Coping Ciabatta

Monday’s …blah. Today I’m blessed with the sound of cement saws and jack hammers. Our year-old garage floor in our year-old new house is being replaced. Within weeks of moving in the garage floor began splitting and cracking. It was basically one large jigsaw puzzle piece. I’m very grateful they are replacing it, but the noise is awful. Nothing grates on your nerves more than the sound of a jack hammer. Especially at 8 am. Let me be honest, I am not a morning person. Which I’m sure my family would say is a gross understatement. I don’t’ think I wake up until after coffee cup number two and at least 10 am. Mornings have always been a struggle for me. Now with the addition of new medications I am really groggy and grumpy. It takes forever to shake off the night meds. Catch me at 11 pm and I’m delightful. But 7 am …run away, just run away people. Today started with concrete saws at 8 am. It’s now 1:30 pm and they have started the jack hammer. I’ve put on headphones with music playing to help drown out the noise. Music almost always helps calm me down or lessen agitation/irritation. It’s a coping tool I simply cannot be without.

I have a list of things I’ve put together that help me to cope with difficult mood shifts, or overwhelming situations. I’ve put together a “Chill Bag” ready to access when I need some mood help. I have a book I enjoy reading over and over, colored pencils and markers, a coloring book with geometric patterns, a word find book, fireball candy, and headphones. When I know I’m going somewhere that may be stressful I pack this bag along with me. When my mom was going through chemotherapy, or was in the hospital, the bag traveled with me. If I know I’m going to be in any overwhelming situation, along goes the bag. Emotion regulation isn’t always something I can get a grip on and these tools have helped. I also have a playlist of my favorite songs on my phone, and a collection of my favorite movies ready to go anytime. I’ve watched the movie “Young Frankenstein” so many times I have all the lines memorized. This movie ALWAYS makes me smile. It doesn’t matter how far into a depressive mood I am, or how agitated or overwhelmed I feel.  The movie makes me happy and chill, at least for the duration of the film. 

When panic and anxiety attacks were a daily occurrence the hot Fireball candy helped to distract my brain. The music and coloring produce calm. They provide a distraction that helps me to slow down. Both the music and the coloring are very calming. The right kind of music help my brain slow down when I am struggling with racing thoughts. Or help me calm down when I get angry or over anxious. Of course, the wrong music can irritate or agitate me more. Sorry country and jazz music. Water can also a beneficial tool.  I will soak in the tub or take a hot shower if I feel things getting a little wobbly. And now I have baking on my coping skills list. Is there anything better than the smell of fresh bread and your favorite tunes or movie playing? I made ciabatta, listened to my favorite playlist of tunes, and watched the hummingbirds at my bird feeder this afternoon. The concrete workers didn’t disappear, but they became background noise instead of a forefront annoyance.  Turns out, that just was enough to help me get through the afternoon.   Happy Baking 🙂

Ciabatta

Makes two long loaves or 8 small rolls/bake at 425 F for 20- 25 min

I let the ciabatta dough rise to the top of the plastic containers. The longer the rise the better the bread. The picture shows a double batch. We use these for sandwich bread so I cut dough into 8 small buns. The size you cut dough into will change the amount of time they bake so keep your eye on them. They are done when golden brown and hollow on bottom. The two metal scrappers are very helpful in handling this wet dough. I use the scrappers to roll, cut, and move the wet dough. Handle the risen dough very gently, keeping as much air in the dough as possible.

Ingredients

  • 500 g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 40 ml oil (2 Tablespoons plus 2 Tsp)
  • 400 ml cool water
  • Fine semolina for dusting

Directions

1.Lightly oil a 2-3-liter square plastic container. (It’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough).

2. Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Add the olive oil and three-quarters of the water and begin mixing on a slow speed. As the dough starts to come together, slowly add the remaining water. Then mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and stretchy.

3. Tip the dough into the prepared tub, cover with a tea towel and leave until at least doubled, even tripled in size – 1-2 hours or longer.

4. Heat your oven to 220°C/425 F and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.

5. Dust your work surface heavily with flour – add some semolina too, if you have some. Carefully tip out the dough (it will be very wet) onto the work surface, trying to retain a rough square shape. Rather than knocking it back, handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. Coat the top of the dough with more flour and/or semolina. Cut the dough in half lengthways and divide each half lengthways into 2 strips. You should now have 4 pieces of dough. Stretch each piece of dough lengthways a little and place on prepared baking trays. ** Or cut in half then cut each strip into small buns of equal size

6. Leave the ciabatta dough to rest for a further 10 minutes, then bake for20- 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack.