The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

need advise on ciabatta

DanOMite's picture

need advise on ciabatta

So basically I would like some advise...

I want to make 1/2 white & 1/2 wheat cibattas for sandwiches....I really like the shape that Jmonkey used for the King Arthurs Ciabatta Integrale but want to use the recipe from P.R's. whole grain breads book "transitional rustic bread" recipe.

So my basic question is...unless I'm mistaken JMonkey used a "couche" for holding the ciabatta up & together while it was rising. I'm not sure what a real "couche" is....but I've got a flour/bread towel that I might be able to use...its not texured or anything its just smooth and flat...   so do you think this would work? If you think it would be ok to use the reinhart recipe in terms of hydration/not sticking??? do I use to towel/cloth in terms of making it stay in place to hold the loaf in place..and how do i go about transfering it out of the pan the towel is resting on/in and get it to the stone without a peel?

I would really appreciate anyones help on this and look forward to hearing from you all



Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Dan,

I can't answer your questions regarding specific recipes, only those having to do with couches.  A regular dish towel or tea towel should work fine as long as you cover the surface well with rice flour.  Place the loaves on the towel and pull up on the cloth to make a fold between loaves.  The weight of the loaves side by side against the cloth should give enough support on the interior folds, but for added support on the end folds, you can use anything heavy such as a couple of books or rolling pins. There are commercial flipping boards sold for the purpose of removing loaves from the couche, but you can use any thin, flat board (Julia Child used the bottom of a dresser drawer) or even a piece of stiff cardboard or smooth metal.  Some suggest covering the board with a nylon stocking to prevent sticking.  If you're using pans with rims to bake your bread, just be sure the length of the flipping board is long enough to accomodate the loaves, but shorter than the length of your pans.


ClimbHi's picture

I've developed a method for couching (if that's a word) high hydration loaves using parchment paper. No worries about sticking, flipping, etc. You can see it in another thread on this forum here:

Pittsburgh, PA

DanOMite's picture

thanks for the tips and help everyone, i'm gonna use the parchment paper technique and i'm gonna use some cereal boxes to hold up the dough

can't wait to see how this turns out!