Ciabatta with Olive Oil & Wheat Germ based on JH's recipe
My breads are bipolar. One day they are soft, white & enriched, made in BM, cut into neat slices with help of a slicing guide, and exactly what kids' order and on another day they are made fully by hand, using any combination of flours that strikes my fancy, chock-a-block with seeds, nuts, dried fruits, meats, cheese and almost anything I like. I think I must be really going overboard with my bells & whistles as my husband sweetly told me yesterday that he loves all the breads which I make, but for one day could I make a simple crusty bread, without any seeds, nuts, et al. Hmm...
So I started rummaging through the tomes lying on my bed to select one that would have minimum ingredients. I realised that I have not made Ciabatta till now, so bread for the day will be just that. How many additions can ciabatta have? I short listed Jason's ciabatta from TFL, PR's ciabatta with poolish, JH's ciabatta with biga & Jim Lahey's ciabatta. But then I saw JH's Ciabatta with olive oil and toasted wheatgerm. Great! Just two more additions should keep me happy and not come to hubby's notice.
JH's recipe uses poolish. I had ripe levain of almost same quantity that of poolish. Both had equal hydration, so I decided to use levain in place of poolish. I kept the rest same as per recipe, but mixed by hand. I was not very happy with the hydration of the dough. So I went ahead and increased from 72% to around 85%. Once it became a gloopy mess, I was satisfied. Did 3 s&f in first 30 minutes and refrigerated the dough for overnight bulk ferment. Today morning allowed it to come to room temp & rise fully. It took just about 1 hour (tropics!). Quickly shaped the best as I could, put on parchment paper & covered with tea towel. The second proof was around 30 minutes. Baked at 460F on pizza stone for first 20 minutes, using foil container to cover (thanks to Floyd's tip) and then uncoverd it & baked for another 20 minutes at 440F.
This is the result :
Though my shaping skills are deplorable, the bread tasted awesome. The toasted wheatgerm was so much there yet not in your face and the EVOO left a nice aftertaste. The bread got torn into and demolished in no time. Made a ham sandwich with peri peri mayo for kids & for once they didn't ask why the bread was not soft & neatly sliced :)