! Haha! (sorry.)

Place each disk a couple inches apart.  I continued to hand form them a bit to get them as uniform as possible.  At this point it would also be awesome to add some rosemary, olive oil, basil, spices, etc. to the top.  I haven’t done this yet, but believe you me it’s happening soon.

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Send them to the oven at 400 for about 15-20 minutes.

**Now, just as a heads up – I have no idea if my oven temperature is accurate.  Keep an eye on yours and take them out as the bottoms and edges brown and they poof up like a pretty little biscuit.  I can’t be held responsible for burnt bread; I have enough discarded charcoal on my hands.**

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Oh they’re just such a happy discovery every time they come out of the oven perfectly.  These are the perfect size for a sandwich, or a roll as a dinner side.

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Or just to eat…dipped in olive oil…with brie…and a glass of red wine.

THE FACTS:

Calories: 296  —  Carbs: 29g  —  Fat: 12g  —  Protein: 19g  —  Fiber: 0g

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Herbed Biscuits | the natural ginger

  2. Erin says

    Is the cookie sheet supposed to be greased or ungreased? I’m so excited to get these in the oven! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

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    • Hi Erin! I use a non stick cookie sheet – or even muffin tin – without much issue. If you don’t have a nonstick pan, greasing with a little olive oil would probably make life much easier. Good luck!

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  3. Erin says

    Thank you very much for your quick response and suggestions! I’ll try olive oil on half and parchment on half and report back….
    ….(15 mins later)… Amazing!!!! I had to use a half cup of cheddar as I didn’t have quite enough mozzarella on hand and it is a nice flavor blend! These are incredible, my new favorite staple! I will be making these at least weekly haha!
    -Much thanks natural ginger! Love from a natural blonde 🙂

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