The Fresh Loaf

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SFBI No-knead, Hand-mixed Ciabatta

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RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

SFBI No-knead, Hand-mixed Ciabatta

One of the breads that we learned to make in the SFBI Specialty Breads workshop was a no-knead, hand mixed ciabatta.  I've made ciabatta using other formulas but hadn't been quite happy with the flavor and oven spring.  I knew using a biga or poolish was the way to add more depth to the flavor.  And that the high hydration makes it virtually impossible to knead the dough by hand.  So when we made the no-knead hand-mixed ciabatta, I knew I had finally found my Holy Grail of ciabattas.


A large rectangular tub is ideal for mxing and fermenting this bread.  I found a perfect food grade plastic tub at The Containers Store; it's 12.5 in x 9.5 in x 6. in and has a snap on lid.  Rubbermaid makes a comparable container; just not as tall.  Also, the large Danish dough works great for mixing the poolish and the final dough if you don't want to get your hands all full of wet, sticky dough.



The two loaves on the left were baked together first.  The larger one on the right was baked on its own.



The crumb is moist and tender with slightly chewy crust, perfect for dipping into EVO & balsamic vinger.  The bread gets a nice oven spring during baking and makes an awesome panni sandwich.


I know that Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread will continue to be a favorite on TFL, but I hope you give this one a try.


SFBI Ciabatta


Poolish 
Flour: 306 g (BP: 100%)
Water: 306 g (BP: 100%)
Yeast (dry instant)  0.5 g (about 1/8 tsp) (BP: 0.1%)
Total: 612.5 g (BP: 200.1%)
Pre-fermented flour %: 35%


Final Dough
Flour: 568 g (BP: 100%)
Water @ 80°F: 376 g (BP: 66.15%)
Yeast (dry instant): 2 g (about 1/2 tsp) (BP: 0.33%)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 26 g (BP: 4.62%)
Poolish: 612 g (BP:107.75%)
Salt: 17 g (BP: 3.08%)
Total: 1601 g (BP: 281.92%)


Total Formula
Flour: 874 g (BP: 100.00%)
Water: 682 g (BP: 78.00%)
Yeast (dry instant): 2.5 g (BP:0.25%)
EVO: 26 g (BP: 3.00%)
Salt: 17 g (BP: 2.00%)
Total: 1601.5 g (BP: 183.25%)


1. Mix all the poolish ingredients until well incorporated (DDT 70°F). Allow to ferment 12 - 14 hours at room temperature (65 - 75°F).
2. In large rectangular plastic tub, hand mix all the ingredients until well incorporated (DDT 73 - 76°C).
3. Cover and bulk ferment for 3 hours with 3 stretch and folds at approximately 45 minute intervals. For the first stretch and fold, scrape dough out of the container onto a well floured surface. The dough will still be very sticky and it may be a bit tricky to do the stretch and fold. Oil the container (I used EVO) and replace the dough in the container. The remaining two stretch and folds are done in the container.
4. At least an hour before baking the bread, preheat the oven with baking stone to 450°F.
5. Gently scrape dough onto well floured surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour and gently pat the dough into a rectangle.
6. Divide the dough into desired pieces. (I did 3 large loaves.) Gently transfer pieces to well floured couche. Cover and proof for about 30 minutes.
7. Transfer to baking stone and bake with steam for about 12 minutes. Vent and bake for about another 10 - 13 minutes until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped. Total baking time: 22 - 25 minutes.


 


 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Your loaves look pretty good.  I don't know how much the formula you describe as being "a favorite on TFL" is favored; it isn't favored in my kitchen.  I've used a method similar to what you describe on several occasions and I agree that it's wonderfully simple and produces a very nice Ciabatta.


Nice job ....

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Thank for the compliment, flournwater.  It's only been a little over a year since I decide to it was time to learn how to make bread without using a bread machine. 


Ciabatta has been one of my favorites, but I wasn't happy with my loaves until I took the workshop at SFBI.  Since I'm still a novice, I didn't realize that one could use a no-knead, stretch and fold method with a high hydration dough.  It still amazes me that this formula is so simple and the resulting loaves are wonderful.

dsmithnc's picture
dsmithnc

Rikki,


in this part of your recipe:


Poolish 
Flour: 306 g (BP: 100%)
Water: 306 g (BP: 100%)
Yeast (dry instant)  0.5 g (about 1/8 tsp) (BP: 0.1%)
Total: 612.5 g (BP: 200.1%)
Pre-fermented flour %: 35%


You mention "Pre-fermented flour %: 35%


Could you amplify this a bit?  I'm confused where this comes from.


dick

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

This means that the poolish contains 35% of the total flour for the formula: 306 g/874 g x 100% = 35%.

dsmithnc's picture
dsmithnc

Thanks, makes perfect sense....now. 


