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Every respectable bakery in town sells a ciabatta, an Italian style of bread with a wide, irregular crumb and a soft, lightly caramelized crust. But nobody does ciabatta better than Dolce Sicilia Italian Bakery, a modest bakery-cafe in a Wheat Ridge strip mall.
Dolce Sicilia’s ciabatta is sweeter, lighter, and tenderer than any other version, making it the ideal bread for toast or sandwiches. The irregular crumb means no two bites of the bread are the same. And because ciabatta is not aggressively soured, it has a mellow flavor that doesn’t overwhelm other ingredients.
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I asked baker-owner Franco Spatola, who is from Marsala, the Sicilian town that produces the famous fortified wine of the same name, about his ciabatta. Bakers all work with the same handful of ingredients—flour, water, and a leavener—and are necessarily wary when it comes to attempts to probe the all-important techniques and procedures they use. The compactly muscled Spatola, who looks less like somebody who spends every day “filling the case,” as he calls it, with sweet, starchy treats and more like a football player, laconically answered my questions about how he makes his exemplary bread. Was it very wet dough? “It is a wet dough.” Did he use a natural starter?” A natural starter, yeah.” Where was the recipe from? “From Sicily.” Did he make adjustments for Colorado’s dried climate and higher altitude?” It’s the same recipe.”
The ciabatta is sold in rolls, but my wife insists I bring home the long, rectangular loaves, which have a greater proportion of crumb to crust.
Dolce Sicilia has a bonus: a small wine shop in the back that sells a handful of inexpensive, mostly Italian wines that Spatola likes to drink. Look for Costamolino, a crisp Sardinian Vermentino that is my choice for best white under $15.
Extra: Tonight‘s Food Lover’s Book Club dives into the topic of bread.
3210 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, 303-233-3755, dolcesiciliabakery.com