SECRET RECIPE CLUB: RUSTIC CIABATTA AND MINI-MEATLOAVES

FOUR YEARS AS A MEMBER OF THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB!

Rustic Ciabbata with Dates.
It’s that fun time of the month again, Reveal Day of The Secret Recipe Club, a virtual event in which food bloggers are assigned a site in secret, then blog about a chosen recipe at midnight of Reveal Day. In two words: incredibly awesome. But what is more awesome than that is the blog I got this month. I almost passed out from excitement, thrill, and joy. Why? Because my assigned site is one of my favorites in the whole food blogosphere: Karen’s Kitchen Stories. Just to make an analogy, if blogging was like acting, my Secret Acting Club assignment would be Meryl Streep. Yeap, that awesome!   I’ve been reading Karen’s blog forever, I consider her as one of my personal gurus in bread baking. She is the type of baker who is not afraid to push the limits, moving easily from tangzhong type breads to bialys, baguettes, all sorts of rustic sourdoughs, Pullman type loaves, really amazing what she can do with flour, water, salt, and yeast, often wild (the yeast, not her).  At my last count, she’s got 247 bread recipes in her blog. Two hundred and forty-seven. You can collect your chin off the floor now. I bookmarked so many recipes that it was not even funny. Just to give you a small sampling of the breads that tempted me: Cheese and Herb Happy Bread,  Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Rolls , Corn and Jalapeno Rolls (oh, my!), English Muffin Bread (I really need to make this one!), Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread (very interesting method), Kesra Moroccan Flatbread, Hawaiian Style Sweet Rolls (reminds me of my childhood in Brazil), Stuffed Pretzel Bites (O.M.G.!). Of course, that doesn’t include the breads from her site I already made like the delicious Ka’Kat. or Forkish’s Warm Spot Sourdough. But of course there’s a lot more than bread in her blog. For instance, if you like stir-fries, she has a section on Wok Wednesdays that is a must-follow, holding so far 57 entries.  The bottom line is, I had no choice but to make two recipes from her site. A rustic ciabatta, because it would be almost rude not to choose a bread from Karen’s blog, and some mini-meatloaves because they looked so incredibly cute, I could not stop dreaming about them…

Ciabatta Dates Flax2

RUSTIC CIABATTA WITH DATES AND FLAX SEEDS
(from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

for the soaker:
48 grams flaxseeds
72 grams (1/3 C) water
 .
for the poolish:
125 grams unbleached bread flour
125 grams (1/2 C) water
pinch of instant yeast
 .
for the final dough:
278 grams (~1 1/4 C) water
All of the poolish
300 grams unbleached bread flour
50 grams coarsely ground whole wheat flour
25 grams coarsely ground rye flour
10 grams (1 3/4 tsp) salt
2 grams (~ 3/4 tsp) instant yeast
All of the soaker
84 grams dried dates, seeded previously, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
 .
The night before baking day, mix the soaker and poolish in separate bowls. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Leave enough room in the poolish bowl for it to double in size.
.
The next day (about 12 to 16 hours later), measure the 278 grams of water into a large bowl or dough rising bucket. Add the poolish, and mix it into the water with your hand to break it apart. Add the flours, salt, and yeast, and mix the dough with your hands, stirring, pinching, and folding the dough to absorb all of the flour and dissolve the salt and yeast. When you pinch the dough, you should not feel any grit.
.
Once all of the ingredients are combined, mix in the soaker with your hand until evenly distributed. Add the dates, and mix to distribute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot.
.
After 45 minutes, stretch and fold the dough over itself from all four “sides.” Repeat the 45 minute rest followed by a stretch-and-fold two more times (a total of 3 stretch-and-folds).  Let the dough rest for a final 45 minutes, covered, in a warm spot.
.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, and gently nudge it into a rectangle. Be careful not to deflate the dough. Using an oiled bench knife, cut the dough into three equal pieces. Pick each piece up with floured hands and place it on a floured couche or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with the rest of the couche or oiled plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, while you heat the oven to 475 degrees F, and set it up with a steam pan on the lowest rack and a baking stone directly above it. Fill a spray bottle with water.
 .
When the oven is at the correct temperature, transfer the loaves to the baking stone (see notes above, or place the baking sheet with the loaves on it in the oven). Place a cup of boiling water in the steam pan (cover your oven’s window), and spray the oven walls with water. Quickly close the door.  Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. They are done when the internal temperature reaches 200 to 210 degrees F. Cool on a wire rack.
.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here
.

