The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ciabatta Technique

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Ciabatta Technique

 Hello AllI would just like to thank the member who posted their technique for making a decent ciabatta.  If I could relocate the post I would assign you all to read it, its make the lightbulb go on stuff.  Before reading this post my ciabattas were nothing more than 2 inches of standard french bread with a single seperated bubble/membrane/cave on top.  The post stressed you want the "finished" loaf to be 2 inches thick and emphasized dimpling and pushing the dough out an inch or so thick.  In the past I would proof it in a couch supporting the sides thinking it would lead to all those great bubbles.  This one I let proof without any support.  I also was impressed that the post made their ciabatta at 72% hydration (memory?)  I always was at 80%.  Bottom line is my technique was bad.  This ciabatta is 75% hydration, three folds, dimpling/pushing to make the dough 1 inch thick proofed and baked.  I also baked this dough using the no preheat method.  1/3 cup water on floor of oven, place on middle rack, "no" baking stone, turn oven on to 525 for 10 minutes and down to 440 for remainder of time.  Thanks again for the help.Da Crumb Bum

 Hello All

I would just like to thank the member who posted their technique for making a decent ciabatta. If I could relocate the post I would assign you all to read it, its make the lightbulb go on stuff. Before reading this post my ciabattas were nothing more than 2 inches of standard french bread with a single seperated bubble/membrane/cave on top. The post stressed you want the "finished" loaf to be 2 inches thick and emphasized dimpling and pushing the dough out an inch or so thick. In the past I would proof it in a couch supporting the sides thinking it would lead to all those great bubbles. This one I let proof without any support. I also was impressed that the post made their ciabatta at 72% hydration (memory?) I always was at 80%. Bottom line is my technique was bad. This ciabatta is 75% hydration, three folds, dimpling/pushing to make the dough 1 inch thick proofed and baked. I also baked this dough using the no preheat method. 1/3 cup water on floor of oven, place on middle rack, "no" baking stone, turn oven on to 525 for 10 minutes and down to 440 for remainder of time. Thanks again for the help.

Da Crumb Bum

Floydm's picture
Floydm

That is a beautiful ciabatta.

This may be the thread you were referring to. I think your loaf came out even prettier though.

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Floydm

Thanks for the complement.  I could not have done it without your excellent post.  Yes that is the post I was refering to.  I think it should be referred to as ciabatta 101.  Thanks Again

Da Crumb Bum

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

Last night i tried ciabattas, using the BBA method.  They looked like just hoagie buns, maybe i let to much out, degassing.  They were great though.  They had that nutty taste that was out of this world.   Tonight we made them into hoagies on purpose.

 

Tomorrow i'll pay more attention to the water amount, folding, and shaping.  Do you think the Vital Wheat Gluten, hurt any?  We added a couple of teaspoons, last night.

 

jeffrey

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I agree 100% on the conclusions you made.  I made Reinhart's mushroom ciabatta this weekend and it came out beautiful, no more big cavern under the top crust.  The keys are definitely keeping the hydration right around 75% combined with making sure the dough is dimpled/shaped/pressed down to 1" thick or less prior to the final ferment.  In the final stage of baking, the protein (gluten) shrinks.  With thicker loaves, you get more oven spring.  I think what happens with ciabatta that is made a little too thick is that you get a lot of oven spring early in the bake, then the crust hardens up first, then the internal dough mass shrinks too much during the final stage of the bake and tears away from the crust.  Making the loave thinner reduces the dough volume, the amount of oven spring, and the amount of final (internal) shrinkage thereby preventing the 'tearing away' from the top crust.  I'll bet that if you baked a ciabatta at a cooler temperature, like 350 F instead, that you'd never have the "baker's bedroom" problem and that you would not have the open hole structure either.  My mushroom ciabatta this weekend was a great test and couldn't have turned out any better ...perfect 1-3/4" to 2" final thickness, nice crumb with hole sizes varying from small to large, holes distributed nicely, etc.


Brian