The Fresh Loaf

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My Basic Ciabatta

ciabatta's picture

My Basic Ciabatta

It's been a while since I've made this ciabatta that is based on Reinhart's Poolish Ciabata recipe in The Baker's Apprentice.  Happy to see that it's as reliable as ever for me.  This is based off of Reinhart's Poolish Ciabatta.  modifications include addition of oil and process changes.

320g bread flour
340g room @70F  (or cooler if in warm climate)
pinch of Dry Instance Yeast (I literally, use two fingers to pinch some yeast for this. it doesnt register on my scale)

For a long overnight build of the poolish, not very much yeast is used.  dissolve yeast in water and add in flour and mix using a silicon spatula. due to high hydration, very easy to mix.  cover and rest for about 8 hours.  Nothing will happen for the first few hours. but when done should be a bubbly slurry.  

Final Dough

660g Poolish
380g bread flour  (12% protein Harvest King flour used here for both poolish and final)
15g salt
5g Instant Dry Yeast
165g water

15g extra virgin olive oil (added to lube proofing container)

Mix in KA mixer for 5 minutes - 165g water, 5g yeast, 660g poolish, 380g bread flour, 15g salt - I add the ingredients in that order

-add 15g evoo into container and spread
-dump mixed contents into proofing container, cover (i use a pyrex glass bowl)
-cover for an hour, dont mix or fold yet, oil will stay on bottom to keep from sticking

(after an hour)
- do a set of stretch and fold, pick up from all sides to fold towards middle, this should get olive oil coated over entire dough
- do a set of coil folds after that

do two more sets of coil folds every 50 minutes, about 68F here (30 mins if warmer) to relax and build glutten. 

after first set of folds here, already have some air pockets, but dough surface tears easily

after second set, noticeably more air bubbles in there and gluten is developing

after 3rd set, surface tension is good, stronger and shiny. its a bag of bubbles.  very jiggly.

Rest for 30 minutes and the divide.  The total  dough was about 1230g. so i get 3 doughs of 410g each.

Handle delicately and don't deflate.  it's ok to chop little pieces to get the weigh right but minimize that as much as possible.

the dough is super light and airy. you can see the bubbles bump up throughout.  pop and bubbles that are too large.  I try to use as little dusting flour as possible. do an envelop fold and get the dough balls into a nice boule shape. If you want more of a flour streaked crust, roll in a lot of flour now.  i just dust the bottom a bit.

at this point it still looks a lot like the traditional ciabattas with some reminants of the letter fold. Preheat Oven at 500F. I let it rest for about 30 minutes to an hour.

after resting, pop any large bubbles on the surface. and tuck ends and sides to a better rectangle shape. roll them over onto parchment.

stretch and nudge each into a flat rectangle.  dimple it down gently. dont worry about flattening it, it will bounce back.

Prep the oven for steam.

this is my setup.  couple of steam boxes on the stone and also flat pan underneath stone on oven floor.

I pour hot water into the steam boxes, load the dough, and add hot water to steam pan underneath. a few spritzes of water into oven and close door.

(I did a timelapse of the oven rise... have to figure out how to load it on here...)

about 20 minutes later i oven oven door to vent moisture.  10 minutes in you should see some darkening of the crust where the bubbles are. that will darken over time.

change temp to 450F and bake another 20 minutes or until consistent crust color.

when done, the crust is very very delicate, puffy and crispy.  it will soften and shrink as it cools. you will notice the air pocket bubbles bump up.

the loaves should feel very light.  my 410g dough bakes to a 350g loaf. (It loses ~1g of steam as it cools!) maybe because it is so light and airy, they actually cool in about 30 minutes.

Super light and airy and bouncy crust.  if you cut it after 30 mins of cooling you'll still get a little crunch on the crust.
I could have stretch this and flatten it a bit more to get a better sandwich loaf.  But i like this too, but no taller.

Grilled pork and egg sandwich.

I had used AP flour previously with success for an even more delicate version.

I love this bread for how light it is and that you can squish it down and it will bounce all the way back up. The crust is thin and crispy (if you eat shortly after bake) and the crumb is soft and creamy.

Hope you like it and give it a try.

Sourdough hybrid version to come.






Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

They flattened out a lot but puffed up very nicely with a lovely crumb. That is an excellent bake. Loving that Ciabatta sandwich at the end. I think more the part everyone skipped on the community bake. The grand finale. 

Looking forward to your hybrid version. 

Benito's picture

Wow James, those are gorgeous ciabattas, there isn’t anything that I don’t love about them.  That sandwich has me drooling as well.  Thanks for sharing your very detailed processes with us.


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

That's amazing. I bookmarked your post to try later using yeast water!

alfanso's picture

My favorite photo is where the three kids are lined up on parchment prior to meeting their fate.  These came out great.  May fall into the Occam's Razor theory where the simplest solution is often the best.

camerjones's picture

I especially loved your oven set up. I never have quite enough room on the stone for three loaves, but yours is quite large. May I ask what kind it is and what size it is?

ciabatta's picture

Thanks. It's a standard size fibrament baking stone.  20" x 15" i believe.  I've had it for a long time. seems to have kept quite well!