Why not resolve to bake more bread in 2009? I started off the year with Uighur nan and ciabatta.
Flatbreads & Flavors: a Baker’s Atlas by Alford & Duguid is a scenery-packed baking road trip of a cookbook, jammed with traditional breads from around the globe. To ring in 2009, I made Uighur nan with cumin and onion (p. 31). A simple mix of yeast, bread flour, warm water, and salt, the Uighur nan rises for just an hour and a half, then rests 10 minutes before baking–a good choice for a lean but flavorful bread without enduring a long overnight rise. After shaping, the center of each bread is pricked and sprinkled with salt, whole cumin seed, and chopped green onions. [N.B., the Uighur are people who speak turkic languages in the far west of China.]
On the other hand, Dan Leader’s ciabatta recipe (from his book Local Breads) does require a long rise: 3-4 hours for the first go, and another 30 minutes after the loaf is shaped. The wait is worth it, as the results are every bit as crunchy, flavorful, and full of holes as a bakery loaf. Split it for excellent sandwiches, toast, or dipping in olive oil.
Both breads are a cinch to make with a stand mixer to handle the kneading. Make 2009 a year without supermarket breads full of corn syrup, preservatives, and chemical dough conditioners!