Sunday, June 20, 2010

Meatloaf Sandwich on Asiago Ciabatta

This delicious meal was inspired by Lauren of Lauren's Little Kitchen. My mom saw her post, suggested meatloaf, and I just kind of upped the ante with some homemade ciabatta and a little roasted garlic. Now, I know some of you are cringing at the idea of meatloaf. That's okay. Store bought ground beef is kind of gross. But meatloaf doesn't have to be gross. My dad purchases some chuck steak, trims off the icky gristle, and grinds it himself. KitchenAid has an attachment, and most food processors come with an effective blade. Mix with some spices, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, milk and whatever else you want, and you have a meatloaf made of quality ingredients. I don't have a recipe to share mostly because I (a) didn't make this one and (b) don't really have a standard recipe. For lazy times and an understocked kitchen, I like Lawry's seasoning mix. The last few times I used some paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and chili powder. I also make mini meatloaves because they freeze well and only require a workday in the fridge to defrost. I really like to freeze things.

Needless to say, this endeavor was clearly about cooking with what was on hand. The sauce also came out of the freezer; the basil from the yard; the garlic I roasted was sitting on the counter; the mozzarella was present in the form of string cheese; and the asiago started out as a big block in the fridge, but was reduced to shreds by the KitchenAid attachment. We just didn't have the proper bread, but we always have flour, salt and yeast. Now, before I get to pretty pictures and a recipe, I have to admit that this is not your typical ciabatta recipe. Traditionally, ciabatta's use starters that sit for up to 24 hours. I didn't have 24 hours. I decided this was okay because the asiago I used was freshly grated and had such a wonderful flavor that any flavor lost from the shorter fermentation period wouldn't be missed. The bread was still very holey, and while it didn't have that ultra-tough ciabatta crust, it was still crusty in a sourdough kind of way. I actually prefer crust that doesn't require me to bite, rip and chew intensely. I thought it worked well and had great flavor. Plus, I've already had a request to make it again sometime soon.

Quick Asiago Ciabatta
Makes 8 3 by 4 rolls
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups unbleached ap flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

all of the starter
2 1/2 cups unbleached ap flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
5 ounces Asiago cheese, grated; plus more for topping

1. Make your starter. Dissolve yeast in water; mix with flours until goopy. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours until starter has grown and is bubbly.

2. In the bowl of a mixer (this is not a good dough to mix by hand), place all of the starter. Dissolve yeast in warm water and add. Beat on low for 30 seconds.

3. In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Using the paddle attachment, slowly add until blended, about 3 minutes.

4. Switch to dough hook if you have one, and knead on medium for four minutes until dough starts to gain some body. Add in your asiago cheese during this process. It will be soft and slightly sticky, but will mostly clean the sides. When you pour it out of your bowl, it will kind of act like a big blob, but stick together.

5. Generously spray or oil a rectangular or square container. This is important because it makes a world of difference when shaping, allowing you to minimally touch the dough. Place in dough, cover with floured cloth or oiled plastic wrap, and let double, approximately 1 to 2 hours. It'll be doubled when you can press your finger into it about an inch and the dough does not spring back. I let mine rise in the sun outside.

I used a large tupperware container. You can also see a chunk o' cheese.

6. Generously flour a surface. I emphasize generously.

7. Your dough will have risen in a rectangular shape. Trying to preserve that shape as much as possible, remove dough from container onto floured surface. It should be a lot easier to handle compared to before.

A rectangular blob.

8. Gently stretch your dough into a 12 by 8 rectangle, taking care not to degas it much. You'll notice how much the square proofing container helps when doing this.

9. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, regardless of whether you are using a baking stone.

10. Using a sharp knife or a dough scraper, cut rectangle into 8 pieces. Don't drag your knife or scraper--just push down and cut. We're trying not to flatten the dough here.

11. Piece by piece, gently place floured-side up on baking sheets. Cover and let rise in warm room until puffy, about 45 minutes.

Rising on top of a weirdly blue tinted preheating oven helps.

12. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450F, with baking stones if desired.

13. When ready to bake, sprinkle asiago cheese on top of each roll. Move to baking stone on parchment (the parchment makes it easy to slide on) or leave on baking sheets. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on rack.

You can see the roasted garlic smeared over the bread in the back.

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Le said...

To be honest I haven't eaten meatloaf in years! I think I was scarred by the experience having to eat microwaved meatloaf so many times when I was a kid and my mum had no time to properly learn and cook it. Since then I've stayed clear of it, and it's been easy doing that since no one really cooks that here in NZ.

However I like the look of yours and the spices you used AND that bread looks amazing!

Maybe one day I'll get the courage to make this lol

Lauren said...

