An easy homemade 3 hour ciabatta recipe – just 15 minutes to pull together, 2 hours rising and straight in the oven. I’ve also included the recipe for this fast roast beetroot hummus, an earthy, sweet variation on your regular hummus rotation. Jump to Recipe
I first came to hummus making in a round-a-bout way. It was back when I was largely interested in cooking things containing chocolate – weekend batches of chunky chocolate oat cookies, Grandma’s chocolate peppermint slice, frequently whipped up desserts of gooey chocolate self-saucing pudding – over-generous serving spoonfuls topped with mountains of vanilla ice cream. Hummus just wasn’t on my radar. A specialist from Israel was working with my father for a few months, and he and his family were appalled by the hummus quality available in New Zealand supermarkets. You know, the way-too-small, fairly expensive plastic containers of oily, slightly chunky, chickpea mash in the cheese section, often flavoured with pesto or roast capsicum? It was a far cry from their descriptions of restaurants selling only hummus, huge batches of smooth, mousse-like dip eaten by the bowlful.
So they learnt to make their own instead.
They then taught my parents, who caught onto this very quick, very healthy dip that their kids would demolish, and it became a regular weekend lunch – usually with that supermarket deli rotissserie chicken that feels questionable but keeps you coming back for more. By my last few years of school, I’d have friends over for lunch and serve bowls of hummus, probably untraditionally with avocado and ciabatta bread, followed up with whatever cake I’d been trying out that day. But I didn’t really appreciate how much of an art there could be until I discovered Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, websites like Food52 and more recently read tales of hummus from Molly Yeh’s book and blog. Thalia and I visited Dizengoff in NYC last year, and their version topped with twice cooked eggplant and served with warm pita, sides of Israeli salad and pickles was my new bench-mark (which I haven’t yet achieved, to be honest!).
So I’ve started to learn and adapt. I learnt from Ottolenghi not to use olive oil in the hummus itself, but merely as a good quality drizzle to pool gently atop the finished product (read HERE). I read about slowly streaming iced water into the food processor for maximal creaminess and emulsification. I admit that I do prefer the hummus produced from dried then painstakingly boiled chickpeas (with a bit of bicarb soda) better – so for a dinner party, that’s what I’d do. But I also love being able to whip up a batch from a can within 10 minutes when I’ve been out at university all day – as a compromise in this scenario, I heat the chickpeas and liquid for a few minutes to warm and soften them before blitzing to achieve that warm finished product and a smoother texture. I’ve become partial to a pinch of cumin along with the requisite tahini, garlic and lemon juice.
However, I hadn’t strayed far from the original until this beetroot version. Roasted until almost caramelised and tender, the beet lends a slightly sweet, earthy undertone to the hummus. Topped with quality olive oil, toasted sesame seeds, dukkah and hazelnuts – it’s a favourite autumnal twist.
The ciabatta is an old favourite- I think I first teased it way back last year alongside this spicy eggplant shakshuka, and have made it numerous times since. It seems to turn out slightly differently each time, maybe dependent on humidity and how much effort I put into kneading the dough, but never badly. It’s flexible. Low maintenance too – 15 minutes to throw together, 2 hours resting, then it is straight on a tray and into the oven. Maybe not as perfect as a loaf created with a biga and using a preheated baking stone – but it’s pretty perfect with your shakshuka or slow-cooked ragu on a Sunday evening.
Ciabatta adapted from The Crepes of Wrath.
It will be a very wet dough - see the step-by-step photos above for more help while making it. If possible, do weigh the flour - it is much more accurate than using cup measures.
- 460 g (3 1/2 cups) all purpose flour + a couple of tablespoons extra if too wet
- 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 460 ml (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large beetroot (300g) - cut into chunks, olive oil s/p, roast 40 min
- 400 g can chickpeas
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 large clove garlic
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Ice cold water , to loosen
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin , to taste
- generous pinch of salt
- to top -toasted hazelnuts , sesame seeds, dukkah, chopped parsley
Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the lukewarm water and knead with the dough hook for 8-10 minutes. If making by hand, use a large spoon and stir vigorously. The dough will seem very wet and sticky, and should stick to the bottom and sides of the bowl - if it seems TOO wet, add a couple of tablespoons more flour (I have to do this occasionally - it seems to depend on the humidity and brand of flour!)
Flour your hands and for a further 4-5 minutes, ‘beat’ the dough with one hand by pulling at parts of the dough, stretching it up and slapping it back down on the bottom of the bowl, making a slapping sound. This is what creates some of the big air pockets in the dough.
Oil a large bowl and transfer the dough over. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the top of the dough, then cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise for 2 hours (1 1/2 if it’s a warm day).
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a large baking tray, then sprinkle with flour.
Flour both hands and gently transfer the dough to the baking tray, being careful not to squash it and break the interior bubbles. Very gently shape into a long loaf. Sprinkle the top with flour.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for a minimum of 20 minutes before slicing and eating!
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Peel the beetroot, cut into chunks and place on a baking paper lined oven tray or oven dish. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, season and roast for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
Pour the contents of the can of chickpeas (including the liquid) into a micro-wave safe bowl and heat for a minute or two. Drain.
Meanwhile, blitz the tahini, garlic and lemon in a food processor. Add the roast beetroot and the drained, hot chickpeas and blitz until smooth. If it starts getting stuck, loosen by streaming in a bit of ice-cold water (I usually end up using about a 1/4 of a cup). Process until smooth.
Taste and season with salt and cumin.
Top the finished hummus with toasted hazelnuts, sesame seeds, dukkah, chopped parsley and a drizzle of quality olive oil.