My ciabatta is off, and no, that’s not a medical euphemism. I realize my recipe for no-knead undead ciabatta on the bread page was coming out too dry. Think, Uncle F$#k-Up! The hydration is supposed to be 100%. This means the weight of the water should be 100% the weight of the flour. If the last neuron left in your hollow coconut skull is sparking and sputtering, this means they should weigh the same. The only reason it took me this long to figure it out is because the last neuron in my skull left a few months ago to “get a sixpack and some lotto tickets”. It hasn’t come back yet.
If you follow the updated directions for the ciabatta, it should look like this:
I was ciabattizing this weekend to make some bruschetta for the annual neighborhood barbecue. Some friends at the cul-de-sac down the street set up a bunch of barbecues, stock big plastic tubs with ice and beer refreshments, and the neighborhood children race around on bikes, scooter, and trikes like Yakuza street toughs on Kawasakis. I’m amazed nobody got their head run over. For her part, Toddler Harbat climbed onto her chrome trike and cruised through the melee with the nonchalant half-lidded affect of a queen trying to ignore the cabbage-hurling rabble outside her carriage. Then she joined in by inhaling carbs and sugar and running around screaming.
The fire department brought by one of their rigs, a gleaming red and gold beauty with every geegaw and doohickey known to man. I swear every square inch of that truck had a panel on hydraulic arms that revealed carefully stowed emergency gear of some kind. I’m not saying I want any buildings to catch fire, but it’s good to know these folks are ready. They hooked up a hose and nozzle and flooded the neighbor’s lawn for twenty minutes, instantly attracting a long cue of hyperactive children waiting for a turn at Ole Sprayey. Well, that’s what I call it.
Much of the weekend was spent sweating, and not in a good way. We’ve been hit with a Santa Ana here in San Diego, which is less Dame Julie Andrews in a starched habit and more a hot desert wind that sucks the moisture out of your body. It hit a hundred yesterday and is promising to be higher today. Which is of course why I baked a bunch of bread yesterday and have plans to do more tonight. Nothing says The First Days of Autumn like being stripped to the waist beside a roaring oven while plants outside wilt and shrivel like the Wicked Witch of the West.