The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

artistan bread ciabatta

redhen52's picture
redhen52

artistan bread ciabatta

I need help, I'v make about twenty loafs of bread. I am trying to make ciabatta I don't get big holes in bread and my crust is not hard. PLEASE HELP ME

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Why don't you start by telling us about the techniques you're using. Do you bake on a stone? Are you making a very slack dough? Are you getting a good rise? Are you using a couche? How are you shaping it?

-Joe

redhen52's picture
redhen52

Yes I am baking on a stone, and the dough is very slack and it is rising great and yes I am using a couche. I am shaping it into a football shape.
Please help me
thanks

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Ok. So what could be going wrong?

-Degassing the dough too much while shaping
-Not heating the stone long enough before baking
-Dough not wet enough

Are you using a steam pan, and spritzing down the walls of the oven in the first few minutes of baking to generate lots of steam? I use a little squirt bottle and shoot a stream of water at each wall. Generates lots of steam, and I get a nice, thick crust. Just be careful not to squirt your stone, or the oven light :)

After that, I'm out of ideas :) Do you have a picture of the interior of your bread to post?

-Joe

dasein668's picture
dasein668

Not developing enough gluten? Either too little kneading, or low protien flour?

Nathan Sanborn
dasein668.com

Marty's picture
Marty

Ciabatta is not football shaped. It means "slipper", not football. Kind of low (flat) and almost rectangular in shape. There are so many variables. Check out "the bread bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum at your library and try her ciabatta. No couche. If fact I don't recall a recipe for ciabatta that uses one. It uses a starter. I feel this is required for a flavorful, larged holed ciabatta. As I've said before this recipe produces consistant results for me. I've had to reduce the final rise to 45 minutes to control the size of the holes (too big). It will be hard to pinpoint your problem without knowing all that you are doing, including the recipe. It's a great bread and please don't give up.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Interesting. I shape my little slippers on a couche, as well. The technique is suggested in The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

The same dough is good for other shapes, too. I made a lovely little boule last week. Just don't call them ciabatta, and no one will whack you with a baguette :)

-Joe

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

The dough I use for a ciabatta is far too sloppy to shape into a boule - it shapes itself into a slipper just by oozing there!..

Andrew

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Well, I guess more a discus than a real boule :) I'm thinking my dough was still a bit stiffer than what you're describing. I've been working my way towards super-wet dough slowly but surely. :D

-Joe