(Recipe) Ciabatta Burger

Ciabatta. A bread best eaten fresh, with evoo and basalmic vinegar, or with leftover marinara from the most delicious ciopinno. There is nothing quite like starting a meal with fresh ciabatta, and a recent meal at Tuscan got me excited about making my own.

But why stop there? No one makes just one ciabatta roll worth of dough at a time, right? It is really sad to let a tiny dough rise for three hours, only to see the tiny dough struggling to expand. So, to capitalize on the economy of scale, (and the fact that Whole Foods is also having a discount on sirloin tips and ribeye), I decided to make, from scratch, a ciabatta burger!

Recipe:

Patty
0.5 pound of sirloin tips
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 teaspoon of rosemary

Biga
4 ounce (1/2 cup) water
1/2 teaspoon active-dry yeast
5 ounce (1 cup) all-purpose flour

Ciabatta
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
Biga
20 ounces (4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Add-ons
Oven-dried Tomatoes
Arugula
PepperJack Cheese

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For the patty, I chose to use pure sirloin tips for practical reasons… it was on offer and chuck was not! A typical recipe calls for a mixture of both chuck and sirloin, partly because chuck is cheaper and fattier while a sirloin is much more flavorful. Interestingly, the sirloin tips on sale were beautifully marbled, so there wasn’t really a need to add more fats.

To ground the beef, I used kitchen aid and the meat grinder attachment. Be sure to par freeze the beef before grinding. This helps keep the fat intact while grinding without smearing it all over the interior of the grinder, which makes for both an easier clean job and a much juicier burger. Seasoning is crucial, but do it just before the beef hits the pan/grill. For more tips, check out serious eats!

Final thoughts
On its own ciabatta is a fine piece of bread I can eat any day of the week, plain. Unfortunately, try combining it with a burger patty, and you get something that doesn’t quite work. In theory, there is nothing wrong combining a crusty bread with a juicy patty, until you realize that the crunch overwhelms every ounce of the delicate texture of beef, making for a confusing mouthful with every bite. Try it with a brioche bun instead!

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