The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ciabatta adapted from Hamelman's "Bread"

Franko's picture
Franko

Ciabatta adapted from Hamelman's "Bread"

 Ciabatta is another one of those breads that falls into the category of ones I seldom make, much like the baguettes I made recently and posted on in the [last entry] to this blog. Having had varying degrees of success and failure over the years, along with the fact Ciabatta isn't a particularly useful bread for my day to day sandwiches, I tend to give it a pass when deciding what to bake next. The baguette making I've been doing over the last few weeks however has given me some insight into working with our higher protein (13.3%) Canadian AP flour to achieve results similar to Ciabatta made with softer US AP or European flours. A very gentle hand in mixing, using a scant amount of yeast and a lengthy (22-24 hour) overnight cold fermentation have produced some good results so far. 

When I say “a very gentle hand in mixing” I mean almost a no knead type of mixing, combining the ingredients just enough to form a loose dough, with a few stretch and folds in the bowl during the doughs initial 1.5 hour 76F fermentation, and finally a light S&F on the bench before going in the fridge for the retarded fermentation. The dough was extremely slack after mixing, gaining some slight but noticeable strength during the S&F sessions. After the dough's 23 hour session in the fridge it was tipped out onto a well floured counter and allowed to warm up for an hour before scaling and shaping. From here on the procedure used for shaping and final proof were much the same as per Hamelman's or Suas directions, the dough placed in floured linen and left to rise for 90 minutes in the B&T proofer at 76F-78F/24.4C-25.5C . In the past I've always used silicone paper to transfer the loaves to before peeling them onto the stone, deciding this time instead to dust the peel with cornmeal in order to have as little as possible come between the sole of the loaf and the 485F stone. After the first 10 minutes of baking the oven was vented and steaming apparatus removed. The loaves had jumped nicely as hoped and looked well on their way to becoming decent Ciabatta. The oven temperature was lowered to 465F and the loaves rotated periodically for even colouring over the next 25 minutes before removing to a rack for cooling. The great thing about these types of breads is they're ready to eat just hours after baking, unlike sourdough/levain style breads or rye breads that often need a minimum of 24-30 hours cooling to properly set the crumb before slicing and allow flavours to develop. The volume of these loaves is deceiving compared to it's weight, which started out at roughly 550 grams and ended up at 348 grams, resulting in what I'd describe as air, contained within a bubble of gelatinized starch and coagulated gluten. This particular mix of ciabatta literally steamed itself from the inside out, creating a shiny open crumb to a degree I've never managed in the past. The flavour of the bread is good, quite good in fact, considering that I normally prefer breads with a more assertive flavour than an all white wheat mix can offer. The biga preferment used in this mix, along with the extended cold ferment contribute a faint sour background note to the overall flavour profile, without which I don't think the bread would be nearly as enjoyable to eat as it is. The texture of the bread I feel is it's strong point. With a crunchy, fly away crust and chewy crumb from the gelatinized starch, it's ideal for layering other flavours on top of. A good olive oil, ripe tomatoes, sharp cheese and salami are some obvious choices that come to mind, but good with so many types of food it's not surprising Ciabatta has become as popular as it is over the last twenty years or more. 

Additional photos and links to formula and procedure below.

Note: We'll be away for a few days visiting the wild West Coast of Vancouver Island and unable to respond to any comments after tomorrow and until we return on Thursday.

Cheers,

Franko

 

Link to working spreadsheet for Ciabatta with Biga Formula [here]

 

Link to procedure text for Ciabatta with Biga [here]

Comments

wally's picture
wally

Bravo Franko!  Beautiful ciabatta.  We make around 180# per day (1# loaves) using a poolish.  Fermentation is 3 hours with two folds.  We also use  a bit of milk and olive oil for preservation.  But your loaves are gorgeous.

Larry

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks , Thanks!

Hi Larry, 

We've never made Ciabatta loaves in our shop although we do make the buns. This is a real home style workaround of the bread and doubt the procedure would be practical on a commercial basis, but it does work. The Cdn. AP flour I used in this mix is from one of our small mills here in B.C. called Anita's Organics. It a mill that breadsong buys from and has recommended to me as having very good flour. I couldn't agree more, it's lovely stuff to work with and fairly reasonable price wise as well. Good to hear from you and thanks for your comments Larry.

Franko  

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Franko :^)
Your bread seems to perfectly answer the question, "What is translucent crumb?"   :^) 
(This is the most gorgeous ciabatta crumb I've ever seen!)
Love the dark brown, crisp-and-flavorful looking crust, and your description of the bake
("literally steamed itself from the inside out").
I am not surprised your bread has wonderful flavor - it looks like the fermentation was spot on -
must have allowed all of the beautiful flavor of the grain to shine!
This is such a beautiful bake - congratulations!
:^) breadsong


 

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi breadsong,

The crumb is by far the best for a Ciabatta I've ever managed to achieve, no doubt whatsoever. I'm so accustomed to kneading a dough to full development it's a difficult adjustment to make by letting the dough do most of the work, but I'm not arguing with payoff either. :^) Thanks for your recommendation of Anita's Organic flours. It's really top quality flour isn't it? Very nice to have this mill in our own backyard.