 


Cheers,


Dick

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Thankyou Rikki,


I too have been looking for another ciabatta recipe.........defenitly will give this one a go..........P

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Hey Pete, I think once you try this, you won't need to look any further for a good ciabatta recipe.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

 


I have made the poolish today,


I only need to bake 2 loaves at a time so using your bakers percentages made it very easy for reduction in quanity once I figured out 2/3rds of the original flour weight.


I am on a time contraint with this so the poolish will get about about 6 to 8 hours for today. So far the poolish has risen and bubbled quite well.............so I will let you know how it goes..............Pete.

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Hey Pete,


Sounds like it's going well so far.  The real fun will be when you start making the dough.  The dough will be very wet and sticky when you are first mixing the ingredients.  My Danish dough wisk was ideal to do the initial mixing so I didn't have to get so much on my hands.


Glad you were able to figure out how to reduce the amount for your needs.  I forgot to mention in my initial post that the formula that we used in the workshop was for 8 kg!  That made a lotta ciabatta.  I scaled it down to 1.6 kg when I made it at home.

rts306's picture
rts306

Does it matter if we use bread or all purpose flour?

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

I believe either bread or AP flour can be used for this ciabatta formula. 


In our workshop, King Arthur AP and Whole Foods 360 Organic AP (Central Milling) were among the recommended flours.  I used Bob's Red Mill higher gluten AP flour and it worked fine.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Rikki,


Just finished eating some of the loaf from your recipe. I don't have a camera for photos so I will say that the bread had reasonbly open crumb with a pleasant flavour different to a normal sandwich loaf and my baguettes. The crumb is not as open as some photos of Ciabattas I have seen but is better than I have had made before. Maybe rushing the poolish in time caused this. My wife and I enjoyed the flavour.


The loaf certainly spread wide and looked more like a free formed foccia loaf than a ciabatta. It was about 2 inches high which is normal I believe. One loaf was baked on a oven stove and the other on a pizza tray. There was no difference in the results for either.


My main problem  that I am not getting the crip crust that a ciabatta is known for. It's just not these loaves it's any loaf that requires a crisp crust using steam baking. I bake at about 210C (not F) with a container of hot water in the oven. Last night I left the loaves in the hot oven(water removed) with the door opened about an inch while cooling. Still made no difference.......I just end up with lovely tasting bread and a chewy crust. It would be a great crust for a sandwich loaf.


Any ideas out there. My Baguettes results are the same as well.


Cheers Rikki.................Pete.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

One should probably only use steam for about the first half of the baking period. The last half or so, the steam needs to be gone, totally, allowing the bread to more easily get rid of excess moisture. This retained excess moisture is probably why the crust is not crisping up.


I also think most of these lean(er) breads(baguettes,ciabatta, etc) that are striving for a crisp crust usually call for baking at temps a little higher than that.

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Hi Pete,


Glad you and your wife enjoyed the flavor.  My loaves didn't have the extreme open crumb, either, but I prefer it that way...just enough "holes" to crumb ratio. 


I'm a little surprised that your loaves spread so much.  Did you support the pieces during the proofing stage?  That's where the couche comes in handy.  My loaves didn't spread so much and got a nice oven spring so that the final loaves were closer to 2 1/2-3 inches tall.


Mrfrost gave good advice regarding baking with steam and higer oven temperature.  In the SFBI workshop, they had the deck oven set at 450°F/232°C.  When the instructor demonstrated baking at home, he set the home oven (they brought one in for the class) at 500°F/260°C during the preheating.  I usually pre-heat my oven at 475°F/246°C, then lower the temperature to 450°F right after I put in the loaves.  So you might want to try baking at a slightly higher temperature, if your oven allows that.


I remove my steaming system at 12 minutes.  This also vents the oven of the steam so that the bread finishes baking in a "dry" oven and crust can get crispy.  Since I didn't let the loaves sit in the hot oven for about another half hour after they finished baking, the crust did soften.  However, the crust crisped up very nicely when the bread was reheated or toasted.


