As you know, I love baking bread and having recently discovered that I am lactose intolerant, that’s a great thing. Not many people know this, but lactose is not only found in milk and dairy products. Lactose is used as a preservative for cold meats like ham and salami for example, and it is often used in baking bread too. So, I find it easier to just bake my own. My go-to recipe is my basic quick Ciabatta bread (I love it), so I thought of jazzing it up and making it more festive by adding walnuts to it. The result was impressive, so I thought I should share it with you! This is a very easy recipe that even “non-bakers” can successfully make. It is also very fast to make and you will have amazing home-made bread in just 2 hours! Enjoy!
Walnut Ciabatta Bread
How to make fantastic Walnut Ciabatta Bread in just 2 hours! Why buy it when you can bake it?
- 700 gms – 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 520 gms water – 2 ¼ cups lukewarm
- 7 gms – 2 ½ tsp dry yeast
- 17 gms – 3 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp honey
- 140 gms – 5 oz. Walnuts quartered
Dissolve the yeast and honey in the water. Mix well and let it activate for 5 minutes or until frothy.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add ¾ of the flour and salt. Mix and add the yeast and water mixture.
Whisk well, then add the remaining flour and whisk until just combined (you can do all the whisking by hand as well, without using an electric mixer).
Add the walnuts and mix to combine.
Cover and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Sprinkle a little water on the bench top. Place 4 pieces of plastic wrap on the wet bench top and sprinkle some flour onto them.
Put 1/4 of the dough on each piece of plastic wrap
Punch down the dough and mold each piece of dough into a ciabatta shape without tugging it too much or it will gain too much strength. Make sure your dough is not very thick (about 2.5 cm – 1 inch thick is ideal).
Pick up one piece of plastic wrap and flip it over a baking tray lined with baking paper to drop a ciabatta so that the side covered in flour faces upwards.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C – 390°F for 30 – 35 minutes. Put a small pot of hot water in the oven to maintain a high level of humidity for the first 15 minutes, then remove it and bake for the remaining 15 – 20 minutes.
When ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool down on a wire rack.
This bread freezes very well. I usually make a double batch and freeze it in Ziploc bags as soon as it cools down to room temperature. When you want to eat it, thaw it at room temperature and put it back in a hot oven for 5 minutes, or until the crust is crunchy again. It will be exactly the same as when you first baked it!