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Joe Fisher's picture

Sourdough pretzel!

April 17, 2007 - 8:14pm -- Joe Fisher

Here's a loaf that I made on a whim. My regular sourdough recipe twisted into a pretzel! With sesame seed "salt" on top, of course :)

 

I also used the no-preheat method of baking. Worked well! Instead of an hour preheat then 20-40 minutes baking, this was 30 minutes set to 525 (the oven reached 525 just as the 30 minute timer went off) then 15 minutes at 450. The bread was 205F inside.

 

-Joe

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bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough Ciabatta - Second Try

Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (loaves)Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (loaves)

Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (crumb and loaf)Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (crumb and loaf)

Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (crumb)Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (crumb)

Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (slice)Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version (slice)

Sourdough Ciabatta - Firm Starter Version

One of the favorite family breads seems to be ciabatta, and this sourdough version is clearly preferred (wolfed down) by my kids for its flavor. I've achieved a little better crust and crumb with yeasted versions, particularly the one in Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking", but the sourdough flavor is hard to beat, especially with salty grilled left over meats in sandwiches. The recipe is loosely based on the BBA (Reinhart) "Poolish Ciabatta", as well as incorporating ideas from Maggie Glezer's version in "Artisan Baking".

This is a work in progress, but I like the way this one turned out - my second blog entry on this recipe. The flavor is a little mild, which may mean I need to lengthen and/or retard the fermentation, or maybe use somewhat more ripe starter, an exercise for future attempts.

Many thanks to various contributors to this site as always, and especially in this case to Zolablue, who encouraged me to pay more attention to ciabatta with some just great photos and discussions about how to achieve better holes in ciabatta through hydration, proper handling, and flour choice, all of which were used here, (again) after much feedback from my first blog entry on the topic.

This version has been changed to use a lower percentage - around 22% - of flour contributed by the starter, and the starter itself is a firm starter, instead of the usual 100% hydration starter I had been using. My theory here was to try the flavors from the firm starter, as well as lower the percentage of starter in the recipe. The higher percentage seems to cause problems with the texture of the dough before it gets a chance to rise. Zolablue and I have both had good success with a "hybrid" method where some yeast is added to the dough to compensate. However, I was curious to see if I could find a percentage that might work with a pure sourdough raise. The result was a higher rise, but I seem to have made the hydration a little high, as the holes are a little too extreme for my tastes. However that should be solved by simply lowering the hydration on my next try. Also, I ran out of KA AP flour, so I substituted some "sifted red whole wheat flour" from Heartland Mills, which is called "Golden Bufallo". They say it is a "high extraction" flour, i.e. the germ and endosperm is in the flour, but most of the bran has been sifted out. I have found it to be a very good flour for rustic breads. It gives the crumb a darker color and there is a nuttier flavor than with KA. Well, I wish I had just stuck with KA organic AP in this case, as the result was a little more rustic than I had in mind. I suppose there are those who would treasure this result and call it something on the way from white ciabatta to "ciabatta integrale".

Photos of process have been posted for this ciabatta using a firm "recipe starter". Don't worry, you can build this starter from any consistency starter you may have by just setting the hydration to 65%, letting it rise by double and refrigerating overnight. A spreadsheet is also posted showing weights in ounces or grams.

Recipe Starter:

  • 2 oz 100% hydration starter (Use whatever starter you like. The intention is a 65% hydration firm starter)
  • 4.5 oz bread flour (I used KA Bread Flour)
  • 2.5 oz water

The day before this bread was baked, I took my "BBA style barm", a 100% hydration starter fed with KA Bread Flour, out of the refrigerator. It had been fed within the last couple of days and was fresh and strong at the time it was refrigerated. I mixed the starter with KA Bread Flour and water in the amounts above and kneaded it for a couple of minutes to form a dough. I then put the dough in a container sprayed with a little oil and left it to rise by double - about 4 hours. Once it had risen by double, I refrigerated it to be used the next day in the dough. Note that it is not necessarily a good thing to let the dough rise by more than double or become overly ripe, as it may affect the consistency of the dough the next day.