Many thanks breadsong!

Franko

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Like you, I rarely make ciabatta, but yours looks so damned nice I might grab the long-neglected can of dry yeast from the fridge and give it a go. It was your EVOO, tomatoes, sharp cheese and salami mention that did it! Love that shine about the crumb.

Enjoy your wild West Coast adventure!

Cheers
Ross

Franko's picture
Franko

Hiya Ross,

I'm sure a good number of us sourdough bakers have a can or jar of dry yeast stuffed in the back of our fridge that gets neglected over time. Lean prefermented doughs using commercial yeast have such a short shelf life compared to naturally yeasted doughs, they're really not practical for my bread needs most of the time. However they do deliver in terms of fresh flavour, so I try to remember I have that jar of IY to call on every so often.

We love getting over to the Coast. Always something new to discover whether it's on the beach or in either of the towns of Tofino or Ucluelet, both of which have some great places to eat. Fresh from the sea, and locally sourced organic meats and vegetables are common on the menus over there so it always a treat to visit. Hopefully I'll get some good photos of the area while we're over there to share in a future post.

Thanks for your comments Ross, cheers mate!

Franko

 

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Looks like a true clone of Hamelman's Ciabatta with poolish, Franko! That has to be one of the best ciabatta's i've ever seen here on TFL! Well done, Franko.

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Khalid! What a wonderful compliment to receive, much appreciated my friend. Hope your back treatment is going well and that we'll be seeing some of your lovely breads once again after you've made a  full recovery.

All the best,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

Just beautiful ciabatta, I agree with all the other fans above.

The flour must be sublime.   I note you quote the protein as 13.3%, yet your hydration totals less than 67%.   Even Hamelman makes it to 73%.   Like you I rarely make Ciabatta, and would cite lack of shelf-life as my reason as well.   When I do I use the Gilchester flour millled for this purpose.   It is so thirsty I take hydration to 85%.

There seem to be many different ways to make this bread.   But rarely is it solely naturally leavened.   I'm intrigued why you use a can of dried yeast from the back of your fridge ; surely you could blag some of the fresh stuff from work?

Have a really great holiday Franko

Best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy.

Thanks for your comments on the Ciabatta, very nice to hear!

The original hydration I had in mind was 74% but when I was adding the water in the beginning for autolyse I'd decided to hold back a portion until after the biga had been added and adjust it if needed at that time. I'ts a good thing I did otherwise I would have had soup on my hands rather than dough. Re; yeast- I can get fresh from work in 454 gram blocks if I want, and have done in the past. I stopped doing that though since I found my self throwing a good deal of it in the garbage because I wasn't using it quick enough, and I don't like freezing it. The IY I use is strong, keeps for ages, freezes well, and is inexpensive. For me the difference between the two in performance is minor.

There is a promise of some sun forecast  for tomorrow, but we're packing our rain gear as well. It's called the "Wet Coast" by Islanders for a good reason! It'll be good to get away regardless.

All the best Andy,

Franko

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Breathtakingly gorgeous, shiny, translucent crumb!  Wish I could reach in and enjoy a piece now :) 

Enjoy your trip.

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Julie! I wish I could pass you a slice of the bread as well, and perhaps one day the technology will exist :^) 

Thanks again for the kind words on the bread

Franko

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

ciabatta Franko!  If they get better than yours it should be illegal.  Very nicely baked.  Love the glossy crumb.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks alot, Franko, that is very thoughtful of you. I can't wait to fly back home and to my kitchen, and put my hands on some dough.

In the meanwhile, i'll enjoy your, and other posts here on TFL.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You appear to have achieved the Platonic ideal of "Ciabatta."

I trust it tastes as good as it looks.

Enjoy the coast!

David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

From what you describe and the photos..just delicious too!  Like you because of the shelf life, I don't often bake this bread..but I think everyone loves to eat a good Ciabatta just like your bake!  

Have a wonderful visit to the coast!

Sylvia

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful looking Ciabatta Franko....once in a while a little yeast goes a long way....

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I bet they are as light as air! Stunning translucent crumb with just the right amount of flour coating on the crust.

Your sandwich idea sounds spot on ... We have been eating hearty rye breads in our house for the past week ... your breads looks the polar opposite ... a summer bread!

Cheers,
Phil

LindyD's picture
LindyD

That photo of the crumb is textbook perfect, Franko.  The position and appearance of the alveoli is wonderful.  

A truly beautiful bake.

Gosh, I haven't made ciabatta in a few years.  Sure is tempting for a light summer meal.

Franko's picture
Franko

 

Many thanks to all of you for your kind and generous comments on the Ciabatta!

Had a great time out on the West Coast of Vancouver Island with no rain for 2 out of 3 days and even managed to track down a new source of organic grains and flours along the way. A photo to share below of Terrace Beach near where we were staying.

Cheers,

Franko

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Franko

What a beautiful ciabatta! Post some over to the UK please :). I also like the photo of Terrace Beach.

We have stayed at Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino a couple of times and the area is lovely, although we noticed that Tofino had become far more commercialised since our first visit in 2005! Ucuelet seems a bit of a dead and alive place compared to Tofino (and most other places in the civilised world) :) ! Still, the Island is a great place to be, you are very lucky to live there!

