Learning Hamelman's Ciabatta
I'm now retired and a complete neophyte at baking. I'm slowly working my way through Jeffrey Hamelman's wonderful book.
Today is my third attempt at making the beginner's Ciabatta with Poolish. I'm gradually beginning to see the light on the subject of folding. The previous two attempts were highly edible (after scraping off the burnt crusts -- I still don't understand steaming) but not anywhere near acceptable.
One of the mistakes I'm making is to assume things that simply aren't there when reading the recipes. For instance, in both previous attempts, after dividing and pre-shaping the Ciabatta's and letting them rest for about 10 minutes, I went ahead and shaped them into an oval loaf (page 71) before the final 1 1/2 hour fermentation. On re-reading the recipe this morning, I realized that it makes to mention of this kind of shaping, but just suggests pulling the dough into a rough rectangle before final fermentation.
So, is a Ciabatta not shaped at all after dividing?
Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.