The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Schumann's picture

Wet Dough

June 11, 2008 - 3:59pm -- Schumann

I've been trying to make ciabatta for almost two weeks now (this is the first time I've ever tried so obsessi determinedly to bake something), and I don't really understand what's happening with the dough.

Here's my attempt for today, which was much more successful than usual.


JuneHawk's picture

Too wet. Too dry. I'm doomed!

May 19, 2008 - 11:31am -- JuneHawk

So, a couple of days ago I posted about my failure with the Brianna's Pugliese recipe in The Bread Bible.  It was just too wet and didn't have enough flour so it flopped. 

Today I'm making the BBA's Poolish Ciabatta recipe and gosh darn it's too dry!  I added a bit more water towards the end of the kneading but didn't make much difference.  I did a search here now and I see I'm not the only one having this problem with this particular recipe.

Janedo's picture

baguette farciebaguette farcie

A big thanks to Eric (ehanner) for this great idea. These baguettes (baguette Monge recipe - quick to make) are filled with mountain ham, like serrano, ewe cheese and grainy mustard. The kids loved them! I made a sun-dried tomato, herb, olive oil, goat cheese, serrano one for me. Perfect picnic fair. I formed six small rectangles, lay the ham, cheese, etc in the middle and folded the sides up and rolled lightly to form a baguette. Just have to be carfeul not to roll the dough too thin. The seam on the bottom, then slashed before baking. 

pain épice T110pain épice T110

The breads were made using a firm starter that I fed to become stirrable in the evening, left out all night, then the dough made in the morn, baked in the afternoon (an initial 4-5 hr rise, then a 2-3). Half T65 and half T110. The T110 is a new brand I found. It's organic and stone-ground like the other but the bran is really small and you can't really see it, but the flour is sort of grey-beige. Really strange but it makes the best bread ever with a spicey, pain d'épice smell to it.  

pain romarin
pain romarin

I made Mike Avery's sourdough ciabatta that was a huge hit here. I have actually never tasted it but my italian friend said it was great! This bread I'm showing is based on the same technique, but I changed a couple things.

Rosemary-honey bread 

the biga (I made an orange size ball and left it out all night) didn't weigh it 

400 ml water

625-50g T65 (bread flour over there and maybe a bit more)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

2  tsp salt

2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

I don't know why but the bread was lighter in texture, almost like a yeast bread. Maybe because there was no milk and the honey helped? I have no idea but it was really GOOD! 

baguettes rustiquesbaguettes rustiques

These are the rustic baguettes from Glezer's Artisan baking. They were really good, but  it dawned on me that I'll never get those huge holes if I always use my organic T65 which isn't real white flour. I bought some T55 non organic to try one of these days but that breaks my heart a bit. It's just a challenge thing. I don't like baguettes that much really anyway! But any amateur baker wants to try and master them ... don't we?

I read an article about french flours and yeast. Did you know that most bakeries in France have a flour sponsor? They only use the flours from that supplier and they get great, light, holey baguettes because the flour has emulsifiers, and other additives. That's pretty icky in my books... and also my initial motivation for baking my own bread. But it's very much like the States, you have wonderful artisanal bakeries and so do we. They just have to be hunted down! I read an article yesterday about France's N°1 baker who makes the best baguette in France. His name is Anis Bouabsa and is from a family of Tunisian immigrants. He talks about using a very, very small amount of yeast and a long long rise (20 -30 hrs) but didn't say anything about builds. 

Have a nice Sunday!



Bushturkey's picture

Sourdough CiabattaSourdough Ciabatta

I used the recipe from Peter Reinhart "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" - the Biga version.

My Biga was my white sourdough, mixed with an equal amount of organic bread flour and some water to make a firm starter.

I used half the oil given in Reinhart's recipe. I proved it on a couche (well, I got a length of thick cotton table-cloth material from a textile shop and hemmed the edge).

I flipped it onto a polenta-dusted "peel" (actually the off-cut from the ceramic tile I used in my oven) and slid it directly on the hot tile. The bread Ballooned (?does this mean it was under-prooved?) and the top-being closest to the element, almost burned.

nosabe332's picture

first time ciabatta, autolyse, preferment questions

March 4, 2008 - 10:54pm -- nosabe332

hi all,

baker in oakland, calif. 

i recently renewed my interest in baking, but having lost interest in the more expensive form of pie-making, have decided to jump into bread-making.

 here's a picture of my ciabatta, made from this recipe:

 ciabatta number 1


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