Thursday, December 9, 2010


A ciabatta, is an Italian bread which is rather flat and full of holes. Since the ciabatta dough is wet, baking the dough in a cake pan or baking dish will hold its shape better. Also, it is easier to mix the dough in a mixer than by hand.

All purpose flour - 3 cups
Barely warm water - 11/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons
Active Dry Yeast - 11/2 tsp
Extra Virgin Oil - 1/4 cup
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Butter - a little at room temperature, to grease the baking dish

Method of Preparation:

Making the Starter: Put 3/4 cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water in a bowl and combine with a whisk and sprinkle the yeast over it. Wait for about 3 minutes, for the yeast to moisten and stir again until the mixture has a consistency of a thick batter. Cover this mixture with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours, until doubled or tripled in volume.

Mixing: Combine the started with the remaining flour, water and oil. Mix with a stand mixer fitted with dough hook for about 2 minutes or by hand for about 2 minutes. Cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Kneading: Add the salt and knead with a stand mixer on medium speed for about 7 minutes or by hand for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and stretches without breaking.

Fermentation: Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a moist towel. Leave the dough for about 2 hours at warm room temperature for a faster rise or for 30 minutes at room temperature then overnight in the refrigerator for the slowest rise.

Shaping: Transfer the dough gently into an oiled 11 inch cake pan, don't punch it down.

Proofing: Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or about twice its original volume.

Baking: Preheat the oven to 450F. Place a sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the sheet pan (Be careful not to drop any water on the hot glass of the oven). Slide the baking dish with the ciabatta dough onto a rack over the pan with water. Turn down the oven to 425F. Bake for around 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool for 5 minutes before turning the ciabatta out onto a cooling rack.

Let the ciabatta cool down completely, before slicing it.



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