The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ciabatta bread

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Mike Como's picture
Mike Como

ciabatta bread

Just made my first loaves of ciabatta bread this afternoon and was very very pleased with everything.  One thing I noted is that most of the larger holes that make the crumb typical of ciabatta almost all ended up at the top of the loaf, while the smaller holes all ended up at the bottom.  I'm wondering if this is just not enough folding before the final proof before baking, or there is something else going on.   Any help is greatly appreciated. thanks

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Mike,

It sounds like one of two things, or, a combination of both.

Firstly a great deal of care is needed in handling the dough pieces when scaling and shaping them.   If they become disturbed, then the large air bubbles will break down, and all the gas will gather in very large pockets near the top of the crumb.

Secondly, overproof will have a similar effect.

Fear not, all this will come with practice; they are not easy skills to master.   It sounds like you have achieved plenty in mastering the earlier parts of the process, learning to handle wet dough through mixing and the stretch and folds.

Best wishes

Andy

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Just before they go into a very hot oven, flip the loaves upside down and then lightly poke them all over with your fingers.

Expect many to say that I'm nuts on this point. If they do, I blame Nancy Silverton, who taught it to me.

ananda's picture
ananda

Thomas, that's not nuts, but it sounds more like making foccacia than ciabatta to me?

BW

Andy

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Just checked to make make sure. It's on p. 108 of La Brea, her rustic bread/ciabatta recipe. The foccacia recipe is a few pages over and doesn't call for flip and dimple.

I'm glad it wasn't foccaccia, having used the technique for years. T'would have been quite funny, especially because of my post a couple days ago about actually getting ciabatta right for once. 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

When I don't flip and dimple, my ciabatta turn out like this, which I think is what Mike Como is getting too.

I call this ruined ciabatta, with big holes at the roof and small ones at the floor.

Mike Como's picture
Mike Como

Yes, this is similar to what I got although it still tastes wonderful.   I think I also overproofed a bit in the end and will shorten the time a bit, and also try "flipping" my bread upside down right before going into the oven.  I did "dock" or dimple the loaves a bit but was maybe a bit too delicate, and didn't deflate enough of the gas.    Thanks for all your help guys.  Looking forward to the next try!   Happy baking.

swtgran's picture
swtgran

Doesn't flipping it redistribute the holes through out the loaf?  I thought that was the reason I was  doing it.