The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ciabatta and Bread Board

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holds99

These are ciabatta loaves I made using Rose Levy's Bread Bible recipe.  She doesn't call for "stretch and fold" in her recipe but I did 3 very gentle stretch and folds during proofing, then divided the dough into 4 equal pieces and it seemed to give the loaves better rise and crumb.  The dough is very wet so I very lightly floured the work surface and top of the dough when doing "stretch and fold" (be careful with the amount of flour used to dust the dough or it will leave tell tale lines embedded in the interior of final loaf).  I very lightly dusted with flour before each of the 3 "stretch and fold" procedures (at 30 minute intervals).  Some folks use water on the counter and water on their hands but I found this dough to be so wet that if you use water you destroy some of the air bubbles that is so important for the light airy texture you're trying to achieve.  Anyway, after final proofing I divided and shaped them (her recipe is for 1 loaf, I made 4 loaves) for final proofing on parchment lined baking pans placed, coveded with a large clear rectangular plastic storage bin that accomodates two baking pans containing the 4 loaves.  I think the "stretch and fold" technique helped produce a better, more open crumb in the ciabatta loaves and gave them better oven spring.

 

Ciabatta Loaves No 1Ciabatta Loaves No 1

 

 

Ciabatta Loaves No 2Ciabatta Loaves No 2

I had mentioned previously, in a response to a question re: getting the ciabatta loaves off the work surface and onto a parchment lined pan or baking stone, that I made a bread board using a legal size clip board with the clip hardware removed.  My wife purchased a pair of panty hose for the project and here's a photo of the front side of the bread board with the panty hose stretched over the surface.  It works well with wet dough, as the dough doesn't stick to the nylon.  I moved the loaves from the work surface onto the nylon covered bread board and then onto parchment lined bread pans for final proofing.  This photo below (Bread Board No 1) is the work side of the board, where the loaf is placed on the board.  It is hard to see but the board is covered with the nylon hose.  If you wanted to make a longer bread board (and have an oven that will accomodate longer loaves) you could use thin plywood cut to the size you need and sanded to take of the rough edges after cutting the shape.

 

Bread Board No 1Bread Board No 1

 

The photo below is the back side of the bread board, with the nylon hose tightly pulled across the front side of the board and tied on the back side.  You could, if you wish, tape the back side with packing tape.  I didn't bother and it works fine.  I also use the board for baguettes (up to 18 inches long) and batards, when removing them from the couche and placing them onto parchment lined pans.  During the final 10 minutes of baking they can be removed from the parchment line baking pan(s) and placed directly on the baking stone to finish out the baking phase, if one wishes to use the stone as the preferred method.  After use I let the board dry completely at room temperature, dust off the excess flour and store it in a plastic bag for the next use.

Bread Board No 2Bread Board No 2

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