Dough:

  • 9 oz of recipe starter from above
  • 12.5 oz AP Flour (I used KA organic AP flour
  • 5 oz high extraction red wheat flour (like Golden Buffalo from Heartland Mills, use AP for a less rustic result)
  • 2 oz KA Rye Blend Flour
  • 16.5 oz water
  • 0.5 oz salt (14 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp diastatic malted barley flour

Autolyse:

Mix all flours but 5 oz of AP flour, diastatic malted barley flour, and water together and mix on low speed just enough to get a well mixed batter. Let this sit 20 minutes. I'm trying to simplify the processing relative to the last version by using my mixer for a change.

Mix:

Cut up the starter into small pieces and mix it in along with the salt. Run the mixer for a minute or so to get a good mix of ingredients in what should still be a thick batter consistency. Then, add in the remaining 5 oz of flour as you run the mixer on a low speed. It should turn into a very slack dough after another couple of minutes. I tried to show a picture of it hanging off the mixer dough hook, so check out the photos of the process linked up above.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding: (about 4 hours)

Make a fairly thick bed of flour on the counter about 12 inches square. Using a dough scraper, pour the dough out into the middle of the bed of flour. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then, fold the dough by flouring or wetting your hands, then grabbing one side of the dough and lifting and stretching it, folding it over itself like a letter. Do this for all 4 sides. Brush flour off the dough as you fold over the sides that were in contact with the bed of flour. You don't want to incorporate much flour into the dough as you fold. After folding, shape it gently back into a rectangle or square, turn it upside down and push the seams underneath. Place it in a rising bucket or other rising container of your choice. I spray mine with oil to make it easy to remove the dough. I also spray the top of the dough and then dust lightly with flour. Cover the container and allow to rise. Repeat the folds approximately every hour three more times. You just turn it back out on a light bed of flour - you need less flour once the dough is folded a couple of times. Always brush off flour as you fold it to avoid incorporating flour in the dough. If the dough seems very resistant to stretching, only fold it from two directions instead of four. You don't want the dough to get really stiff from too much folding. The amount of folding you will need will be more if you have more water and less if you have less water. Note that even an ounce can make a very big difference in the consistency of the dough. The dough should rise by double over a total of 4 hours. My dough was sitting at about 76F, so you may have to wait a little longer in a cooler room temperature environment. Stop folding if the dough gets too stiff. This means you didn't get as slack a dough as I had here, probably because of less water or maybe because of a different style of flour. No problem, just fold when it is stretchy, but let it rest and rise if not.

This is the first time I used Zolablue's suggestion to put the dough in a container as in Glezer's Artisan Baking, as opposed to doing it on the counter as in the BBA by Reinhart, and as done in my previous blog entry on sourdough ciabatta. I felt it worked well and had a few advantages. First, you can tell easily how much the dough has risen. That's a good thing because the poke test is hard to interpret with this very slack dough. Second, flour doesn't get stuck to the bottom because of the wet dough sitting on the counter in a bed of flour during the rise. I found that the crust was easier to control. Before I was having trouble with big chunks of wet flour paste getting stuck on the dough. I think that can actually look nice and be a characteristic of ciabatta crust, but it seemed to be a little too much that way with the wetter doughs I've been using to make these ciabattas. The last thing is that you can control the bulk fermentation temperature much more easily with the dough in a container that you can move to a good spot for rising.

Shaping:

Divide the dough into four pieces of equal size, roll them in the bed of flour to dust the cut ends, and let them rest a few minutes. To shape, take one of the four pieces, stretch it out and roll it or fold it over itself very gently. With ciabatta this amounts to a gently stretch and fold like a letter. You want to create some tension in the surface of the dough by folding it over itself that way. I sometimes have to roll it up a little more than just a letter fold to give it some tension. Then if you place the dough folds down on a couche, it will seal up the seams. Use the couche to create folds for the ciabatta and then nestle the folds between supports, such as bags of flour or whatever system you may have similar to what you might do for baguettes. I usually also roll the ends underneath a little to get some tension in the ends of the dough.

Final Proof:

Let them rise in the couche for about 1.5 hours, until they are puffy and have increased significantly in volume.

I baked two loaves at a time, so I proofed two loaves for 1.5 hours and two loaves for 2 hours. Da Crumb Bum - you may be right about these SD ciabatta recipes being on the edge of overproofing. I found that the first batch had darker, harder crust, whereas the second was a little bit on the pale side, even though I baked both for the same amount of time in an oven that I know was fully heated and at the same temperature. Also, the oven spring was much better on the first batch. I believe the steam conditions, temperature, and handling were very, very close to identical for both bakes.

