Back when I first started baking bread, I had the idea of forging an unholy union between a stromboli and a ciabatta. The dream of creating the perfect bread roll in one inspired me figure it out step by step, and in true martial artist fashion, I went on my own breadmaking musha shugyo
There is a lot of truth in the saying that the journey is much more fun than the destination and that’s very much the case. Having made this bread chimaera, I realised that the monster I made just didn’t taste as nice as I thought.
To achieve this, I followed my recipe for ciabatta till I had the dough in strips, then spread some pesto, parma ham, mozzarella and sunblushed tomatoes onto the middle of the strip. The strip was then folded by thirds as per the recipe and baked.
What happens in the oven is that the parma ham then cooks, and it loses a lot of its smoky, earthy flavour when it comes out of the oven. The mozzarella on the other hand melts but by the time the ciabatta is cool enough to eat, the cheese has cooled down too and gone a little bit rubbery. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as a straight ciabatta with all the above ingredients on it, fresh.
You learn a lot from your baking successes, but sometimes you learn even more from the failures. Whilst it’s not been a total failure, the bread roll was still quite palatable, it’s been quite an interesting quest. I’ve learnt how to make foccacia, then ciabatta, and I’ve also made a real stromboli to see how it’d all work in practise. I’ve found Richard Bertinet and his slam/fold/scoop method for working wet doughs that has saved me the cost of a KitchenAid.