The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flavor Question

flournwater's picture

Flavor Question

A bread making novice, I've recently been experimenting with Ciabatta bread.  Here's my most recent result.

I have found that I prefer working from a 50% hydration biga foundation and the results have been satisfying  -  except for the flavor.  The bread flavor is OK but not quite what I had hoped for.  Is it because Ciabatta is somehow less flavorful than other breads?  Is it the milk to water ratio in the recipe?  I'm curious to learn what element(s) in the Ciabatta bread preparation might be the greatest contributors (or detractors) from the best possible flavor.

Along with the common ingredients (i.e. water, flour, etc.) I use active dry yeast, whole milk, table salt, no oil.

xaipete's picture

I don't use milk in my ciabatta, but its hydration level is 80%. The ingredients I use for different types of French bread, ciabatta, focaccia, etc., are all the same (water, flour, yeast, salt), however, they do differ with respect to hydration level.

It is amazing to me that all these different breads have different tastes. I have pondered why and assume it must have something to do with the amount of water aside from the obvious different handling methods.

Your ciabatta looks very nice--great structure, holes, etc. Great picture too.


Janknitz's picture

I made an "accidental ciabatta" this weekend. 

I intended to make a boule from my ABin5 dough, but I forgot to turn the oven on at the proper time for preheating.  So my poor boule over-proofed.  It flattened out somewhat and had huge air bubbles.  It still had good spring in the oven, but came out looking more like a ciabatta than a boule.  It had great flavor  and huge, lovely holes. 

This ABin5 dough was about 3 days old at that point.  I know traditional bread makers disparage ABin5 methods, but it is a highly hydrated dough with a very long retard, and I think the flavor develops very nicely.

So my suggestion for flavor development might be to retard the dough in the fridge for a period of time (10 to 12 hours?) and see if that brings you the flavor you are looking for.  I always proof at least once in the fridge for even my traditional doughs and I think it really enhances flavors.