Prepare to Bake:

Preheat oven to 500F (yes, you can probably do it without preheating, as mentioned elsewhere on the site, but it's not what I did this time). While that is going on, take each loaf out of the couche, gently stretch it in one direction by about double, lay it on a peel, maybe with parchment paper underneath, maybe sprinkled with corn meal or similar, and use your fingertips to flatten out and dimple the loaf. You can press down fairly firmly to feel the peel underneath. It sounds crazy, but the loaf will bounce back just fine in the oven if it is not overproofed. This step is important to avoid "separation of crust and crumb" or "one gigantic hole" instead of many holes. It also evens out the loaf so it has a nicer shape after baking.

Bake:

Place loaves in the oven and lower temperature to 450F. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the internal temperature is around 209F (I'm near sea level), rotating them after about 9 minutes. You can bake them longer to get a darker, harder crust, or less to get a lighter softer crust. If you bake them in a dry oven for shorter times, you will get a softer crumb and a crispy, thin, lighter crust that is very good if you intend to use these for sandwiches. If you want a chewier, drier bread with a tastier, harder crust, then bake them more and use steam. Then it is a great bread to just dip in olive oil or use like french bread with dinner. The loaves should spring up from their "flattening" with your fingertips, such that not much evidence is left of the dimples you made with your fingers.

The oven spring on these was better than in my first version. The dough also seemed handle more easily. It seemed to stretch without tearing during the folds and didn't seem as sticky. I was happier with the lower percentage of starter in this dough. I wish I had the KA organic AP for the recipe, just for comparison, and also because I liked the soft white crumb, but this one is good for a more rustic effect. The size of these loaves was about 10in x 5in x 2.5in. This is a better oven spring than last time. They were about 3 inches high right after baking, but they shrunk back down to 2.5 inches after cooling off. That's still quite a bit better than the previous version, which was about 2 inches tall. It's probably true that the best of both worlds would be hybrid method, i.e. add about 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of instant yeast to either this recipe or my previous version and get a little bit faster rise and a softer, lighter crumb, as well as getting the sourdough flavors in there.

Cool:

Let bread completely cool, if you can stand to wait.

This bread is especially good for sandwiches, sliced in half and then sliced along the "flat" direction to open up like a hamburger bun. It is great for burgers, steak sandwiches, ham, or just with olive oil and pepper.

redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

My mission has been to get large, glossy holes in a bread like the wonderful examples I have been admiring. I achieved some degree of success with the NYT no knead recipe this weekend. I followed the recipe faithfully and even used the floured cotton towel technique. The soft dough stuck to the cotton, but not too badly. There was no problem with the bread sticking to the dutch oven. It pulled away from the sides as it baked.  I did leave it in the oven long enough to scorch the bottom a bit in an attempt to get a deeper brown top crust.

Dutch Oven loaf

Dutch Oven loaf

Dutch Oven crumb

Dutch Oven crumb

I used grocery store bread flour this baking as opposed to the high gluten flour and added vital gluten I have been baking with.

I tested my simple ciabatta recipe once again flavored with extra unrefreshed starter. I consider this a yeast recipe rather than a hybrid because the old starter I used had very little leavening potential but a super flavor. Again it yielded a tasty batch with a slightly more open crumb than last week's baking. Maybe my folding is improving!

Simple Ciabatta- 2

Simple Ciabatta- 2

The recipe is as follows-

Simple Ciabatta- INGREDIENTS-
  • For Sponge 
  • 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3/8 cup of old starter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 scant cup bread flour
  •  For Bread
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
DIRECTIONS
  1. To Make Sponge: In a small bowl stir together 1/8 teaspoon of the yeast and the 2T warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl stir together yeast mixture, 2T water, 3/8 cup starter and 1scant cup of the bread flour. Stir 4 minutes, then cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
  2. To Make Bread: In a small bowl stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with dough hook blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour at low speed until flour is just moistened; add salt and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.) Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425-450 F (220 degrees C).
  5. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to a rimless baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up far edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool loaves on a wire rack.
bwraith's picture
bwraith

Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (1)Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (1) 

Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (2)Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (2)

My wife said we were invited to dinner and could I make some bread to bring. This was in the morning of the same day, so I was unable to do a long rising, multiple step, sourdough bread, as I would have with more warning. So, I went for a fast approach. I had some left over starter that was intended for some bread I never got to. It was 5 days old sitting in the refrigerator. I decided to use it as a flavor ingredient, and add regular yeast to the dough in a "hybrid method". I also have had some kalamata olives in the pantry, thinking I might want to make some olive bread, which I had not done before. The result was a very mild sourdough flavor combined with olive fragrance and brine flavor. It seemed to go over fairly well. I took some photos and thought I would post this recipe. It's a way to get some sourdough flavor even if your starter is not fully revved up or if you are just in a hurry.

Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid

For the Dough:

  • 360 grams of 5 day old refrigerated 100% hydration sourdough culture (mine is BBA style, fed with KA bread flour)
  • 320 grams of AP (I used KA organic AP)
  • 100 grams sifted white wheat flour (this could just be more AP, some white whole wheat flour, or other "rustic" flour)
  • 50 grams KA rye blend (again any rye, whole wheat, or other "rustic" flour)
  • 285 grams water
  • 13 grams salt
  • 1.5 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF instant)
  • 0.5 tsp diastatic malted barley flour (not critical - optional ingredient)
  • 200 grams kalamata olives, pitted, halved, stored in natural brine (that's what I had, but I'm sure lots of other types would be good, too)

There is a lot of flexibility in the age of the starter and the type of starter. I'm just using it as a flavor ingredient. You could easily make this a pure sourdough recipe by using fresh starter and leaving out the instant yeast. The bulk fermentation and final proof would just run longer, maybe 4 hours for the bulk fermentation and 2 hours for the final proof if done with pure sourdough.

Autolyse

Mix flours and water together, and use frisage, dough hook, or mixer to get it reasonably well mixed. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Mixing and Kneading

Work in the starter, yeast, then salt, and use frisage or mixer to get all the ingredients well mixed. Press in olives a dozen at a time and fold dough a few times to get them integrated into the dough. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is resilient. It will probably be quite sticky. The hydration is about 71%, so it is wetter than regular french bread dough. The ripe starter will make it have a wetter stickier consistency also. Place the dough in a covered container to rise. You can spray a little oil in the container beforehand and also on the exposed surface of the dough, but it's not that critical.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding - about 2.5 hours at 78F (or a little longer at room temperature)

Fold the dough at about 1 hour and then again at about 2 hours. At 1 hour it should have risen to about 1.5 the original dough volume. At 2 hours, it should have risen to about double the original dough volume. To fold, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Spread it out, pressing down gently without ripping the dough. Then, grab one corner of the dough, stretch it out gently and fold it over itself into the center of the dough. Do this for all four corners. If the dough is hard to stretch, just do two opposite corners, like a letter, rather than all four corners.

Shaping

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Split into two equal pieces and let rest 10 minutes. To shape, create a rectangle about twice as long as it is wide. Roll the rectangle up from the short side, tensioning the outer surface as you roll. Pinch the sides under tightly to create more tension. Then, pinch the ends under also. Let it rest ten minutes with the seams down. Place the shaped loaf seams up in a couche lined banneton floured with a very small amount of rice flour or use other rising form as you prefer and optionally spray a little oil over the exposed surface. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 1.25 hours until puffy and probably a little less than doubled in volume (I did this at 78F, so adjust times if doing it at room temperature).

Bake

Preheat oven to 500F. Turn loaves onto a peel using your favorite method. I use parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal on a peel. Slash lengthwise a couple of times. Optionally mist the loaves with water very lightly using a fine mist spray bottle. Place loaves in oven, and generate steam using your preferred method. Just wetting the surface of the loaves is one simple appproach. Bake at 500F for about 10 minutes. Open the oven door and remove all the steam generating stuff you may have, and drop the oven temperature to 450F. Bake another 10 minutes or more until internal temperature is about 207F (at sea level).

