I finally got close to where I want to be with ciabattas!
I was going to a friend's flat for an Italian dinner yesterday, so decided to bring a ciabatta, although previously I only had partial success with this style of bread. However Rus Brot has a video recipe for ciabatta, and so far each and every recipe of his have been a great success, so I decided to risk it. The video is unfortunately only in Russian: https://youtu.be/beEhMiwIaHw
Here is the formula, except I increased the amount of CLAS to 5% by flour weight, since my bread flour is a little higher ash, probably: https://fgbc.dk/1so4
In addition, I replaced 20% of the flour with semola rimacinata, since I need to use it up soon, and seemed like a fitting bread to add it to.
The process is very simple. The dough is mixed using cold CLAS and cold water (I used, like him, a hand-held mixer with spiral attachments), and oil and some water are withheld. Then after partial development oil is incorporated, and then the remaining water, until very soft consistency - around 80% hydration in my case, all the while developing the gluten. DDT of about 25°C. Then the dough is transferred into a rectangular contained. Folded after 1 hr, and then it goes into the fridge for ~24 hrs. About half-way through cold bulk it's folded again. Before baking it's warmed up at RT for 1.5 hrs. Then in the recipe he does a few folds before dividing the dough and coaxing it into rectangle. I decided to skip the folds at this stage as I felt they would impede open crumb formation, and simply divided the dough in half. It's then proofed at RT for 20-30 min, and baked. I proofed on a couche, and flipped upside down when transferring onto a peel - like you'd do with baguettes. The very tip of one of them got a little stuck on the peel unfortunately, and I think it deflated that half of the bread a little. So I brought the other one to the dinner party. Baked for about 15 min with steam on steel, and then until I liked the colour without steam.
They looked stunning, even is I say so myself, with the beautiful pattern of flour on the crust. Crust was super hard and crispy out of the oven, and stayed so for a little while, but it's always lost here with the humidity we are having. I think addition of a little durum also helped with that.
My friend took a couple of pictures of the food, which included the sliced ciabatta. Shows quite clearly that in some spots it had huge bubbles under the crust, despite being flipped before loading into the oven. Perhaps they could benefit from some light docking, but they were already huge and would barely fit on my steel, if they ended up being any longer it would be a problem.
Here is the crumb of the one I kept at home. It's a bit different in different parts of the bread, some parts more open than others. But I'm not complaining.
And it's delicious! It's awesome how easy it is to bake with just yeast for leavening, and CLAS provides such pleasant flavour. No overt acidity, but a nice lingering pleasant aftertaste, a bit similar flavour to when I tried making ciabatta with a SD biga back during the CB. Nicely caramelized crust. Light and fluffy crumb. I'm very pleased with this.