Recipe for a good sized loaf:
4 cups plain flour
2-3 cups warm water
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
Mix the water and yeast in a large bowl. Add the sifted flour and salt to make a thick, but sticky, dough. It shouldn’t be as thick as regular dough but not runny although it’s this stickiness or wetness that creates the telltale chiabatta “holes”. Do not overwork it. Mix until combined and that’s it. Cover with gladwrap and leave for 12 hours. That’s right, 12 hours!
Preheat the oven to around 180c. Turn the dough out onto a floured baking tray (you can use polenta instead of flour). Bake for around 1 hour – the colour should be a really deep golden brown.
You can add anything to the dough before you set it to rise – caraway seeds might be nice.
This is gorgeously chewy and dense chiabatta!
So that was the success story. Now for the disaster.
How could the Australian Women’s Weekly let me down??? I followed their recipe for lamingtons and while they look great (in fact, I reckon they look better than the AWW ones), and they tasted great too, the cake was so thick and dense! Lamingtons should be light… (oh, yes, I MIGHT have forgotten that I didn’t use cornflour – didn’t have any – so maybe it wasn’t the recipe’s fault. Whatever.)