Cool

Let them completely cool before you cut into them.

edh's picture

I think it's dead

April 13, 2007 - 9:28am -- edh

I think it's safe to say that I've killed my poor wee starter. Despite the valiant efforts of several on this site to talk me through resuscitation, I can, after several days of trying, discern no sign of life whatsoever. As suggested, I increased the proportion and frequency of feedings, and thought I was getting somewhere, but taking the bubbled starter last night, and mixing up a batch of dough, yielded this morning a bowl of unleavened goo.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough Raisin Focaccia

Sourdough FocacciaSourdough Focaccia

Sourdough Raisin Focaccia (a)Sourdough Raisin Focaccia (a)

Sourdough Focaccia CrumbSourdough Focaccia Crumb 

My wife's favorite bread is without a doubt sourdough raisin focaccia. The recipe is loosely based on the BBA (Reinhart) "Poolish Focaccia", including his mention of raisin focaccia and a tradition in certain parts of Italy for "breakfast focaccias".

Many thanks to various contributors to this site as always. Photos of the process have been posted for this sourdough raisin focaccia and the sourdough ciabatta I made at the same time and mentioned recently in a previous blog entry. A spreadsheet is also posted showing weights in ounces or grams.

Starter:

  • 14 oz BBA style barm fed w/KA organic AP flour (1:1 by weight flour:water)

The day before this bread was baked, I took my "BBA style barm", a 100% hydration starter fed with KA Bread Flour, out of the refrigerator. I fed it 1:2:2 (starter:flour:water) three times over the course of the day at room temperature, which refreshed the starter and built enough starter for this recipe, the sourdough ciabatta I also made the next day, as well as some left over to return to storage in the refrigerator. The larger amounts were made by feeding with KA organic AP flour, to convert to KA organic AP flour, a choice of a slightly lower protein flour that should be good for irregular, large holes and artisan style bread.

Dough:

  • 14 oz 100% hydration starter using KA organic AP Flour
  • 13 oz KA organic AP Flour
  • 2 oz KA Rye Blend Flour
  • 2.5 oz olive oil
  • 10.5 oz water
  • 0.5 oz salt (14 grams)
  • A box of golden raisins (about 2.5 cups)

Autolyse:

Mix the flours and water together in a bowl (I used a dough hook for this). Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Mix:

Mix flours and water above with the 14 oz of starter, 0.5 oz salt, 2.5 oz olive oil, and mix for a couple of minutes - just long enough to thoroughly mix the starter and salt with the flour and water from the autolyse step. Add a box of golden raisins (about 2.5 cups). The dough should be quite "wet", meaning it will not clean the bottom or even much of the sides of the mixer bowl. It should be fairly sticky and already have a fair amount of gluten development. I realize I needed a little more water than I actually used (10 oz), so the recipe says 10.5 oz and is what I will use next time. As a result, the dough was a little too stiff and the crumb wasn't quite as open as I think it would be with the extra ounce of water.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding:

Make a fairly thick bed of flour on the counter about 12 inches square. Using a dough scraper, pour the dough out into the middle of the bed of flour. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then, fold the dough by flouring or wetting your hands, then grabbing one side of the dough and lifting and stretching it, folding it over itself like a letter. Do this for all 4 sides. Brush flour off the dough as you fold over the sides that were in contact with the bed of flour. You don't want to incorporate much flour into the dough as you fold. After folding, shape it gently back into a rectangle or square, spray it with a light coating of olive oil or some other oil spray, and dust very lightly with flour. Then cover it with plastic wrap, and drop a towel over it. If the dough seems a little stiff at this point, it unfortunately probably already doesn't have enough water in it. You can put it back in the mixer and add 1 oz of water and try again. Or, soldier on and adjust your water next time. Repeat the folds approximately every 45 minutes two more times. If the dough seems very resistant to stretching, only fold it from two directions instead of four. You don't want the dough to get really stiff from too much folding. The amount of folding you will need will be more if you have more water and less if you have less water. Note that even an ounce can make a very big difference in the consistency of the dough. After three folds, let the dough rise for another 1.5 to 2 hours, at which point, the dough should have doubled roughly in volume. Use the "poke test" to get a feel for how long to continue the bulk fermentation.

