The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ciabatta not browning, help

tinmanfrisbie's picture

Ciabatta not browning, help

So I tried making some ciabatta bread from Peter Reinhart's The Breadmaker's Apprentice.  I had to change a few things but am unsure if these were things that ultimately affected the browning.  Considering it was my first artisan bread that I've tried, it tasted pretty good.  Listed below are some of the deviations I made:

1.  Used active dry yeast instead

2.  Did not have a vegetable oil spray on hand, so I used Pam to coat

3.  Had to use the bottom of a large jelly roll pan to cook the bread on instead of a stone

4.  Water pan was on top shelf instead of the bottom

These are the main changes that I made.  Don't get too mad at me for these deviations, it's what I had to work with.  FYI, I used King Arthur's unbleached flour.  Any other questions, feel free to ask.  Thanks!

neoncoyote's picture

I recall a batch of my sourdough that was seriously under-browned, which I attributed to over-proofing; come to think of it, it had little oven spring and turned out rather flat, too. Something about the sugars in the dough being necessary for browning, and my overproofing using them all up, or some such. 

Another thought is your oven temp. Since it's ciabatta and you can't judge by oven spring whether you proofed too long, perhaps your oven wasn't hot enough, or you were baking on one of the lower racks, where the oven is cooler?

patrick.h's picture

Hi, forgive a newby butting in, but i think you will find that ciabatta bread is quite pale in colour after baking. I would suspect that were it to colour like normal baked bread, it would be nothing like the original slipper bread,


kindest regards



alabubba's picture

Ciabatta is a very lean bread, No fat, or sugar. I would not expect it to brown, Just a nice tropical tan ;o)


tinmanfrisbie's picture

I may have proofed it a little too long, and I've heard the oven temp needs to be really hot and then sustained for 30-45 minutes before using to ensure it's at the proper temperature.  I was comparing to a local artisan bakery that browns theirs quite nicely, so I'm not as familiar with what a home baked version should look like.  For all I know, they're cheating and washing it wish egg before baking or something.  Thanks for the responses so far!

Nickisafoodie's picture

I do not have PR's book.

When I look at at "Local Breads" by Dan Leader, he uses 475 degree oven and preheats one hour.

Hamelman's recipes ("Bread") uses 460 degrees. 

So perhaps the preheating is not long enough?  Try one hour preheat, make sure your oven is calibrated correctly by using a themomenter.  And give it another whirl!  And steaming ehances crust color (p26 Hamelman)...  You've inspired me to do a Ciabatta bake!

Hope this helps...

tinmanfrisbie's picture

Thanks!  I'm thinking it's either the temperature or the too long proofing.  The more info I can get helps me out alot.