The Fresh Loaf

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Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta from Artisan Baking- help with crumb?

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FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta from Artisan Baking- help with crumb?

This is from Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking.  Wonderful flavor, glossy sheen to the crumb and slightly chewy, can't wait to make it again.  The only issue I had was that the large holes were clustered just under the top crust, rather than being more or less evenly distributed throughout the crumb.  And the crumb in the bottom half of the loaf was more dense, with no large holes.  Anyone know how I might improve upon that?

My thoughts focused on either more aggressive dimpling, or on proofing less.  It's a yeast-leavened dough with a 24hr biga and a touch of whole rye and whole wheat.  My biga was supposed to triple in 24 hrs but only reached 2.5x by 28 hrs, by which time I went ahead with the recipe.

 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

There was a video, here and on the web, with Craig making this recipe. It is gone from here and the web also, as far as I know.

I think one important factor is to final proof the loaves upside down. When ready to bake, the loaves are then turned rightside up before baking. Of course, this is in addition to getting proficient in dimpling.

I do a couple of very similar recipes, and get pretty good results(Ciabatta Integrale here at fresh loaf, and KAF Panini Bread).

My 2 cents. Good luck.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I like this recipe because it involves shaping the dough. Actually shaping it how it should be done (business letter style). Not just cutting pieces of a big mass.

To be able to successfully shape a high hydration dough creating surface tension you need to build strength by performing a few strech and folds during bulk fermentation. Making it this way will solve your problem.

Unfortuately not many know how to handle ciabatta properly. 

Don't know if this is it but here is a video of Craig ponsford (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqGAnzBLXRk). You can see his ciabatta in it. This will give you an idea of how your dough should look.

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

mrfrost, thanks for the reply!  I did try to follow all the details in the recipe, so I did proof upside down (seam side down) and then gently flip (seam side up) for baking.  So maybe, as you suggest, it's the dimpling. 

mwilson, thanks also for the reply!  I performed three stretch-and-folds during the first fermentation, the recipe specified 3 or 4 turns.  Next try, I'll do all four turns per your suggestion.  The dough had firmed up so much after three that it seemed good to stop there.  Thanks for the Ponsford link, very enjoyable!

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi FlourChild,

How much of a mix/knead did you give it before beginning the bulk ferment and what temperature did you ferment it at?

I made Craig Ponsford's ciabatta recently here. I hand mixed mine ... I think I gave it three stretch-and-folds.

The flour I used had a protein level of around 11.5% so it is not overly strong.

I flip the dough before peeling into the oven and I am fairly aggressive with the dimpling too ... the dough recovers beautifully in a hot oven.

cheers
Phil

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

PiPs, your ciabatta looks perfect!  Gorgeous crumb, perfect crust.

Initial mix/knead was 5 min in a stand mixer with the paddle.  I was thinking the dough looked good at that stage, because there was a point near the 5min mark where it pulled off the side of the bowl and wrapped itself around the paddle- still super sticky and wet, but with enough gluten to hold itself together instead of just looking like a batter.

I have a proofer, so I fermented the biga 24 hrs at 75F (book said that most of the recipes were tested at this ambient temp), then set it to 80F for the next 4hrs as it had not yet tripled. 

Bulk ferment was at 80F, as was final proof.  Was hoping to have bread for dinner and with the extra four hours on the biga, I was running a bit behind.  It's possible that the bulk ferment went slightly past 2x, while the biga and final proof may have been slightly underdone.  But nothing was too far off the mark.

I also gave mine three stretch and folds, it had strengthened noticeably, so I stopped after three.

The flour I used for the AP portion was gold medal unbleached AP and for the bread flour was gold medal better for bread, neither is as high in protein as KAF equivalents.

Maybe it is only the dimpling?  Or do you think there may have been inadequate gluten development?  The crumb was definitely a little chewy, which made me think the gluten was enough.

 

 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Try it with just the GM Better for Bread(no GM AP). This will increase your protein levels to near the same general vicinity as Pip's. That's also what I use(GMB4B).

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

I'll try it again soon, sounds like I need to dimple more aggressively and use all GM better for bread flour.  I'll post back with results.

Any other thoughts, comments, welcome!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Are looking for a crumb like this?

For me this is the perfect ciabatta crumb. Even distribution of open holes amongst a finer crumb with no large holes under the crust which I hate! Also the elongated holes show there was good surface tension on the dough. The only downside is it's perhaps too perfect and resembles a factory made ciabatta.

Or do you want a crumb like this?

This is my "wild cibatta". Made the same way but perhaps over proofed. It had an enormous oven spring upwards. A well made ciabatta will have excellent oven spring, swelling like a balloon.

And finally my favourite ciabatta made with low protein (9.5) 00 flour. I prefer ciabatta made with less gluten. It was like eating a tender cloud! Perfect for a sandwich. I believe ciabatta should be made with a low gluten flour and certainly not high protein.

Well I hope you enjoyed. My additional advice would be to use a medium strength flour and develop the gluten fully (I always do but you don't have to, but it will help with your problem) When you stretch and fold the dough it's important not to start too late. The first fold should be performed as soon as it swells with micro bubbles. I also dot my fingers across the dough during these folds to iron-out any larger bubbles. Good luck...

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

mwilson, those all look great- I'm sort of drawn to the "wild" ciabatta.  Not sure if it's the lovely large holes or your name for it :)

What you say about the timing of the folds is interesting, I only remembered when reading your comment that the middle fold went to about 35" between folds, instead of the 20" specified in the recipe.   I'll remember to be careful about that when I make this again.

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Have you made ciabatta again? If so how did it turn out?