Who likes a good Ciabatta Bread? A good Italian Ciabatta bread is chewy exterior and soft crumb speckled with air holes. Is made in a way that you can almost eat on its own.
This is how I feel since I worked at Bakery 164 in Leeds, near the Leeds University.
I have good memories from this place. In my time served here, I had the pleasure to meet great people, with a mix ranging from Cypriots, Greeks, Brazilians, Iranians and many others. I had a great time. It was just a decade ago. I still have to go back, have a sandwich and get to see Richard and his team. Many of you who have ever been to Leeds University, may already know, where it is. For who hasn’t been, it is just the opposite side, at the well known “the steps”.
The bases of the sandwich is Italian Ciabatta bread, some are plain, some are with bits of olives (Black kalamatas, simply the best), roasted red onions or fresh rosemary leaves.
The Chicken Thai sweet chilli choice is my favourite, my husband loves the BLT, which is not just a simple BLT, it has Brie cheese with caramelised onions, the combination is just delicious.
There are other choices in chicken with chilli variations and different than the ordinary sandwiches in town.
So the next time you are around Leeds, specially around Leeds University area, just at the opposite side of “The steps” you will see Bakery 164 in it’s unmistakable Red and Yellow shiny colour. At lunch time you can see a queue full of hungry happy people waiting to be served. It has a quick pace service, so don’t be alarmed with it, Trust me, it well worth the wait.
I mentioned above having the pleasure to work with the 2003-2006 team, here are some of the memories we had while preparing the sandwiches, we had fun and loved what we were doing. In my recent visit, met Richard, we talked about the great time and the people that has passed by. We had a cappuccino while having an exclusive insight of the speciality of the day – “Vitello Alla Napoletana”.
I had the honour of getting my hands on the bread recipe, but before you ask, I can’t share the secret of the delicious ciabatta bread they bake there, this image below is how far I am allowed to go.
I had several attempts this week at home, combining Richard’s tips and my experiences, I want to share with you the recipe of how I made it. Let me know if you try and what was the results.
So, let’s put a face on this bread we keep talking about. Here a sample with mixed herbs.
Italian Ciabatta BreadInspired By Bakery 164
Makes aprox. 4 loafs
- 500g Strong White Flour + extra for dusting
- 7g Dried Yeast
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tsp of salt
- 50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil + plus extra for brushing
- In a large bowl put the flour with the salt and mix together.
- Then mix the yeast with the lukewarm water with the olive oil, stir well then pour the mixture on top of the flour.
- Mix well until is fully combined. I mix by hand for approximately 10 minutes.
- Brush the inside of another bowl with olive oil, place the dough and brush the dough as well with olive oil.
- Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave to rise in a warm place, away from draughts for 2 hours until it doubles the size.
- You will notice a light dough with loads of air bubbles inside.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and sprinkle a little flour on top. Gently press down with your fingers and divide into four equal strips. Fold one side of your flattened dough into the middle, then bring the other side over to the middle and press down to seal. Finnally, fold in half lengthways and seal the edges to create a long shape.
- Flour a baking tray, place each dough for each tray, then cover with cling-film and leave to rest in a warm place away from draughts for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/425F/Gas 7.
- Spray the inside of the oven with water. The Italians bread makers claim to make the difference in the quality of the bread. Bake the bread in the middle for 20-25 minutes until is golden gorgeous colour.