ciabattacollage
.
Comments:
I made this bread in one of those perfect Saturdays!  Why? Because I woke up before 5am feeling super energetic, could hardly wait to get downstairs and play with my ingredients already measured since the evening before.  During the first 45 minutes rise I did a nice P90X yoga while the house was still dark, peaceful and silent…  As in a perfectly timed symphony, just as I finished my exercises, Phil woke up and made me a fantastic cappuccino…. the dogs immediately joined us in welcoming the weekend…Told ya: perfect Saturday!
.
Back to Karen’s ciabatta: the dough was a pleasure to work with, gaining strength at each folding cycle. In the composite photo above, the dough is shown after the last folding cycle, all plump and shiny.  I used whole flaxseeds, Karen used ground, but I followed the exact same method, including the volume of water to make the soaker. You can use whatever type of flaxseeds you have in your pantry.  Most important thing is not to deflate the dough too much as you coach it into the ciabatta shape. The less you mess with it, the better.  You will be rewarded with a ton of holes, a very airy bread, comme il faut.
.
Crumb shot
.

We both loved this bread! The dates offer a burst of sweetness that plays well with the almost sour nature of the dough given by the extended fermentation of the poolish.  Cut a slice, toast it very very lightly, top it with some Gorgonzola and you will have to tie yourself to your seat not to fly away in a magic carpet….   Awesome combo.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 .

And now, for the bonus recipe from Karen’s site…  Adorable meatloaves in individual servings.  Her recipe used beef, I changed it slightly by using ground turkey.

miniloaves served11
.
INDIVIDUAL MEATLOAVES WITH CHILI SAUCE

(adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)
.
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1/3 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup boiling water
1 pound 85% lean ground turkey
1/4 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup jarred chili sauce, such as Heinz
 .
Spray a half sheet pan with spray oil and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the shallot, celery, parsley, and bacon several times until well chopped.  In a large bowl, combine the oats and boiling water and stir. Add the mixture from the food processor and combine.
 .
Break up the ground turkey and pork and add them to the large bowl. Whisk the eggs and add them to the meat and oat mixture. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the chili sauce to the meat mixture. Mix with your hands until everything is well mixed.
 .
Divide the mixture into four equal parts and shape each into a small loaf, placing them onto the baking sheet. Take 1/2 cup of the chili sauce, and brush it over the four loaves.  Bake the loaves on the center rack for about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the loaves with the rest (1/4 cup) of the chili sauce. Turn on the broiler, and place the pan back on the center rack. Broil for about 5 minutes, until the chili sauce just begins to brown.
.
ENJOY!
.

to print the recipe, click here

 .

PicMonkey Collage11

.
These meatloaves were sooooo good!  The chili sauce is a must, do not skip it. They turned out moist, flavorful, spicy but not overly so. I served them with sweet potato noodles that were recently published in my guest post over at Foodbod. The recipe made 3 loaves and we enjoyed them for dinner, then I had leftovers for my lunch a couple of days in a row. Heaven. Just heaven. If I may make a public confession, I had some slices straight from the fridge. Cold. Yeah, standing up, with a Jack Russell staring at me wondering how long it would take for Newton’s Law of Gravity to work its magic in his favor. HA!  Not a chance!

Karen, I hope you enjoyed your assignment this month. It goes without saying that I spent the past 4  weeks anticipating this Reveal Day, anxious to share the recipes I made from your blog. For my readers, if you don’t yet know Karen’s Kitchen Stories, stop right now and go pay her a visit.  Not only she is a great baker and cook, but a very cool person with great sense of humor and wit.  Plus, she is the Grandma of two beautiful boys, and lucky to live very close to them, so it’s easier for her to spoil them rotten.  I intend to follow her footsteps and do my best to spoil Greenlee at every chance I get…   Maybe one day I can teach Greenlee to bake a chocolate cake for her Dad too. Oops, did I just use “teach” and “bake a cake” in the same sentence?  Excuse me while I go grab a thermometer. I might be running a very high fever… (sigh)

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Rice

TWO YEARS AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches

THREE YEARS AGO: Beetroot Sourdough for the Holidays

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust

FIVE YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy

SIX YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread

35 thoughts on “SECRET RECIPE CLUB: RUSTIC CIABATTA AND MINI-MEATLOAVES

  1. OMG Sally. I am crying. Tears of happiness because I am so touched by this. I don’t even know what to say. I will say that I’m doing a happy dance because I remember you said the same thing when I had your blog and did the Tartine bread. Yes, I do remember my dear friend.

