Saturday, October 29, 2011

Behold the Canyon Creek Farms chili dog!

Chili dog with cheese and onions on a homemade ciabatta roll.

As you know, I've been working hard this year learning to make artisan-type breads, mostly the naturally leavened kind made with sourdough starters. One of the interesting breads I've been making lately is the Italian ciabatta. It's a challenging dough to work with as it's very wet: the baker's percentage is 85% hydration. After it's risen it literally pours onto your board for shaping; it's almost the consistency of pancake batter. The first time I made it I could hardly believe it was going to turn into something edible in the oven.

I first looked up this recipe (in Daniel Leader's book Local Breads) when my husband David asked me if I could make some hot dog buns. He had bought a package of kosher buns at a local natural foods store, and by the day after he brought them home, they were already visibly moldy. So on the spur of the moment, I thumbed through Local Breads and found the recipe for ciabatta rolls and decided to try it.

The soft, wet dough baked up, in 20 minutes or so, into lovely soft, moist, slightly chewy, open-textured buns. David likes Hempler's uncured hot dogs (no nitrates), which are pretty enormous, and I sized the buns to fit them. The really great thing, though, was that even when we piled on the homemade chili, grated cheddar cheese and onions, the buns didn't fall apart. This might have been the first time I ever ate a chili dog without having to resort to using a fork (or even a spoon). Oh man, was that ever good.

I've made these ciabatta rolls several times now, and they've been consistently delicious. And, kept in a Ziploc bag once they're cool, they stay fresh for 3 days (not that they last that long around here). 

I really do love baking bread, and David, who's very particular about bread being fresh, appreciates not paying premium prices for bread that's practically stale. I'm steadily working my way through pretty much the whole Local Breads book, so stay tuned for more of my baking adventures!


  1. Excuse me for swearing the first time I visit your blog, but HOLY SHIT THAT LOOKS DELICIOUS. Do you think you could smash it into your laptop keyboard and it might fit through the Internet tubes and come out in my mouth in New Zealand?

    Just a thought.

    And: How 'bout that ciabatta recipe? Share the wonder!

  2. If wishing made it so... Oh man, I'm telling you, it was so fabulous! Not that the photo does it justice. I'm not at home right now (where my bread books are) but as soon as I can I'll post the recipe. Actually someone else just asked me about ciabatta rolls the other day; I'd never had ciabatta before the first time I made it, but it's an authentic Italian recipe so as far as I'm concerned it's the real thing. Thanks for your interest! (BTW, I'm enjoying your tweets!)

  3. I see that you are credited with a picture of a midget White turkey in the current Backyard Poultry magazine. Do you keep Midget Whites? We are off grid (for 33 years) in East Oregon and are looking to add poultry to our homestead.sorry to be "anonymous',don't have other option. lance dot b at centurytel dot net

  4. We do breed Midget Whites but we won't have any to sell until sometime next year; a cougar wiped out our breeding hens last spring and we're in the process of rebuilding the flock. I'll be posting updates on my other blog ( Feel free to keep in touch, ask questions, etc.

  5. Thanks for the reply. I am looking to raise heritage poultry for the obvious reasons after I retire in 2014. I plan to build coops and runs that summer and start, probably with ducks, the following spring. I figure it will take significant infrastructure as we are at 4800 feet and it gets pretty cold here, sometimes with lots of snow, and we can't use any electric heating (we don't even have a generator). Also lots of predators, like you, we have cougars and goshawks which sometimes nest right here. Fun to watch, and sometimes they hang around and watch me work. Lance