Italian Sandwich on Homemade Ciabatta

Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

This recipe was created exclusively to pair with the 2009 Viognier from our featured winery, Halter Ranch. This wine is big with notes of honey, peach and sweet water but it never gets syrupy. It has a nice mineral finish that makes it drinkable and refreshing.

This wine is my new best friend and it's bound to be a picnicking favorite. This ciabatta recipe is rather simple and you'll be lucky if there is any left for sammiches once you take it out of the oven--it is that good! While I chose an Italian standard, feel free to mix it up: pear and basil, a portabella mushroom duxelle or just fresh ricotta with sage honey.

Bread Sponge


Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

This simple sponge, or a yeast pre-ferment, is responsible for the taste and texture of this bread. While only a 12-hour ferment is needed, I highly recommend the full 24 hours for optimal deliciousness.

1/8 teaspoon fresh yeast or active dry
1/3 cup water (110° 115° F.)
1 cup bread flour
1/4 teaspoon honey

1. Proof yeast by mixing it with the water and honey. Let stand for five minutes.

2. Water should be creamy and slightly bubbly.

3. In a small bowl, mix yeast mixture and flour.

4. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours (or a minimum of 12).

Final Dough

Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch 1/2 teaspoon fresh yeast or active dry 2/3 cup water (110° 115° F.) 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups bread flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon honey

1. Proof yeast as above.

2. In a large bowl using your hands, mix yeast mixture, sponge, oil and flour.

3. Knead dough for two minutes while working in salt.

4. Return dough to bowl, cover and let rise until double in size (about 2 hours).

5. Turn dough onto floured surface and cut in half.

6. Shape each half into an irregular oval shape.

7. Place dough on parchment-lined baking sheet.

8. Cover loves with damp towel and let rise until double in size (about 2 hours).

9. Preheat oven to 425° F.

10. Dust loaves with flour and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

Slice and fill with your favorite sandwich fixings. Take some wine, and your BFF, and go enjoy a sunny Spring day under a nice oak tree!

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