The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Ciabatta

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Bushturkey's picture
Bushturkey

Sourdough Ciabatta

Sourdough CiabattaSourdough Ciabatta

I used the recipe from Peter Reinhart "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" - the Biga version.

My Biga was my white sourdough, mixed with an equal amount of organic bread flour and some water to make a firm starter.

I used half the oil given in Reinhart's recipe. I proved it on a couche (well, I got a length of thick cotton table-cloth material from a textile shop and hemmed the edge).

I flipped it onto a polenta-dusted "peel" (actually the off-cut from the ceramic tile I used in my oven) and slid it directly on the hot tile. The bread Ballooned (?does this mean it was under-prooved?) and the top-being closest to the element, almost burned.

Comments

holds99's picture
holds99

You did a great job.  Your loaf has great shape and nice interior.  I use Rose Levy's recipe (poolish) and get more spreading out of the loaf than you did.  I really like the looks of your ciabatta loaf...and the sourdough must make it taste very interesting.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Bushturkey's picture
Bushturkey

hi Howard.

My sourdough is not really that sour. I've been following Peter Reinhart's advice about doubling or quadrupling the volume of the seed culture to adjust the taste.

Because of work commitments, I only get to bake once a week (may be twice during a long weekend).

I actually only get to spend time with my seed culture once a week also (imagine if my seed culture was a child and I only ever spent time with him/her only once a week. I'd be in prison! I feel that badly about the lack of contact with my seed culture). So when I get home, I remove all but about half to one cup of seed culture and quadruple the recipe with bread flour and water. It usually turns into a sponge quite quickly and I have to refrigerate it or end up with the seed culture flowing onto the bench. I use it to build a starter after 24 hours and bake the day after. The dough is not sour at all but very well risen.

I experimented with Reinhart's "al ancienne" recipe, but with using 25% rye flour to make some baguettes (well, I tried to make some baguettes). The extra long fermentation time really transformed the flavour. I added some caraway seeds - just a few in the middle of my palm. The flavour of the grains was much more complex than what I've tasted before using the same flour.

I used the stretch-and-fold method during the pre-refrigeration phase of the primary fermentation. This tightened up the dough. I went bushwalking next day and the fermentation time was around 20 hours. The internal dough temperature registered 6.1 C (or 43 F), when I took it out of the fridge.

I stretched and folded it again (I probably shouldn't have done that) and then tried to shape the baguettes, but I had great trouble preventing the dough from opening up at the (now too many) seams. I ended up with 4 loaves that sort of looked like wounded baguettes (I'll add some pictures Thursday or Friday - I'm away at work again-sigh!).But the flavour was something else!

The other "trick" I tried was to have the steaming pan at the top of the oven - directly below the element. I did this because I've had the tops of my loaves burn previously. I lowered the shelf with the baking tiles to be in the lower third of the oven. The loaves didn't burn this time! Yipeee! I should've had the oven at a higher temperature (500 F instead of 400F), though.

holds99's picture
holds99

BT.

I really appreciate your posting and explanation re: "seed culture" I have been struggling with getting my starter to kick in and am so glad you explained how you do it.  I haven't been making my ratio of flour and water to starter ("seed culture") high enough, I haven't been quadrupling the flour and water to the "seed culture", which must account for why I've been having a problem.  Last time I ended up having to add some yeast to get it to rise after it had only risen 20% overnight. 

Like I said I do a good bit of baking with poolish and direct (yeast only) methods but haven't done much with sourdough for a long time and am just getting back into it.  One thing I think I remember reading is that rye flour has very little or no gluten so it has to be mixed with wheat flour in order to get enough gluten into the dough to get it the elasticity and extensibility you need to get a good rise and oven spring.  You said you used 25% rye with bread flour, which, from what I've read, sounds like a reasonable ratio.  One thing that may be causing a problem for is your dough temp.  If it's cold, my experience is that it is tight and needs to get to room temp before it becomes pliable and relaxes enough to be able to work with it.  For what it's worth, I know Nancy Silverton recommends leaving it at room temp. for at least 1-3 hours before either working with it or putting it into the oven (if it's been retarded in bannetons overnight in the fridge and it isn't allowed to reach room temp. (particularly after overnight retarding before putting it into the oven) you risk having a cool or cold center, which prevents it from baking properly in the middle of the loaf. 

I don't know if you have seen Mark Sinclair's and/or Bill Wraith's videos on "stretch and fold" method, if not you may want to take a look at them.  The helped me immensley.  The secret to the "stretch and fold" technique is to preserve as much of the precious gas, that has developed inside the dough during fermentation, as possible.  So, the dough has to be handled with extreme gentleness.  Also, when the dough goes back into the container after the "stretch and fold" it goes in seam side down (smooth side up). 

If you haven't seen these videos and can't find them with the "seach" feature, on this (TFL) site, let me know and I'll find them for you and post them here so you can look at them.  I really feel for you, with regard to being limited in the amount of time you have to spend baking, especially when you enjoy it as much as you indicated you do.  I too thorougly enjoy it.  It's really great therapy for me.  I can get into the baking process and completely forget any problems I have.   Thanks again for your post and the sourdough information about ratios. 

I've been trying to make a good baguette for a long time and am still at it.  I keep getting closer but still haven't hit on the "Holy Grail" yet.  Hang in there and be sure to keep us posted on your baking adventures.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

This one takes you to Mark Sinclair's The Back Home Bakery site and at the top, under tutorials you will find a number of videos, one about "stretch and fold", which if you haven't seen it you will find interesting and helpful. 

http://thebackhomebakery.com/

The second is a PBS like to Julia Child where Danelle Forestier makes baguettes.  There are 2 short videos at the bottom of the page.

http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/free/baguette.html#

Bill Wraith also posted a short video on stretch and fold on this site.  You might check the SEARCH funtion to find it. If you can't let me know and I'll try to locate it and post it for you.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Bushturkey's picture
Bushturkey

Thanks Howard.

I looked at Mark Sinclair's site. I agree with you, the video tutorials are brilliant! I watched the knead & fold, the shaping video and the ciabatta video.

I only have a dial-up internet connection, so the videos took a long time to download, but boy were they worth waiting for! I haven't seen Julia Child's site, but I will.

Thanks again!