The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What’s wrong with my ciabatta

chiaraweaver's picture

What’s wrong with my ciabatta

Hi, this is my first time making bread and I was wondering if someone could help me figure out how to make it even better!

I think the main problem is in the tighter crumb at the bottom of the bread and I was wondering what caused this (as from my knowledge ciabatta is meant to have quite large holes throughout). I’m aware the bread wasn’t shaped properly and needs to be flatter and longer - is this what causes it or was it something else? 

Thank you so much for any help or advice as I would love to get better and better!


phaz's picture

Over proofed and probably too much water. Enjoy! 

mariana's picture

I would blame the recipe, and use a different recipe.

Ciabatta is not really shaped at all, the slab of dough iis simply cut into strips and sent into oven like that, so if the recipe asks you to give it a certain shape... then, definitely the recipe is to blame for the dense area at the bottom. Shaping it, touching it, makes the dough collapse, degasses it, it becomes dense and bakes into a loaf with the tight crumb.

alfanso's picture

that is correct re: handing/shaping ciabatta dough.  Butt not always.  I follow the Scott MeGee method and have had great success.  But it takes a sure hand and some experience to get the hang of it.  And for someone first learning the ropes, I wouldn't recommend trying it without first getting comfortable with this type of dough.

Isand66's picture

If your are new to bread baking I would suggest making an easier bread than ciabatta.  You would be better trying a simple sandwich loaf or any other lower hydration loaf.  Ciabatta is a high hydration dough which can be difficult to handle.  If your want to share your formula and procedure you followed  I would be happy to help.

foodforthought's picture

I’ve been baking ciabatta 3 out of 4 bakes in the last several months. After bulk, I chop my dough into 3-4 500-800 g chunks and, lately, fold it in half. I might gently nudge it into a roughly rectangular shape or not. After 30-45 minutes on the counter I’ll flip and gently stretch it onto the peel before baking it with steam. I’ve never seen the unusual distribution of dough gasses you illustrate. I suspect the flip (a frequently suggested maneuver in ciabatta recipes) alone could have helped you in this instance. Your dough clearly had potential and I’m guessing it tasted just great. You might want (take a week or two!) to read through the 2020 Ciabatta Community Bake thread. I definitely upped my game by participating in that exercise.

May the yeast be with you,