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Ruralidle,

Thanks for the compliments on the Ciabatta! 

 I suppose we get out there often enough that I haven't really noticed much change in  the town of Tofino itself as far commercialization over the last several years. Sure there are lots of fishing charters, whale watching and other types of eco-tourism venues sprouting up, but thankfully no shopping malls, or high-rise hotels, nor do I think there will be in my lifetime.  However I have noticed a lot more construction going on in Ucuelet. New boutique hotels, condos, dining spots, and upscale housing going in so it appears that the entrepreneurs and developers are focusing more in that area than Tofino these days. The Island is a great place to live but I wouldn't mind spending my winters somewhere in the warmth and sunshine either.

Cheers,

Franko

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hello Franko

Our first visit was in 2005 and our next (and most recent visit) was 2009. There seemed to have been quite a bit of "urban sprawl" around Tofino between our visits and the town had lost its "quaintness" and frontier feel. I have noticed, online, the changes at Ucuelet but we didn't visit in 2009. Perhaps that will become the west coast destination when we come again.

I thought that the climate on Vancouver Island was generally similar to Britain (except for the wet west coast - the temperate rain forest is amazing) with winter temperatures in the +10 to -10 celcius range. So no great extremes like Steelchef experiences in northern BC or the heat and humidity of Darwin in Australia. Am I correct in my understanding or is Vancouver Island a little less hospitable in the winter?

Your adventures with durum wheat flour have encouraged quite a few of us to try that flour and my version of the Pane Tipo di Altamura is a real hit with the family. I use at least 90% durum wheat flour and although I only make an overnight biga and use commercial yeast the flavour is very noticeable, distinctive and pleasant so Thank You very much.

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Ruralidle,

The first time I visited Tofino was back in the 70's for a friend's wedding. "Quaint" barely describes how the town was back then. When I moved to the Island back in the 90's and paid my second visit to Tofino, the changes to the town and Long Beach area were startling. So many resorts lined the highway/road that connect Tofino and Ucluelet where only one to speak of, the original Wickaninnish Inn existed before, it was a bit disappointing to see all that development in such a pristine setting. The upside is that it's provided an enormous boost to the local and Provincial economy from the investments and much needed employment opportunities with the decline of the forestry and fishing industries over the past 20 years. It's a trade-off that the residents have done a good job of keeping in check I believe through local planning commissions. 

 It's true, the overall climate here on the Island is pretty moderate most of the year, nothing like they have in Northern B.C. or even the Southern Interior for that matter. I'm just getting to an age where I find the cold, damp, and dark of winter less tolerable every year. Becoming a snowbird for a month or two during winter holds more and more appeal for me as retirement approaches.

I'm glad you were able to take some inspiration or encouragement from the posts I did using durum flour. Durum flour has some characteristics that need to be recognized in order to get a good loaf, but certainly worth the effort as you note.

Best wishes,

Franko 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

... thanks for sharing :^)

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Sylvia

verve's picture
verve

Hi guys,

I'm a passionate cook new to sourdough bread making. ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! but I have a lot of gaps to fill which I'm doing by looking at lovely blogs like this one!! I just wanted to know, where on this site can I find out information on how to understand your charts? I see that every blog has very similar charts but I dont understand the procedure. I have no problem with the ingredients and amounts, Im just not sure about the step by step process? It's almost like you all know what the process is already and you just need the numbers?

HELP PLEASE :)

 

Amazing photos by the way!! making me hungry :)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

At the bottom of his original post, there are two links.  One is for the spreadsheet of ingredients, which it appears you have already looked at.  Beneath the link to the spreadsheet is another link that takes you to his process description.  If there are terms there that aren't familiar to you, let us know which and people will jump in to help you.

Paul

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Verve,

Glad you liked the post and thanks for your comments!

As Paul indicates (thanks Paul!) the link to the procedure is bracketed in red at the bottom. It's not very often I see a formula posted on this site that doesn't have the procedure to go along with it included in some fashion, but not everyone does it the same way..viva la difference! If you don't already have a good baking book to reference and study, I definitely recommend getting one. My personal favourite is Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread", but many folks on the site like Peter Rheinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" feeling it's more suited to someone just starting out. If you can find copies of these two in the local library check them out and see which you prefer before making a purchase. Either one will go a long way towards helping you learn the language of bread. As well this site has a wealth of information accessed by using the search bar at the top left of the page, and as Paul mentions no shortage of people willing to answer any and all questions you might have. Welcome to TFL!

Best Wishes,

Franko 

verve's picture
verve

not quite sure how i managed to miss that :)

 

 

thanks so much for hte info guys, you're all very helpful!! Can't wait to try this one :)

 

Do any of you maybe have a an image at hand of your starter when it is ready to be mixed with flour and water, or ready to be mixed for the biga? I think my starter is strong but I'm not sure because I haven't found a site the shows starter images in detail and in different states. I have lots of bubbles but very small ones all over the starter and yes it does double, but in google images i've seen starter with HUGE bubbles in them...which I never get in mine?