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Homemade Ciabatta

Homemade Ciabatta

Recipes, Sunday Lunch/Daily Dinners

sliced-ciabatta

Everything about my new favourite bread recipe is the best thing ever.

The aroma coming from the oven, the soft, delicate crust encasing large pockets and a perfect crumb, as well as the contented faces of everyone who tries it while still slightly warm from the oven.

As I often do, I have someone to thank for originally sending the recipe my way.  This time, I am beholden to Lori, an online friend and fellow chef who lives in Louisiana.  Lori and I chat for a few moments (or hours) everyday.  We’ve even been known to conduct simultaneous cross-continent baking experiments, sending each other pictures of our efforts to compare and contrast.

We made this bread together the first time too — for a little courage — but really, we needn’t have worried.  It’s wetter and stickier than any other dough I’ve ever worked with, but with a well-floured board and dough scraper, it’s workable.  Trust me.  While your first effort may be slightly ugly, your subsequent batches will have your family and friends asking where the new local artisanal bakery is.

ciabatta-dough

: Homemade Ciabatta

: Giant bubbles and a golden crust. Adapted from The Fresh Loaf

 Variation 1

  • All-Purpose Flour – 500g
  • Instant Yeast – 10 ml (2 tsp)
  • Salt – 7 ml (1½ tsp)
  • Warm Water – 475g

Variation 2 (Semolina)

  • All-Purpose Flour – 350g
  • Semolina Flour – 150g
  • Instant Yeast – 10 ml (2 tsp)
  • Salt – 7 ml (1½ tsp)
  • Warm Water – 475g
  1. In a standing mixer, mix all ingredients on low speed with the paddle until just combined. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. With the paddle, beat the batter on medium-high speed. It will start out like pancake batter but in 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough. If it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. It’s done when it releases from the sides of the bowl, starts to climb up the hook/paddle, and just comes off the bottom of the bowl. (Mine took 28 minutes on medium speed, and 13 minutes on medium-high.)
  3. Place into a well oiled bowl, cover and let it triple! it must triple! (about 2.5 hours).
  4. Use well-floured dough scraper to empty the very wet dough onto a well-floured counter and cut into 3 or 4 even pieces. Spray with oil and dust with lots of flour. Proof for about 45-60 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 260°C/500°F while the dough proofs.
  6. After 45-60 minutes, when loaves are puffy and wobbly, it’s time to shape the loaves. In one fluid motion, pick up and stretch each loaf to an oblong rectangle about 10″ long and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. Try to do it in one motion and be gentle. You may think you’ve ruined them completely, but the oven spring will set everything right.
  7. Bake in 2 batches until they are light golden and 96°C/205°F in the center, about 15-20 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. A spray of water on each side of the oven as you put the dough into the oven will steam the crusts a little for a more authentic crust.
  8. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 4 hour(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 3 or 4 small loaves

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