Ciabatta bread, fresh from the oven, is one of my family’s favorite foods. It transforms an average meal into a feast, especially when served with a small plate of olive oil and shredded parmesan, and, of course, a glass of wine.
Our Family's "Rosary Ciabatta Bread" Recipe
I wish I could remember where I found this particular recipe. The ingredients are ordinary ones, the rise times are fairly typical, but perhaps the biggest trick is in the knead, which takes a total of fifteen minutes. We’ve nicknamed this recipe "Rosary bread," for this reason. While the kitchen mixer is busy kneading the dough, there’s plenty of time to recollect your thoughts, to pray about what’s on your mind and heart, and yes, to slip a Rosary into the mix. (Not literally, of course.)
How to Make Rosary Ciabatta Bread
The essential steps to most any bread making are easy enough, but today I'm seeing a connection between the wholesomeness of homemade bread, and the holiness of a domestic soul.
First of all, take a look at the ingredients.
What do we put in the mix for the batch of bread? Common, readily-available ingredients such as yeast, water, sugar, flour, oil, and salt.
And in the mix of ingredients that make up our everyday life, what ordinary things are tossed in? Rocking the baby, balancing the checkbook, preparing meals, running errands, and much more. The big responsibilities and mini must-dos that are required in fulfilling our domestic vocation are the ingredients added into our lives. These things, measured out and poured into our days, are part of our recipe for personal holiness.
Second, the ingredients need to be kneaded.
You want the yeast to reach every bit of dough.
We need to be needed, too, but we also have needs. In our prayer times, we pray for ourselves, others that are closest to us and those faraway, and for the world at large. Our prayers spread throughout creation, and stretch to the heights of Heaven. Today’s woman—the homemaker, the mom with a mission, the woman in small business or high stress career—can she declare her “need time?”
Just as the yeast permeates the batch, prayer penetrates our hearts, opens our minds, and causes our souls to rise.
Thirdly, the dough requires a rest time.
This enables the yeast to do its work, which in turn affects the overall quality and texture of the bread.
And so it is for us: our rest time energizes us, opens our imagination, inspires us to soar. Do we take time to rest? To wonder and ponder, to pray and play? Find time to relax, to withdraw “from the crowds" as Christ did. When, where and how do we make time for that? A spontaneous visit to the Blessed Sacrament, a scheduled Eucharistic Adoration hour, or perhaps a silent Ignatian retreat are just a few options.
Fourth, after being shaped into loaves, the bread dough is ready for the oven.
And for us, after being shaped by prayer, things definitely heat up for us. We are asked to do more, to give more of ourselves. This is when our prayer is put into action. Committed to a goal, with purpose declared and defined, we schedule some type of time slot for things to be formed and finished. What challenges must we face in order to develop our personal talents and creative interests? What hard things must we endure in order to get the end product, whether tangible or intangible? B
e patient, but work for the result. Trust God in the process. He asks us to invest our talents, to produce good fruit for his kingdom, all for his great glory and the salvation of souls, including our own.
And finally, enjoy the feast!
Fresh bread shared with others fosters community. There are so many groups and gatherings, Bible and book studies, podcasts and websites dedicated to bringing women together. These places, as well as our own circle of family and friends, provide support and encouragement. We are called to share our gifts, to be a source of heavenly leaven that makes souls rise, and to invite others to the feast. Are we celebrating in heart, rejoicing in God’s love by sharing the Gospel message? How are we bringing the bread of life to others?
Rosary Ciabatta Bread Recipe
Ciabatta, aka "Rosary Bread"
Total time: approximately 2 hours
1.Dissolve 2 teaspoons of instant yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over the yeast and let it rest until foamy.
2.Combine 3 ¼ cup of flour with ½ teaspoon of salt in a large mixer bowl. Add the yeast liquid. Knead at low speed for 10 minutes.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and continue kneading for 5 minutes at low speed.
4. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
5 Shape into a rounded loaf and set on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Let it rise for 45 minutes.
6. Cut small slits into the top of the loaves. Optional: sprinkle with water and top with 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
7. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes
Let us know if you make this Rosary ciabatta bread! How did it turn out? Did you get to pray your Rosary?
Laurie Schmitt, a veteran homeschooling mother of nine and grandmother of two grandprizes, is the author of Catholic historical fiction books for children, including Lepanto’s Lady (Our Lady of Victory and the Battle of Lepanto), Champions of the Rosary (Our Lady of Good Help and the Peshtigo Fire) and Giorgio’s Miracle (Eucharistic Miracle of Turin). In her writing, she aims to tell tales that weave truths of Catholic tradition and teaching, seeking to evangelize and catechize the next generation of saints. Picture books are coming soon! You can find out more about her here.