Rescuing my BBA Ciabatta dough
I've made ciabatta only once before, using the recipe from "Bread" by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno. I had no problems with that recipe (that I know of), getting a feel for how its supposed to be slack and moist instead of firm and dense.
Yesterday I decided that I was going to make another ciabatta, using the recipe from BBA. I made up the poolish as directed, leaving it out for 4 hours until it got nice and bubbly then putting it in my fridge overnight as directed. This morning I took out the poolish an hour before making the dough to "take the chill off". When it was time, I mixed in the rest of the ingredients, using the "by hand" directions.
Well, it firmed up like a giant baseball. I was mixing it into a shaggy dough and as I was doing it I was dipping my hand in water as per directions all the time thinking "this is too dense..". I'm in no position to question *anything* in BBA, but there was no way this was a loose slack dough. It was dense as a rock.
Mentally shrugging it off as a "well, let's wait and see..", I moved the dough to the flour bed as described in BBA and tried to stretch and fold. There was no stretch. There was ripping and tearing, but no stretch. I did it anyway, and folded, but it looked like puff pastry. I oiled it and let it rest 30 minutes, looking up "BBA ciabatta problems" on google. I found that some people have had issue with this recipe, but I was already in the middle of this fiasco.
After the 30 minutes, it was still dense and hard, but I stretched (ripped and tore) and folded again. Then I noticed that the oil had mixed with the flour to create hard bits all over the dough. By now I was hating Peter Reinhardt.
I let it sit for 2 hours, hoping that it would slacken. In that time I moved it to what I was hoping were warmer and warmer spots in my house. I had it on my wooden dough board so the oven was out of the question. After the 2 hours, it hadn't done a thing. I put it on a parchment covered baking sheet, turned the oven on to 200 for 30 seconds, turned it off and stuck the dough in for another 30 minutes. Didn't do anything. At all.
By this point I was ready to throw it against the wall and stamp my foot in annoyance. Instead, 'cause I'm an adult :), I put the dough back on my now defloured dough board and kneaded it heavily, spraying with water every few turns to remove the caked on flour. It's still tearing, but less.
It's now sitting in a bowl on a 2 hour re- rise. My intentions towards this dough have changed. When it's done rising (if it rises), I'm turning it over onto a baking sheet and popping it into the oven as a rustic blob (or boule if it looks nice).
I am sharing this with all of you in case I go mental and really do throw it against the wall in frustration. I *had* good intentions. :D Needless to say, I doubt I'll be using this particular recipe again. I doubt it's the recipe's fault, but I have to blame someone and I really don't want it to be me. :D