Oh! I could not be more flattered or pleased or jealous of this sandwich! I'm so glad I inspired your mom! Ha! I want that bread! And your melty cheese looks stellar!

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Oh my god, this looks so good! I really, really, really wish I had a cold meatloaf sandwich for lunch (or dinner, or a snack). Yeast and I are still not on speaking terms after my last bread baking disaster but when things get better between us, I may try this ciabatta! :)

Steve said...

This looks good on so many levels!

roxan said...

Ooo those ciabatta rolls look DELICIOUS!!! I LOVE fresh bread right out of the oven, and I bet these were heavenly.

Diana's Cocina said...

Wow - This looks delicious! Now I'm hungry for meatloaf.


This looks AWESOME! Everything tastes better on homemade bread!

FrenchPressMemos said...

Beautiful bread! I am (still) very jealous of your baking abilities. And intimidated.

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

My husband would flip for this sandwich! The fact that you made your own bread - that is amazing!!! Good job!

Baking Barrister said...

@Le - I've never had microwaved meatloaf but I can imagine how traumatizing that must have been. You should give it a shot--you guys have great beef in NZ.

@Lawyer - I love cold meatloaf dipped in ketchup. But it works with melted cheese and marinara, too. If you want some bread tips, shoot me an e-mail. I had to learn to do it myself so I am well versed in the errors.

@Steve & Roxan & Diana's - totally was delicious. And one of the easier breads to make, too.

@Spicy - There are two things that make pretty much all non-dessert items better: homemade bread and fresh garlic.

@FrenchPress - Don't be jealous--I'm the unemployed lawyer, you're the employed lawyer, I think you win. :)

If anyone wants to try and tackle the task of baking bread at home, feel free to ask me as many questions as you'd like. I'm no expert, but I am self-taught and have made nearly every mistake there is (and learned how to fix them).

baking.serendipity said...

This looks delicious! I l think every meat is better in sandwich form :)

Jean said...

I just made bread too it's boring compared to yours. It's after 10 pm now and even though I had dinner, I would totally eat this now. I love meatball sandwiches--even better with your homemade ciabatta. Great job again!

Tanantha@ I Just Love My Apron said...

Great work S! I love those ciabatta fresh from the oven and meatloaf sandwich sounds amazing!!

I think you're an expert on bread now coz it looks absolutely stunning!

Peggy said...

I actually made a fantastic meatloaf last night! I might go ahead and make this ciabatta for sandwiches because it looks amazing!

Cherine said...

Looks fantastic!

Cooking with Coley said...

Wow this looks delightful! From the bread to the basil

Isabelle said...

My favourite part about making meatloaf is making meatloaf sandwiches with the leftovers. :) And man, that is one hell of a beautiful meatloaf sandwich.
The homemade ciabatta buns look absolutely perfect... does the rye flour make them as tangy as I think it does?

A Thought For Food said...

My father used to send me to school with meatloaf sandwiches and I was always so embarrassed when I would pull out this big hunk of meat. But it was always delicious!

Rachel J said...

mmmm! I love the bright colors and the flavors of this mega-sandwich. If you have or could use Mezzetta products, you could enter this bad boy in their annual Make That Sandwich Recipe Contest. If you do, good luck!

Baking Barrister said...

@baking.serendipity I just think good bread makes everything better ;)

@Jean Homemade bread is never boring--you can't beat the taste of a fresh warm loaf. And there's something to be said for traditional loaves. I'd really like to perfect a whole wheat, but haven't found the right recipe yet.

@Tanantha Thanks! I still make mistakes with the bread (My recent sourdough densaster?), but Im getting there.

@Peggy Do it, do it! Buy some asiago and grate it yourself--it'll give better flavor

@Cherine & Coley thanks!

@Isabelle The original recipe says you can use rye, pumpernickel or whole wheat. I talked about how I shortened the fermentation time but felt that, with freshly grated asiago, any flavor development wouldn't be lost. To help make up for that loss, I chose rye--it's got that tang that sort of approximates fermenting dough. There are definitely hints of it in the bread.

@A Thought For Food I only liked two kinds of sandwich when I was in elementary school: PB&J and turkey with tomato and...butter. Don't ask why anyone let me eat that. I was kind of a food brat.

@Rachel good color makes food all the more appetizing. Ill look into Mezzetta -- I'm not sure I've seen their products around.

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Oh wow! How good does that look!

islandeat said...

Hi, BB. Congrats on your FB Top 9 - this recipe looks very tempting, indeed. Thanks, Dan

Heather said...

Meatloaf sandwiches are one of the greatest things ever in life. :) These look amazing.

Susan @ One Less Thing said...

I'm with Heather. Love a meatloaf sandwich. Making the bread right now and will post about it later. Thank you so much, baking barrister. I'm so excited!

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