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Ciabatta ...awesome flavor but the crumb just isn't right...

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cakehead_bakery's picture
cakehead_bakery

Ciabatta ...awesome flavor but the crumb just isn't right...

Hi All - I'm new to posting in this forum - so I appologize up front if I'm in the wrong place.


All of my other master-pieces have come-out wonderful, with the exception of the Ciabatta. As the subject indicates - the flavor is superb - but the crumb is too tight - and resembles more of an italian bread then a Ciabatta...


I followed the BBA (poolish method) - all the steps were right on - no variations, and I didn't add any additioinal flavors (Rosemary, wild mushrooms...)yet!


Any insight on how to get that really wholey crumb would be greatly appreicatated!


Thanks!


PS - my barm is about ready - but she's not rising that much - but that will be another post when the sour dough flops...

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I just tried out the same method, with the same results. Even though my dough was sticky, I think that it was not moist enough to get really nice holes. For me, the main issue might have been that I don't have baking stone yet, so I did it on the pan (so no real oven spring).

Maverick's picture
Maverick

You need to be a member to see that recipe. I do have their book though, and they use a final hydration of 84% (112% hydration sponge followed by 70% hydration dough).


The way they describe this as almost batter-like, I can see that my dough was definately not wet enough. I wonder why the poolish version in BBA is so much dryer than the biga version.


Another note is that they said that over kneading the dough lead to a uniform crumb in their tests. Since I don't have a stand mixer, I am sure this was not my problem.

cakehead_bakery's picture
cakehead_bakery

Maverick - take a gander at this...was your's this wet? Mine wasn't...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq4dUB1vrQw


 


 


 

Maverick's picture
Maverick

No, it was not that wet. That is 80% hydration. The hydration for the BBA poolish version is closer to 44-53% hydration (I was on the low end here... please correct me if I am wrong). The biga version calculates to around 69-79%. I am thinking that I will try the biga version next time.


I used the lower amount of water called for. It felt sticky to me, but I guess it is supposed to be even wetter. This may have made it easier to mix in the bowl as described when kneading by hand. I found it difficult to do, so perhaps a wetter dough would be easier.


Next time I may try the food processor method (I don't have a stand mixer).

cakehead_bakery's picture
cakehead_bakery

I originally used the 6 tablespoons but thought it was dry - so I added an additional 3...- the formula (if i remember correctly) gives a range of water. i think it was still not wet enough. I took a look at the biga version and your calculations look right...i'm going to try that version on Sunday...


I do have a stand mixer - but i don't think that was the issue...the hydration was..


keep me posted on your success...

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Yeah, it seems that it should be closer to 80% hydration. I wonder if the poolish one is written wrong. Let us know how the biga version goes.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

It seems I made a math error. I recalculated the poolish version and it is 61% on the low end (3 oz water) and 73% hydration on the higher end (6 oz.)


To get it to 80% (actually 81%) you would need 8 oz (1 cup) of water in the final dough (with the poolish remaining the same). I might try this next time instead of my original plan. I may even go to 85% like others have done (9 oz water). But I have other breads I want to try first.

rainwater's picture
rainwater

I just checked Mark's tutorial for Ciabatta from his "Back Home" Bakery.  A couple of things that seem different about his Ciabatta.  It bakes up a bit more roundish, and the crumb is not neither very open or closed....rather balanced.  It looks delicious to me.  I personally don't bother about crumb so much....I strive for flavor and texture.  Large hole crumbs are photogenic, but when dipping in olive oil and sauces, you take the chance of dripping on your shirt or trousers, and the larger holed crumbs don't make for the best sandwiches.  Some recipes make more open crumbs than others for me, but I really just want my bread to be moist, tender, good chew, and something I like about my breads are that they are usually springy....hard to describe, but good springy is desirable for me.  

Maverick's picture
Maverick

It seems we are not alone in this issue. This was discussed here:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2117/ciabatta-challenge-bba-recipe


It does say in the sidebar of BBA that you can increase the hydration as you get more comfortable with wet dough. It also says that the stretching and folding is where the large holes are allowed to develop (from strengthening the gluten).

cakehead_bakery's picture
cakehead_bakery

I just spent the last 45 minutes reading that entire thread - thanks Maverick...I think i'm going to try to double the water in the final dough to 1 1/2 C - turn off the mixer and let sit and fold. I looks like you were on the right track with not using a mixer.

hazimtug's picture
hazimtug

Hi there... I had the same experience when I first tried the poolish version of BBA's ciabatta. Great flavor but much denser crumb, hence heavier bread than I expected... I had mixed everything by hand and did the folding too. It was the first time though I was handling such a wet dough. I will admit as well that I seem to have difficulty getting enough levaining power using yeasted pre-ferments, i.e., the poolish in this  case. I think that letting both the preferment and the bulk dough ferment just long enough while properly developing the gluten, i.e., folding, without much degassing are critical.


All that said, I was determined to get the BBA ciabatta right. So, I tried the same exact recipe, this time with some more experience with wet doughs, mainly from the first trial, and substituting the poolish with my powerful barm starter. I was so happy with the results (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11344/wild-ciabatta-cyprus). I should probably try the regular yeasted version again to see if I will be successful. If you have barm, try the recipe with that too.

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

I've been working on a Ciabatta recipe for a few years and recently have had a bit of a breakthrough (for me).  I have found that 81% hydration works real well for me (wet but still workable).  I also knead my doughs with my Kitchenaid mixer, and used to knead on a low speed all the time, but the wet doughs (like Ciabatta) were really hard to work with. 


For Ciabatta (and other wet doughs) I have found that starting to mix on a low speed to incorporate all the flour, and then turning up the speed to medium for a good 5-6 minutes, really gives me the texture needed to work with these wet doughs.


I've also noticed that I can keep adding a little water at a time to increase the hydration, and that the dough is just the right consistency to work with if it pulls away from the side of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom of the bowl.  This gives me a great crumb, with big holes and a crispy crust.