here we go again... no knead ciabatta issue..!
So, like many others, the NK Ciabatta (Lahey style) has been an obsession of mine for the last couple of years. I am getting 'decent' results every time -- but I am not 100% happy yet.
Basically, I am looking for at way to get the BIG airholes. I always get a light and airy crumb, good crust. But I've NEVER had the BIG air pockets like many others.
I've tried everything, and cannot seem to locate the problem!!
I've probably read EVERYTHING on the web about this, and definitely read everything on TFL.
- Bread on the picture has 90% hydration! I typically use 80%-90%, which really should be wet enough for big air holes. It has a fine crumb - but has fairly small pockets and very homogenous...
- I've tried probably 20 different brands of flour. Also in different combinations. With protein content from 9-14%!
- Bulk fermenting, both in the fridge and at room temperature! (I seem to prefer the fridge, since the very wet dough is easier to candle when cool!)
- I've tried being 'aggresive' in my shaping, doing many stretch-and-folds. And I tried NOT shaping at all! Barely touching the dough after the 1st ferment -- this actually produces the best results!
- using casting iron dutch oven WITH additional pizza-stone. Preheating for up to 1,5 hours!!
- Bulk fermentation 12-18 hours! Tried doing a bunch of S&F's every hour or so, 3-6 times...
- Tried with poolish, biga. More complicated, and the result doesnt get better!
SO - I know the theoretical ways to get the result - but cannot seem to work it out!! What do I do next?? I have experimented on probably hundreds of breads, tweaking on little thing at a time, but I just cannot come up with any more ways of experimenting !!!
Please HELP :)