Ready for a Spring Picnic: Crunchy Crusted Soft Ciabatta

“A picnic is more than eating a meal, it is a pleasurable sate of mind.” DeeDee Stovel     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A picnic is a a meal is eaten outdoors, ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape such as a park, beside a lake or with an interesting view and possibly at a public event such as before an open air theatre performance. Descriptions of picnics show that the idea of a meal that was jointly contributed and was enjoyed out-of-doors were essential to a picnic from the early 19th century. Picnics are often family-oriented but can also be an intimate occasion between two people or a large get-together such as company picnics and church picnics. It is also sometimes combined with a cookout, usually a form of barbecue. On romantic and family picnics, a picnic basket and a blanket are representing the dinner table. When the picnic is not also a cookout, the food eaten is rarely hot, instead taking the form of deli sandwiches, finger food, fresh fruit, salad, cold meats and accompanied by chilled drinks.The first usage of the word is traced to the 1692 edition of Tony Willis, Origines de la Langue Française, which mentions pique-nique. The term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. The concept of a picnic long retained the connotation of a meal to which everyone contributed something. Whether picnic is actually based on the verb piquer which means ‘pick’ or ‘peck’ with the rhyming nique meaning “thing of little importance” is, however, doubted.The word picnic first appeared in English in a letter of the Gallicized Lord Chesterfield in 1748, who associates it with card-playing, drinking and conversation, and may have entered the English language from this French word. The practice of an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors, rather than a harvester worker’s dinner in the harvest field, was connected with respite from hunting from the Middle Ages; the excuse for the pleasurable outing offered in the context of a hunt.

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“The idea of a sandwich as a snack goes back to Roman times. Scandinavians perfected the technique with the Danish open-faced sandwich, or smorroebrod, consisting of thinly sliced, buttered bread and many delectable toppings.” DeeDee Stovel

Ingredients
Biga Acida
190 g white flour
190 ml water
A pinch of yeast
Final Dough
310 g white flour
150 ml water
10 g salt
10 g fresh Yeast
15 g olive oil
All of Biga Acida

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Method
The night before baking, make the biga by mixing all ingredients until well incorporated. Then cover it with plastic wrap and allowed to rest overnight until mature, or about 12 hours.
The next day, make the final dough by mixing water, yeast and oil to biga first. Stir it until a smooth paste is achieved, then gradually incorporate the flour. Knead for about five minutes, then allow it to rest (autolyse) in a covered bowl for a period of 30 minutes. After the 30 minute autolyse, add the salt and knead the dough on oiled surface until a smooth, medium soft consistency is achieved. Allow the resulting rather fluid dough to ferment in an oiled container, covered for about three hours. After the 3 hours are up, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and then gently stretch to a rectangle that is folded into an oblong shape Place on a lined baking tin, cover and allow to prove for one hour. After proving load into a pre-heated 220°C oven and bake for 35 minutes. The resulting loaves have a nice crispy, light crust with a wide open interior crumb.

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“People don’t want to go to the dump and have a picnic, they want to go out to a beautiful place and enjoy their day. And so I think our job is to try to take the environment, take what the good Lord has given us, and expand upon it or enhance it, without destroying it.” Jack Nicklaus

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