Sourdough ciabatta

There is nothing quite as satisfying as baking bread by hand (fortunately, my family loves bread, in particular, my focaccia). You can find my recipe for a very simple focaccia here.

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But today I am going to give you my recipe of sourdough ciabatta.  It’s rather different in taste and also in methodology. I prefer the ciabatta, actually, because it’s chewy with that sourdough taste which I love.  It’s just sooooo good!

But warning, don’t attempt this if you get freaked out by sticky dough….it difficult to wash off!

First, you have to make the biga, the starter.


  • 1/4 teaspoon, dry yeast, but make sure that it is still alive, which means it should get frothy after standing in warm water;
  • 1/4 cup warm water;
  • 3/4 cup water at room temperature;
  • 350g unbleached all-purpose flour.

DIRECTIONS for the biga

Mix the yeast in the warm water and let it stand for about 10-15 minutes. It should get frothy and creamy.

Stir in the flour and the remaining water into the yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon and stir for about 5 minutes until a sticky dough forms.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 24 hours (and more!).


  • 500g biga (what you made above yields that);
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast;
  • 5 tablespoons warm milk;
  • 1 cup water at room temperature;
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt


DIRECTIONS for the ciabatta

Mix the yeast and milk together, and let the mixture stand for about 10-15 minutes.

When it is frothy and creamy, mix it with the biga, oil and water.

Add the flour and the salt.  Knead in the mixing bowl. Note: the dough will be sticky, but DO NOT add more flour. Then knead in a floured surface for a few minutes.

Put in an oiled bowl, cover with a warm towel and let it rise for 1 hour 30 minutes or thereabouts.

Then knead again until the dough is elastic (it’s OK if it is still a bit sticky).

Divide into four, knead again and let it rise for another 1 hour 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350degrees.

Pull dough into rectangular shapes (shown below).


Bake in a heavy baking try lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 30 minutes, opening the door after 10 minutes to spray the oven with cold water. Do this a couple of times.

You may wish to add chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes and/or pesto to make a really delicious Italian bread.

Three Super-Fast, Super-Nutritious Food (in less than 10 minutes)

Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend that much time in the kitchen. What I do is I have sessions where I put my favourite music on loud and spend a couple of hours every few days stocking up my kitchen with the lovely basics that I can easily use to whip up super-fast, super-nutritious food on my lazy days (more time for the beach).

From my post a couple of days ago, Offerings From My Kitchen Today, I made the following ‘instant’ meals:

Instant noodles without the additives and preservatives


Apart from being nutritionally bankrupt, the much-loved instant noodles are actually very bad for you. Aside from its high sodium content, a typical packet is also full of acid regulators, flavour enhancers, thickeners, humectants, colours, stabilizers, anti-oxidants, emulsifiers, flour treatment agents, preservatives and anti-caking agents. Sure, they are convenient and tasty (addictive because of the flavourings), but do you really want to put all these chemicals into your body?

The soup of this version is made from the rich vegetable broth. If you are a non-vegetarian, bone broth would be an excellent base too. I made the broth a couple of days ago and stored it in the refrigerator until this afternoon.

To put this instant noodle dish together, I simply boiled spaghetti according to packet instruction. I used spaghetti instead of instant noodles, because instant noodles are coated with wax to prevent the noodles from sticking together. This can be seen when hot water is added to the noodles. After some time the wax can be seen floating in the water. It is just not worth it.

To serve, garnish the cooked spaghetti with tomatoes, lightly blanched veggies and sprouts (I used sprouted sunflower seeds and alfafa), and ladle the broth over. Shredded cooked chicken or slices of beef if you prefer not to go 100% vegetarian are good additions. Drizzle with sesame oil and Braggs for a more Asian taste. You get a lot of goodness from the broth, the veggies and the sprouted seeds, and it is as quick to prepare and tastes even better the unhealthy version.


Rainbow curry

curry and rice

From my tray of rainbow veggies, I made a Thai yellow curry using (OK, I cheated) curry paste. If you are buying curry paste, check the label and opt for the ones with the least evils. I bought mine from the market.

I served the curry with wild rice and topped it with chia seeds, flax seeds and toasted cashews. Wild rice is nutritionally superior to processed and polished white rice. It has up to 30 times more antioxidants than white rice, has a high fibre content and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Topped with nuts and seeds, it is power-packed food!


Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted vegetables


I made the tomatoes in my dehydrator a couple of days ago. If you do not have a dehydrator, you could use a fan oven at its lowest setting. I then left the tomatoes on my balcony for the sun to dry them for a few hours – as I live near the sea in an unpolluted part of the island, these last few hours of au naturel drying gives the tomatoes a lovely, lightly salted taste. They can be stored in a sterile jar, covered in olive oil, in the refrigerator for weeks.

I made the red pesto sauce to mix this pasta in by blitzing together the following ingredients:

1 garlic clove

Pinch of sea salt

25g pine nuts

250g semi-dried tomatoes

1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped

Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley

125ml extra-virgin olive oil

25g Parmesan, finely grated

I added lots of roasted veggies (courgette, aubergine, onion, capsicum) and fresh basil leaves to the pasta and stirred the pesto in. The key thing is to ensure that proportionally, there is less pasta than veggies.

The beauty of this dish is, it can either be served cold as a salad or baked with grated cheese as a hot dinner.


Trail Mix

trail mix

I bagged up the dried apple and pineapple slices that I put in the dehydrator and mixed those with a couple of handfuls of mixed nuts. This baggie delivers a punch of energy during break, and it is also my excuse to tell her that I love her, big smile.