Well, this has been an unbelievable winter so far in Colorado as in many areas across the country.
I don’t recall seeing such drastic temperature shifts and heavy snow fall ever. Today we had a high of -2 degrees with a predicted 50 degrees next week.
Needless to say, for winter sports enthusiasts it has been a season of epic proportions. We took a quick trip up to Vail and, while it was cold, the sun was shining, the sky a brilliant blue with the most gorgeous views that seemed to go on forever.
Next week, a houseful of guests will arrive to play with us in the mountains over President’s weekend so I am beginning the process of baking and freezing some goodies.
I want to be out having fun with everybody, not spending too much time in the kitchen so if I make croissants, English muffins and cinnamon buns before hand, when everybody is here, all I have to do is pull an assortment of baked goods out of the freezer in the morning, warm them in the oven and everyone can help themselves to a tasty treat while sipping one of Ric’s killer lattes or hot chocolates.
For afternoon sandwiches I have made some Parmesan and herb Ciabatta rolls. Chewy and hearty, they are perfect to stuff with cheeses or sliced meats.
|Parmesan & Herb Ciabatta - sponge|
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- Mix all of the ingredients until well blended.
- Cover the bowl with plastic or foil, and let rest at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, until the mixture is very bubbly.
|Parmesan & Herb Ciabatta - dough|
- Sponge (from above)
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ - 1 cup water
- 1¾ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine, plus ½ cup for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence (or another kind of dried or fresh herb)
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- Place the sponge in a mixing bowl along with the cheese, herbs and remaining dry ingredients, using an electric mixer set on slow speed with a dough hook, mix the dough and slowly add the water.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough will be soft and slightly tacky. Add additional water or flour if necessary.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2 to 2½ hours, until very puffy.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into a 6 x 15 inch rectangle.
- Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough in half lengthwise and then across every 3 inches so you have 10 rolls.
- Place the rolls onto a floured towel or parchment paper and cover lightly. Let the rolls rise for about 1 to 1½ hours or until they have almost doubled in size.
- Place a baking stone in the top third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Sprinkle the rolls with the remaining ½ cup of grated Parmesan and with some fresh ground cracked black pepper.
- Place the rolls directly on the hot stone or baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until they are a light golden brown (they may take longer if you are using a baking sheet).
- Remove the rolls from the oven and cool on a rack.