Homemade BLT

I haven't done as much cooking as I would expect recently... but this week I did make a beautiful BLT. I've loved BLT sandwiches since birth and truly believe they are the best sandwich. In honor of the sun returning to Boston with some degree of consistency this week, I imagined a great afternoon sitting at my kitchen table, noshing on a BLT and sending out some emails. Unfortunately, there isn't really a great place for a BLT in the North End. There are good places, but not great places.

The only obvious answer was to make my own bread and mayo for the event. 

In the past I've made a few different types of bread, but this time I attempted ciabatta. Whenever I'm looking up (almost) any recipe idea, I always add the word "easy" to the search. I'm sure there are hard ways to make ciabatta but I'm not interested in it now. While the initial steps could appear cumbersome, it is actually super easy to make (far easier than amazing scones). The bread turned out perfect as far as I'm concerned and I will definitely make it again. And soon.

In the event making bread wasn't enough of a challenge for one day, I figured I would add mayonaise to the docket. I've witnessed people making mayo before and it felt challenging but do-able. Certainly reasonable for a sunny afternoon in my kitchen - but then I found a 30-second mayo recipe and I was convinced. I'm sure there are more sophisticated and refined ways to do this, but homemade mayo in 30 seconds? Done.

The trick to homemade mayo is having the ingredients at room temperature. I obviously hadn't planned ahead for this - so I just put the egg on my fire escape in the sun.... and then went for a quick run. Success.
Here's how each of these come together. I honestly didn't take pictures of this process because I wasn't convinced it would work - but it did. Sorry about that :)
Ciabatta
(Step 1) Combine 2 cups flour, water and yeast in a small bowl. Cover tightly with plastic and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled in size and bubbles are present on surface (approx 12 - 18 hrs). Note: When something calls for "room temp", I get a little anxious. My apartment tends to be a little chilly. After a few hours I hadn't really seen much change in the dough, so before I went to bed I literally nestled the bowl into my electric blanket on the couch. The blanket has a 3 hr timer so this didn't last all night - but worked great. In the morning time the dough was just as I hoped.

(Step 2) After the dough has doubled/rise, combine salt and remaining flour. Stir salt mixture and oil into dough.

(Step 3) Turn dough onto a well-floured baking sheet and gently shape into a 10 x 5-inch loaf. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until dough holds an indentation when gently pressed (loaf will slightly increase in size).

(Step 4) Arrange one oven rack at lowest rack setting. Place second rack in middle of oven. Place an oven-safe skillet on bottom rack. Preheat oven and skillet to 475 F. 

(Step 5) Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a separate container. Wearing oven mitts, place bread on top rack. Pull bottom rack out and add boiling water to skillet. Working quickly AND carefully, pour water into skillet away from your face and hands. Carefully slide bottom rack back into place and quickly close door to trap steam in oven. 

(Step 5) Reduce heat to 425 and bake for 10 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and bake bread 12-15 minutes longer, or until deep golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. 

Mayo
While I didn't take any pictures of this process, I did take a quick timelapse video. You can really see that this comes together super quickly - maybe even under 30 seconds?
(Step 1) Make sure your egg and oil are at room temperature, this is important. Put your egg and oil in the bottom of a glass jar that fits your immersion blender. Ideally, it should be a close fit.

(Step 2) Put the immersion blender down into the cup and rest it at the bottom. Turn it on and blend, keeping it at the bottom until you start to see the mayo thicken. Then gently raise the blender head to blend the rest of the mayo. Stop the machine when you see that the entire jar has thickened. Don’t over-blend.

(Step 3) I added in a bit of lemon juice and pinch of salt. I obviously didn't measure but maybe it was 2 tsp of lemon juice. Just add what you want and taste it. It's that easy.

(Step 4) Give it a stir and then cap the jar and store in the fridge. Eat it up within the week.

Shopping List
2 1/4 cups of flour, divided
1 cup water (cool temp)
1/4 t yeast
3/4 t salt
2 t olive oil

1 egg
1 cup of oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)

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