    So that I don’t get too emotional, let’s talk grandkids. This weekend, when I was taking my 7 year old grandson to the outhouse to poop during his brother’s soccer game, he told me how impressed he was with my ability to walk faster than he does.

    Okay… I’m now composed. And… you are the sweetest ever!

    Like

    • Oh, that is wonderful! After a few days of Greenlee full time, I am so happy, and feeling on top of the Grandma world! Well, I’ve been just counting the weeks, days, hours, and minutes to see this post go live…

      could hardly wait!

      so glad you enjoyed the post… I actually wanted to make three recipes (the third would be the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies you posted not too long ago), but I did not have a chance to go for it… oh, well

      Have a WONDERFUL Reveal Day, Karen!!!!

      Like

  2. Wow! Beautiful dough, beautiful crumb. You are the ciabatta queen, Sally! And I like the idea of using turkey in the meat loaves. A great recipe for when you have a bunch of house guests to feed at holiday time! I also love the description of your peaceful Saturday morning (a recipe for well-being)…

    Like

    • Poolish is just an overnight mixture of a little commercial yeast with water and flour – it is easier for anyone to make, since you can just mix the ingredients. Wild yeast needs to be made and taken care of for a couple of weeks before you can use it and then refreshed often – a lot more work, and usually a much slower fermentation – however, the complexity of flavor you get from wild yeast is hard to beat 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I’m super impressed that you made ciabatta bread and that Karen has 247 bread recipes on her blog! Your bread looks perfect (not that I’m a good judge as I’m not a bread maker) and adding dates sounds like a fabulous idea.

    Congrats on 4 years in the club! That’s pretty exciting! You’ve been such an excellent contributor and it’s been great to get to know you and learn about your kitchen skills! 🙂

    Like

  4. SNAP! I have been a member of SRC for four years too and I want to let you know, I HAD your blog this month and U hope you like what I made! This bread of Karen’s looks DIVINE! What a great SRC pick! 🙂 Karen

    Like

  5. Just stopping in from group C to say this bread looks great. I love bread as well and I know I’ll have to check out Karen’s blog for all of her great bread recipes. I just clicked on the link for her Tangzhong bread and it looks so good.

    Wonderful looking flax seed loaves. I’ll have to try this next time.

    Like

  6. What an awesome SRC post! This is exactly why I love the SRC community so much – look at the love and excitement and happiness in this post! And it goes without saying that that ciabatta looks amazing, as do those mini meatloaves. Perfect choices for this month’s SRC!

    Like

    • Well, you said it all – to me, the SRC is a fantastic virtual event, in which great bonds are formed… you know, I will switch groups soon, but I guess after 4 years it will be nice to interact with another group of food bloggers – the bonds made in group D will not change!

      Like

  7. I’ve been thinking of you soaking up little Greenlee! I know you’ve been so excited to get out there. I hope you have had an amazing visit (how could you not with those big sweet eyes of hers!). And your perfect Saturday sounds absolutely wonderful. I love when weekend mornings present themselves so perfectly. Those days are meant to be savored! Your ciabatta looks AMAZING! I bet it tasted fantasic. And those little meatloaves are adorable. I haven’t had meatloaf in ages.

    Like

    • Just said our goodbyes… last evening together, tomorrow 5am we drive to the airport and start the long journey back home… well, not that long, but pretty much the whole day

      So glad we could come and see the little Princess up close and personal…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree, that is the perfect Saturday. How do you time it so well? (especially the cappuccino). Loving these two recipes from Meryl (I mean Karen!) surpassed only by her grandson poop story in the comment section. She’s my kind of gal 😉 .

    Like

    • Well, I know that the husband wakes up at 6am no matter what – if he realizes I am not in the bedroom, he jumps off the bed and gets ready to make a coffee… what can I say? I am lucky… 😉

      Like

    • I absolutely love a Saturday that involves nice baking and exercises – they complement each other well, don’t you think? And there’s just something about a yoga session in total silence… cannot beat that!

      Like

  9. Jackpot! Yes, you may feel like you’ve won the lottery but we are the ones with whom you’ve shared the winnings. We got 2 new recipes and I learned of a new, fantastic blog. I cannot remember when I’ve seen a ciabatta loaf with a crumb so nice. I need to get my starter going and start playing. Winter is fast approaching and there’s no better time to play around with bread dough. Thanks for the inspiration, Sally.

    Like

  10. I don’t know how I missed this but life has been a struggle lately. I love meatloaf and that bread is to die for. I’m off to meet Karen now! 🙂

    Like

Click here to comment, love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s