Ciabatta

Baking good tasting bread with the most simple ingredients takes time. I begin making this kind of Ciabatta the evening before I want to eat it.

Only 4 ingredients

Flour

I use whatever wheat flour (not whole-weat) I can get my hands on. In some countries there are not many different types of flour, I just make sure there are no additives!

Water

Salt

You can go crazy with types of salt – but the basic table salt will do just fine.

Yeast

You can use dry instant yeast. Fresh yeast or even a sour-dough based Ciabatta work as well, but I want to try and keep it simple!

How much?

For the best flexibility here are the precentages I use:

Flour: 100%            1kg

Water: 75%              750ml

Salt: 2%                    20gr

Dry Yeast: 1.1%      4gr

STOP! Don’t mix all of that together – yet 🙂

Now it is getting more exciting. We will take part of the ingredients and create something called “Poolish”. Google for it if you want to know more. The job of our Poolish will be to enhance flavor and life-span of our Ciabatta.

The Poolish

Before I go to bed on the evening before I need the Ciabatta I take ~1/8 teaspoon yeast and mixed it with 300ml water and 300gr flour so it becomes a soft paste. I put it in a BIG container (needs room for 3 times its size) and leave it in a warm ~20-24° Celcius over night. Everything from 12-14 hours is nice.

Unfortunately the pictures I took during the first step are too dark *g* it was evening … but it should be easy enough.

In the morning

We’ll start with mixing the rest of the ingredients together with the nice bubbly Poolish we got.

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After about 3-5 minutes we get a nice ball that is still quite soft (due to the high water percentage) but sticks! That means the gluten – wheat flour’s own glue – have started to develop and the dough gained muscle.

We leave that ball for 1hr alone in a warm spot.

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After 1 hour we fold it twice and cover it to prevent a crust from being formed. We leave it in a warm place.

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Tip: When working with wheat flour cover your fingers and the work surface with flour so the dough doesn’t stick!

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One hour later we fold the dough twice – again!

After one more hour … (good bread takes time remember?) we can split the dough.

I will make 1 big round loaf (left) and one long loaf.

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You can see the bubbles that will make nice fluffy air-holes later on already! (Sorry for the blurry picture …)

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Shaping

For the long loaf I take the dough, fold it and take care not to destroy the precious bubbles!

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After it is formed I put it in a proofing basket. You can also use linen towels or anything that holds the dough somewhat in shape!

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I do the same for my big loaf.

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I cover them up and put them in a warm place ~25°.

After 30 minutes I switch on the oven to pre-heat the bakingstones. You don’t need those to get a good Ciabatta, but keep it mind to pre-heat your oven according to it type early enough! My oven only goes up to 240° so that’s the start-temperatur.

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Can we start to bake now?

This is what the round loaf looked like after 1.5 hours.

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This is the smaller one. You can see they already incread in size significantly.

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Don’t sneeze!

Now carefully transport the loaves to the oven, seams up!

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I generate steam (spray water on the sides of the oven) and close the door fast. <… usually that’s how I do it, but taking pictures parallel made it a lot more fun!

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The steam prevents the crust from going hard to fast, thus allowing the Ciabatta to rise beautifully high! I let the steam out as soon as I see it gets brown.

(Complete Baking time ~20 minutes)

And finally …. after only a little more waiting … we get this.

To ensure the bread is done knock on its bottom! If it sounds hollow – it is done.

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We now wait just a tiny bit more for it to cool down and then we can finally eat it!

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I hope you liked this post. If you have any questions leave a comment and I try to answer it. You must bake and taste this Ciabatta yourself and let me know.

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