The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Preface to first ever ciabatta

Janet Campbell's picture
Janet Campbell

Preface to first ever ciabatta

This is a little preface to our first ever ciabatta. I/we have been baking now for about three weeks. Found The Fresh Loaf and loved the site and ended up going through Floyd's lessons. Made baguettes and they turned out great. Made cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread yesterday and that also turned out. We're having it for breakfast this morning with cafe americanos... yum.


Anyway, my husband said since we're doing so well why not try a ciabatta. He fell in love with it when he was in Italy years ago and said why not try it. Even if we don't get the big holes it will probably taste just fine. So, we're making ciabatta.


Spent some time last night looking around the Internest and I have to say, it's a little like the "hunt and peck" method I first used to learn how to type. For every recipe I found there were different techniques for mixing and rising. Quite a few recipes needed a bread machine or mixer. We have neither so the hunt continued. Some said mix the dough then leave it for an hour. Degas and let rise again then shape and rise again. Some said mix dough, let rise, stretch and fold, let rise, stretch and fold again, etc. Some said the mix dough until it comes together then let rise. Some said mix the hell out of it until it's smooth and silky. Well, it was a bit frustrating.


But, I came back to my husband saying it's really only flour and from KAF to Mark at Back Home Bakery, all their breads ended up looking great. So, I decided to combine differen techniques with a KAF recipe. Mix until it comes together, let rise, stretch and fold twice then shape and rise. We'll see what happens.


So far so good. We made the starter last night and it looks just like the picture on the recipe. We've mixed and it's going through its first rise. The dough is sticky so I'm going to try and stretch and fold in the bowl and hope for the best. If it works out, I'll post pics later today.


Janet


PS - came across a video from Gourmet showing the slap and fold method for sweet bread. Truly amazing to see a sticky dough turn silky and the final breads and rolls looked amazing. I want to try that next :-)


 

mcs's picture
mcs

If your soon-to-come-out-of-the-oven ciabatta doesn't come out like you want OR you just want to try something different, why not try the Anis baguette recipe, but shape it into ciabatta instead of baguettes?  That would work for you, and you could do it without using a mixer doing the 'no knead' or 'French fold' or whatever it's called.


-Mark

Janet Campbell's picture
Janet Campbell

They are in the oven right now baking away. They didn't rise as much as I thought they should but when I put them on the baking stone and did the water thing they popped right up. My oven's not the best... when we renovate we will research best baking ovens. Can't wait for them to cool so I can peek at the insides.


Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Anis' baguett recipe. I'm just starting to snoop around this site but I found it and it looks amazing so that will be the next one I try. Makes me wish we had a bigger family close by so I could bake more often :-)


Thanks much,


Janet

Janet Campbell's picture
Janet Campbell

First ever ciabatta and I feel quite chuffed. Would like larger holes but I'll work on that. Tastes devine and went well with the pasta, parm and pinot we had for supper :-)


Thanks to Mark for suggesting Anis' french baguette recipe in the event this one didn't work out. I'll be trying that one soon.


Cheers,


Janet


scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Mark, its funny you should mention it because I am proofing Ciabatta from Anis' baguette recipe this very minute.   So, I obviously agree that is a good idea to try :-)


Scott


 

mcs's picture
mcs

Scott,
Although I suggested it, I haven't actually tried it yet, so I'd like to see how they turn out for you. The 'crumb' of the dough even when it comes out of the fridge looks very conducive to ciabatta dough.


-Mark

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Mark, here are a couple pictures (one loaf already half eaten - the kids love these):


 


Anis Ciabatta


 



Now that I have made these I should probably read a ciabatta recipe to figure out the subtle details of that style.  These guys I made just like the dmsnyders Anis ficelles recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9839/ficelles-made-anis-bouabsa039s-baguette-formula) but just divided into two not four.  The loaves are softer and more moist than the ficelles due to the thicker size; we have a store-bought ciabatta and they taste similar to me (well I have to immodestly say I like mine better!)


Scott


 

mcs's picture
mcs

Scott,
Looks like the crumb is nice and open.  The coloring on the 'flesh' inside, I believe is exactly the color that is described as 'cream colored' in baguette and ciabatta recipes.  Nice job.


-Mark

scottfsmith's picture
scottfsmith

Thanks Mark.  I think this recipe is worth making into a keeper, I am next going to read a ciabatta recipe and see what if any is different there.  The only reason why I made these is I was fermenting dough for ficelles but my wife wanted ciabatta.


Scott


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Scott.


I'd call those ciabatti a success, for sure. Hmmm ... Since they were made with a recipe from a Parisian boulanger, maybe they should be called "pains rustiques," but who cares?


I've made whatever you call 'em both with the Anis Bouabsa formula and with the very similar Phillipe Gosselin approach. Both involve long, overnight cold fermentation. The resulting bread has the taste and the cool mouth feel of ciabatta, especially Gosselin's.


It's my impression that real Italian ciabatti are made with a biga. Gosselin's formula is sort of like this, except the "biga" contains 100% of the flour and water. 


Ain't it fun!


David