Shaping:

Line a standard (the ones that are about 17 inches long and 13 inches wide) baking sheet with parchment paper and spread about 1/4 cup of olive oil over the parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the sheet. Spread the dough out by dimpling it systematically with your finger tips, pressing down firmly into the dough with all ten fingertips, and slowly getting the dough to spread out in the pan. Don't stretch the dough, just dimple it by pressing into the dough vertically with your fingers. If necessary, wait 10 minutes for the gluten to relax, if it won't spread out enough to fill the pan at first. As you do the dimpling with your fingers, work about another 1/3 cup of olive oil into the top of the dough by spreading it over the top of the dough as you dimple away. Once the dough has  spread all the way out and nearly fills the corners, you can cover it with saran wrap.

Final Proof:

Let the dough rise for about 2.5 hours, until it is puffy and has increased significantly in volume. With this sourdough version it may not rise above the lip of the pan, but it should come close. If it rises unevenly, you can dimple the high sections again periodically to even out the height of the dough across the whole pan. I actually let this one rise almost 3 hours. It finally seemed to relax and rise around 2.5 hours, so I went ahead and tried baking it. As I mentioned before, the result wasn't quite as open of a crumb as I hoped, but it was fine - next time a little more water, and it will be better.

Prepare to Bake:

Preheat oven to 500F. Remove plastic wrap, and use your fingers to spread about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt evenly over the dough. Don't use more than 3/4 tsp of salt, or it will come out too salty. Spread the salt with your fingers by holding the 3/4 tsp of salt in your palm and picking up pinches of salt and slowly spreading it over the dough. Again, it's important to get it spread evenly in just the right amount, and that is very difficult to do unless you measure out 3/4 tsp of kosher salt and then spread it in small pinches very evenly over the whole surface.

Bake:

Place pan in the oven and lower temperature to 450F. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the internal temperature is around 207F (I'm near sea level), rotating it after about 9 minutes. You can bake longer to get a darker, harder crust. Actually, I think this KA organic artisan AP flour may benefit from a little bit of added diastatic malted barley flour, as the breads I baked with this flour today were more pale than previous results with KA AP or KA Bread Flour combinations. I don't think I overproofed them, but maybe that's a factor. The focaccia should spring up from their "flattening" with your fingertips, such that not much evidence is left of the dimples you made with your fingers.

Cool:

Let bread completely cool, if you can stand to wait.

This bread is especially good for breakfast lightly toasted or heated with a little butter and/or honey. The mixture of salt, sourdough flavor, and the sweetness of the raisins is delicious.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough Ciabatta 

 Sourdough Ciabatta CrustSourdough Ciabatta Crust: Sourdough Ciabatta Crust

Sourdough Ciabatta CrumbSourdough Ciabatta Crumb

Sourdough Ciabatta Crumb (lengthwise slice)Sourdough Ciabatta Crumb (lengthwise slice)

Sourdough Ciabatta w/Olive OilSourdough Ciabatta w/Olive Oil

One of the favorite family breads seems to be ciabatta, and this sourdough version is clearly preferred (wolfed down) by my kids for its flavor. I've achieved a little better crust and crumb with yeasted versions, particularly the one in Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking", but the sourdough flavor is hard to beat, especially with salty grilled left over meats in sandwiches. The recipe is loosely based on the BBA (Reinhart) "Poolish Ciabatta", as well as incorporating ideas from Maggie Glezer's version in "Artisan Baking".

This is a work in progress, but I like the way this one turned out. The flavor is a little mild, which may mean I need to lengthen and/or retard the fermentation, or maybe use somewhat more ripe starter, an exercise for future attempts.

Many thanks to various contributors to this site as always, and especially in this case to Zolablue, who encouraged me to pay more attention to ciabatta with some just great photos and discussions about how to achieve better holes in ciabatta through hydration, proper handling, and flour choice, all of which were used here.

Photos of process have been posted for this ciabatta and a sourdough raisin focaccia I made at the same time. A spreadsheet is also posted showing weights in ounces or grams.

Starter:

  • 16 oz BBA style barm fed w/KA organic AP flour (1:1 by weight flour:water)

The day before this bread was baked, I took my "BBA style barm", a 100% hydration starter fed with KA Bread Flour, out of the refrigerator. I fed it 1:2:2 (starter:flour:water) three times over the course of the day at room temperature, which refreshed the starter and built enough starter for this recipe, the sourdough raisin focaccia I also made the next day, as well as some left over to return to storage in the refrigerator. The larger amounts were made by feeding with KA organic AP flour, to convert to KA organic AP flour, a choice of a slightly lower protein flour that should be good for irregular, large holes and artisan style bread.

