Not Degassing the Ciabatta
I made my first Ciabatta last night, using the Biga recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice. They came out a little pale and bulge-y, but basically looking okay; the crumb, however, was way too tight. Any advice for shaping Ciabatta without losing all of the gas in the dough?
I found that the final stretch ("Lift the dough from each end and tug the dough out to a length of 9 to 12 inches") was the worst -- even applying lighter and lighter pressure on each successive loaf, they all seemed to completely deflate when tugged in the slightest. I was also confused by some of the pictures showing the shaping -- the "left to right" fold seemed another degassing culprit. Are the loaves supposed to rise in the clouche with the fold facing up, and then bake with the fold facing down (onto the stone)?
Any suggestions for successfully stretching, folding, tugging, and shaping, without degassing at the same time? Thanks!