From as early as 2005, the chefs at red grapevine have been tinkering with bread. By 2007, they had started making a few loaves each day of this experimental Ciabatta for their Brushcetta. An attempt to recreate the Lake Como style Ciabatta (translating as ‘slipper’ to describe the long flat shape of the loaf) – this is a white bread with a airy crumb with large holes, and a light chewy crust. The bread was very popular, and it wasn’t long before it began being used for garlic & herb breads, and as an accompaniment to graze plates.
Four years, and nearly 10,000 loaves later, The Coughing Gherkin was opened in March 2011, and the Ciabatta operation was moved there, where there was room for a large, antique commercial stone-based electric oven. This allowed larger loaves, and higher temperature baking, which lead to bigger holes and an airier, lighter texture to the crumb. All the Ciabatta is now made at the Gherkin, and it is served as standard with all Tapas dishes. After another year, it is now an integral part of any dining experience at either restaurant. For a few years, a small circle of regulars have been buying the bread for use at home, but after overwhelming demand, the loaves are now being retailed directly to the public.
Gherkvine Ciabatta is preservative free, ‘improver’ free, fat free, and dairy free – made exclusively with the 4 traditional bread making ingredients: flour, water, salt & yeast (unlike many Ciabatta – there is no olive oil in this recipe). It is available for sale Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm at The Coughing Gherkin, or from 9am Wednesday to Saturday at Knight’s store.