Dough:

  • 16 oz 100% hydration starter using KA organic AP Flour
  • 15 oz KA organic AP Flour
  • 2 oz KA Rye Blend Flour
  • 12 oz water
  • 0.5 oz salt (14 grams)

Autolyse:

Mix the flours and water together in a bowl (I used a dough hook for this). Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Mix:

Mix flours and water above with the 16 oz of starter, 0.5 oz salt, and mix for a couple of minutes - just long enough to thoroughly mix the starter and salt with the flour and water from the autolyse step. The dough should be quite "wet", meaning it will not clean the bottom or even much of the sides of the mixer bowl. It should be fairly sticky and already have a fair amount of gluten development.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding: (about 4.5 hours)

Make a fairly thick bed of flour on the counter about 12 inches square. Using a dough scraper, pour the dough out into the middle of the bed of flour. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then, fold the dough by flouring or wetting your hands, then grabbing one side of the dough and lifting and stretching it, folding it over itself like a letter. Do this for all 4 sides. Brush flour off the dough as you fold over the sides that were in contact with the bed of flour. You don't want to incorporate much flour into the dough as you fold. After folding, shape it gently back into a rectangle or square, spray it with a light coating of olive oil or some other oil spray, and dust very lightly with flour. Then cover it with plastic wrap, and drop a towel over it. If the dough seems a little stiff at this point, it unfortunately probably already doesn't have enough water in it. You can put it back in the mixer and add 1 oz of water and try again. Or, soldier on and adjust your water next time. Repeat the folds approximately every 45 minutes two more times. If the dough seems very resistant to stretching, only fold it from two directions instead of four. You don't want the dough to get really stiff from too much folding. The amount of folding you will need will be more if you have more water and less if you have less water. Note that even an ounce can make a very big difference in the consistency of the dough. After three folds, let the dough rise for another 2.5 to 3 hours, at which point, the dough should have doubled roughly in volume. Use the "poke test" to get a feel for how long to continue the bulk fermentation.

Shaping:

Divide the dough into four pieces of equal size, roll them in the bed of flour to dust the cut ends, and let them rest a few minutes. To shape, take one of the four pieces, stretch it out and roll it or fold it over itself very gently. With ciabatta this amounts to a gently stretch and fold like a letter. You want to create some tension in the surface of the dough by folding it over itself that way, then if you place the dough folds down on a couche, it will seal up the seams. Use the couche to create folds for the ciabatta and then nestle the folds between supports, such as bags of flour or whatever system you may have similar to what you might do for baguettes.

Final Proof:

Let them rise in the couche for about 2.5 hours, until they are puffy and have increased significantly in volume.

Prepare to Bake:

Preheat oven to 500F (yes, you can probably do it without preheating, as mentioned elsewhere on the site, but it's not what I did this time). While that is going on, take each loaf out of the couche, gently stretch it in one direction by about double, lay it on a peel, maybe with parchment paper underneath, maybe sprinkled with corn meal or similar, and use your fingertips to flatten out the loaf. You can press down fairly firmly to feel the peel underneath. It sounds crazy, but the loaf will bounce back just fine in the oven if it is not overproofed. This step is important to avoid "separation of crust and crumb" or "one gigantic hole" instead of many holes. It also evens out the loaf so it has a nicer shape after baking.

Bake:

Place loaves in the oven and lower temperature to 450F. Bake for about 13 minutes, until the internal temperature is around 207F (I'm near sea level), rotating them after about 9 minutes. You can bake them longer to get a darker, harder crust. Actually, I think this KA organic artisan AP flour may benefit from a little bit of added diastatic malted barley flour, as the breads I baked with this flour today were more pale than previous results with KA AP or KA Bread Flour combinations. I don't think I overproofed them, but maybe that's a factor. The loaves should spring up from their "flattening" with your fingertips, such that not much evidence is left of the dimples you made with your fingers.

Cool:

Let bread completely cool, if you can stand to wait.

This bread is especially good for sandwiches, sliced in half and then sliced along the "flat" direction to open up like a hamburger bun. It is great for burgers, steak sandwiches, ham, or just with olive oil and pepper.

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