The Fresh Loaf

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BBA Poolish Ciabatta Help.

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RainsOfCastamere's picture
RainsOfCastamere

BBA Poolish Ciabatta Help.

Hello all.

I've decided to pick up the BBA as my first cookbook for baking bread. Due to a lack of tools and ingredients, I decided to go with something seemingly simple (I'm as novice as it gets); in this case, Poolish-made Ciabatta. As I'm convinced I put too much flour into the dough for it to be considered ciabatta, I'd like to know this for future reference: how do you hand mix ciabatta dough effectively? According to Reinhart, one should mix it until its smooth--using a wet spoon/free hand while rotating the bowl (please correct me if I am wrong). However, it seemed like I would have to constantly wet the hand to have the dough not stick. If I didn't, the dough would stick and as I tried to remove it, tear. If I did, the dough seems to not achieve that smooth texture. I grew tired after it failed to achieve said state and gave up--kneading it on some flour, but I'd like to tackle this again and again until I get it. I'm not used to wet doughs, but I don't like failure either.

Any reply would be great. Thanks.

egger88's picture
egger88

Hi there!

The BBA was my first bread book too! That was almost a year ago and I've made nearly every recipe in it now, and I would say that wet doughs still give me trouble.  You do indeed need to keep wetting your hand(s) a lot with the ciabatta, but it's typical for beginning bakers (such as ourselves!) to want to add more flour to firm things up a bit.  The resulting dough will be lower hydration, and thus not quite ciabatta, or at least not as intended.  However, it will be much easier to work with and still delicious.

Try some other lower hydration recipes out of the book and once you're a little more confortable with dough, work back up to the high-hydration ciabatta!

And a note about obscure ingredients in the book: most of them can be substituted for whatever's in your kitchen.  I've made a lot of the recipes sourdough instead of using yeast, and haven't (yet) bought any of the malt powder or syrups called for, I just use honey instead.

Good luck, and happy baking!

RainsOfCastamere's picture
RainsOfCastamere

Thanks, I'll tackle the dry stuff first. Although the ciabatta didn't come out all that bad. It just didn't have those irregular holes that the book talks about.

As for the ingredients, I'm not to0 worried about it. In fact the lack of even the most basic tools worries a bit more, but its a work in progress as I bake.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Just a few tips.

1.  I mix my poolish and yeast, water together first to get a gloppy mess.  I mix my flour and salt in gradually, stirring to get a consistent mass.  When it won't take any more flour into the mix,  I turn it out onto a wet countertop.

2.  A spray mister is your friend.  I  mist the loose flour and dough w/ water and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

3. This is a good time to wash your mixing bowl/equipment.  It will give you wet hands and keep them that way.

4.  Wet your bench knife often and form the dough into a workable (wet) mass.

5.  Using your wet bench knife and wet hands, perform your first "stretch and fold.  If you have any dry pockets of flour, perform "frissage" (rub them in)

6.  When ready to perform your next "stretch and fold" 20 mins. or so, your counter should have dried by now. I sprinkle flour over the dough, flip, stretch and fold.  This is the first time I introduce flour into the handling.

7.  once you perform your folds, sprinkle w/ flour, and cover w/ plastic.  You will notice this is the first time covering the dough is mentioned.

8.  one more stretch and fold in an hour and let sit till doubled.

9.  divide, shape , rest (the dough, not you) , bake.

RainsOfCastamere's picture
RainsOfCastamere

I really dig this--especially the mixing process. Thanks.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Some people freak out when I demostrate this technique.  It seems to defy conventional wisdom.  As a matter of fact I am in the middle of doing this today.  I bake 6 loaves every Sunday, and have been doing it this way for some time.

xanthia's picture
xanthia

Mine kind of bricked as a lot of newbies did. I added too much flour, it really needs to be a wet dough and I didn't get that right. Well, my doughs are still too dry, working on it! 

RainsOfCastamere's picture
RainsOfCastamere

Yea I try going through the recipes in order (I just like doing things in order), but some of the earlier ones are definetely tricky.

For example, Brioche--that was hardMy hands were calloused after mixing the crazy amount of butter in. And the consistency seems really difficult to mold even after chilling.

xanthia's picture
xanthia

There's a BBA challenge which does this. I've been doing it off and on for a few years. Oops, I keep on veering off. I'm on Panettone! Hope to do that this weekend really.