The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ciabatta Bread and the holes

  • Pin It
javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

Ciabatta Bread and the holes

I'm a novice ciabatta bread baker. I don't understand why sometimes air holes are small and other times they are quite large, and evenly distributed. I prefer the larger holes. I think I'm doing everything the same way, but I keep getting varying results. I do start with a starter, and I mix the dough with the paddle attachment until the dough creeps up the paddle. Then I switch to a dough hook and mix until it clears the sides, which takes about 7 minutes or so. I use bread flour too. The bread, whether the holes are large or small, always tastes delicious, which is the most important thing, I guess. :) 

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd really appreciate it. 

merlie's picture
merlie

Have you tried Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread ? (right here on this site - just go to search box ) It comes out just perfectly with large holes every time !

Merlie

javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

Thank you Merlie! I am going to give it a try this weekend. :) 

javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

I tried the recipe, and I still got small holes. :( I must be doing something wrong. Could it be the water content? The bread still tastes great and is perfect for making sandwiches.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Personally I would advise against that recipe. I despise its popularity. Ciabatta isn't ciabatta without the traditional biga starter.

Have a look at the recipe here, http://flour.it/Flour-Video-Recipes.htm

javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

Thank you for your advise and link. I'm so dissappointed that I wasn't able to view the video. I have the latest version of Quicktime, but it wouldn't play. I'll look for a recipe with a tradional biga. It will have to wait until next weekend. Life is getting in the way of good cooking!

Thank you again!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Ah. It's not just me then. I can't watch the videos either! 

I have found a way though. Below are the direct links. You can save them or just open the link in media player / vlc.

http://flour.it/Video-Ricette/ciabatta.mp4

http://flour.it/Video-Ricette/biga.mp4

I've put the formula together including an example...

Biga

400

80

100

Flour

200

40

50

Water

3.2

.64

.8

Fresh Yeast

Ciabatta

-

-

600

Biga

100

20

100

Flour

100

20

100

Water

10

 2

10

Salt

813.2g

162.64%

 

 

 

I suggest you leave the Biga to ferment for 12hrs at cool room temp. The total hydration is 60% which is lower than typical. Feel free to add more water to get the consistency you wish. I usually double the water in the final dough to achieve 80% hydration.

javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

What a great video. Thank you for the direct links and all of your help! I'm going to make great ciabatta yet. I like how the dough was handled, and I can see exactly what kind of texture to look for. This might be where my trouble began, not enough kneading. 

I checked out your bread blog. The panettone looks amazing! If only there were more hours on the weekend to bake!

Thank you again!

Kelly

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Glad you liked the videos and my blog. My name is Michael by the way. I think you misread my reference to the handy media player called VLC.

Happy baking.

javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

That's so funny! I caught that, and tried to delete the name "Vic," but I guess it posted anyway! Never write with sleepy eyes and a sleepy mind. :)

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I think you have a beautiful website but by making it difficult for visitors to view the videos you are losing a lot of viewers.  Have you considered hosting the video on YouTube or Vimeo?   Both formats don't require the visitor to download anything to view the videos.

Gerhard

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you for your kind words but the videos I posted are from flour.it an Italian website which has nothing to do with me. I only run my blog @ http://staffoflife.wordpress.com

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

Here's my take on ciabatta. It's very simple, but you can apply the technique to any recipe. 

I use a 84% hydration, which creates a semi-batter - and it's mixed entirely in the bowl - either with a machine or with your hand,

Once the mixing is complete, the dough is left to rise in the bowl. Once the bread is risen to your satisfaction it is tipped out, very carefully, onto a prepared baking tray. Any shaping should be carried out at this stage - by wetting your hands or a spatula and gathering it into the shape you want. Try not to muck about with it too much.

The loaf is then left to recover from this - and, when you're ready, it can go in the oven.

Here's my full recipe - but, as I say, you can apply this method to any recipe with a similar hydration:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/2011/07/ciabatta.html

Cheers, Paul

javajavabug's picture
javajavabug

Thank you Paul!

How long do you usually let the dough rest once it's placed onto the baking tray? I always wonder if I under or overproof the dough.

I looked at your recipe and loved your additions. I'll have to try it! So I have two new recipes to try next weekend. It's a lot of bread for the husband and me, so it will be shared with some very happy neighbors next weekend. 

Thank you again!

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

Ah, there's the rub!

I never put a time on this part of breadmaking - there are too many variables, to my mind. How wet is your dough? How warm is your kitchen? How much yeast did you use?

You need to keep an eye on the dough. As with many aspects of breadmaking, there's a window of opportunity which might last anything up to, I don't know, say half an hour, when your bread could go in the oven and it'll be fine. Too early and it'll be a little dense and there'll be cracks in the loaf where you don't want them - too late and your bread may well sink as the gluten becomes too extended.

Knowing when to put it in the oven will only come with practice - you'll learn from every loaf and you'll have good loaves and a few not so good (but they'll all taste great!). And eventually, every loaf will be perfect.

May I live that long!

Happy breadmaking to all!

Cheers, Paul