 

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hey Rikki and Mr Frost,


Thankyou for the advice re- the crisper crust..............I will try the higher temperature and taking the steam out far earlier than I am use to............will try again..............best flavoured ciabatta to date for me.............no I didn't support it with a couche as I don't have one...I do have a baguette tray.


Wouldn't the dough be too sticky to use on a cloth couche?...........sorry if the novice in me is showing me again.


Cheers and thanks..............Pete

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

When you first get a cloth couche, you can "season" it with flour...rubbing flour into the cloth.  I use a 1:1 mixture of rice and bread flours, but you can use just bread or AP flour.  Then, before you use it for your loaves, you dust the couche with more flour.  I had no problems with the ciabatta dough sticking to the couche. 


In a different TFL thread, someone mentioned using parchment paper and wine bottles as a couche.  If you go that route, you should make sure that the bottom and sides of the dough are well floured so that it won't stick to the parchement paper.  Then you can load the dough on the parchment paper straight onto the preheated baking stone after the 30 minute proofing stage.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hey Rikki,


Does it ever need washing????

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Hey Pete,


The linen couche doesn't get washed. Washing would destroy the cloth's natural non-stick properties.


After you use it, it is just air dried.  If any dough happens to stick on to the couche, when it dries, you can brush it off very easily.  But if you flour the cloth well before you put the dough on it, there shouldn't be any problem with the dough sticking to it.


I bought my linen from SFBI.  Their prices are very reasonable.  For me, it's also very convienent since they are close to my work and I can pick up my items, saving on the shipping charge.


http://www.sfbi.com/baking_supplies.html


Getting a linen couche is a relatively small investment and I think it pays off big in the long run.


It just so happens that I'm making another batch of ciabatta this morning and am taking some pictures during the process.  I'll post a picture of the loaves in the couche a little later.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Rikki,


Thanks agin.....I have a web place here in Australia where I know I can buy a couche..thanks heaps..........Pete

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Here are some pictures from today's bake. 


The large Danish dough whisk was ideal to mix this wet, sticky dough. 



The Ciabatta dough already has gone from a shaggy mass and is starting to look like dough.



Ready for the first stretch and fold.  One of the tricks that they taught us in the workshop was using a wire mesh strainer for dusting the counter and bread with flour.  After you're done with the counter, you scrape the flour into the strainer and sift it back into the container.  All the little pieces of dough are captured in the strainer and can be discarded.



Dough after 3 hours bulk fermenting and 3 stretch and folds at 45 minute intervals.  Time to gently scrape it onto a well floured counter to shape and divide.



Lightly dusting the top of dough with flour makes it easier to handle as you gently pat and stretch the dough into the semblance of a rectangle.



Still need to practice at getting the 3 pieces to be more even in size.  Just look at those lovely bubbles of gas!



A couche really helps keeps the dough from spreading too much during the 30 minute proofing stage.



The smaller loaves are ready to go into the oven.  I found it was easier to put the loaves on parchment paper than to try to transfer them directly to the hot baking stone.  At 12 minutes, when I remove my steaming system, I also remove the parchment paper and the loaves finish baking directly on the stone.



The Ciabatta family - Papa loaf, Mama loaf, and Baby loaf. (This time, I did a better job of watching the last loaf so that it browned as much as the first two.)


Hopefully, these pictures will help anyone else who wants to try making this bread.


Buon appetito!


 


 

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Rikki.............I have learn't so much from your thread. Using what little brain I have i figured that I can place 2 loaf pans weighted with water on each side of my dough in their last proof so I can overcome my spreading problem mentioned earlier in this thread. This will do till I get my couche. I can then transfer the weighted pans with the dough into the oven for steam and then remove after the required time...2 birds with one stone so to speak............Also I must be doing something right. I also get those lovely pockets of gas you have mentioned in your photos.


I  use parchment paper but I always left it on till the end baking.....again another new idea to chase up on with removing the P/paper with the steam.


 Thanks Heaps again...........Pete.

RikkiMama's picture
RikkiMama

Hi Pete,


I was hoping that by posting pictures, they would help you get a better visual idea of that step in the process.  And, believe it or not, this was only my second attempt at making this wonderful bread at home.


It's been fun sharing the knowledge that I gained from the workshops with you.  I'm willing to bet that you're going to be even more pleased with the results of your next batch of ciabatta.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Yep..............watch this space...........Pete