One-Minute Ciabatta

No-knead and easy-make breads are all the rage these days on food blogs.  I don’t usually make bread.  I don’t give myself the time and have never seemed to buy the hype of these easy ones on the food blogs.  Then, a perfect storm of sorts convinced me I should take the plunge.

We were getting ready to make pasta last week and decided to try to figure out the Czech types of flour.  Mrs. NH bought a bag of what was supposed to be the Czech version of “all-purpose.”  As a matter of fact, out little photocopied grocery store guide said it was perfect for “making pasta.”  Home run, we thought.  We were way wrong.  The flour was a hard wheat flour that was the consistency of corn meal or cream of wheat.  We put it on a shelf and forgot about it until I saw this recipe.

Coincidentally, we  had a 1/2 a block of cake yeast left over from some pizza dough we had made that needed a home.  Bingo.  I had 10 free minutes this morning and made the batter.  At the very least, I thought, the flour will be out of the house – either in my belly or the trash.  So, I gave it a shot.

As you can see, it turned out alright.  It’s not ciabatta by any means, it’s way too dense.  However, it is pretty good slathered with butter.  Interestingly, though, it didn’t get brown on the outside.  The picture actually makes it look browner than it is.  Any master bread makers out there want to venture a guess where I went wrong?  Is there an English name for the flour I used?

Will I make it again?  I doubt it.  But for less than 10 minutes of active cooking time, and with the right type of flour, I might reconsider.  Oh, and I promise I’ll soon post a picture of something that isn’t brown…

I’ve Gone Crackers

I just made 2 batches (4 cookie sheets full) of crackers.  One batch of rosemary olive oil and one batch of cream Parmesan.  (The proportions of liquid to flour are the same in both recipes.  I put 2 hand fulls of Parmesan in the cheese batch.)


1) It was on the Mark Bittman blog, 2) My daughter has a milk allergy, 3) good crackers are $4.50 a box over here, 4) there are very few good crackers in this country anyway and 5) hell, it’s Friday night and it beats having a gambling addiction.

I’m pretty pleased with them all in all.  The batches cooked a little differently because of the ingredients.  The olive oil batch crisped up better and I had to throw the cream and Parmesan batch in after they were broken up for a quick crisping.  The rosemary batch tastes like “pita chips” that we always hoard on our trips to Greece.  The cream and Parma batch taste like White Cheese Cheez-Its.  Not bad for a first try.  Having the option to keep dairy out is also a boon for the belly of my little soon-to-be-two-year-old.

OK, going to make some lamb chops now.  The U2 catalogue is in heavy rotation and the Chilean red wine is, uh, open.