This is a classic Italian bread made in small loafs. Ciabatta has a lot of olive oil integrated into the dough giving it a distinctive taste and texture. Another characteristic of ciabatta is that the dough is very moist. This makes it delicate to work with and is also the reason for small loafs, a large loaf would not bake through before the crust was over done.
A classic Ciabatta takes three days start to finish, making it part of the slow proofing class of breads. Slow proofing breads have a more mature taste, smoother texture and don’t go stale as fast as fast proofing breads. Ciabatta bread should have an interior texture resembling a sponge with lots of air pockets and the texture should be soft and chewy.
- Poolish – starter dough
- 200 g flour
- 200 g water
- 1.3 g dry yeast
- Main Dough
- 456 g bread flour
- 200 g water
- 19 Kosher salt
- 3 g dry yeast or 8 g fresh yeast
- 60 g Olive oil
- Day 1: Make the Poolish
- In a container having a sealed lid, mix the dry yeast with some of the water warmed to ~90 deg. F. Let stand for ten mins to activate the yeast.
- Add remaining water in steps so as not to shock the yeast. Then add the flour and mix well.
- Seal lid and place poolish in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Day 2: Make bread dough
- Take the poolish out of the Fridge one hour before starting.
- In a mixer with a bread hook, mix the dry ingredients for two mins at speed #1. Add the flour first, then on one side of the bowl add the salt. On the other side of the bowl place the yeast. If you add the yeast on top of the salt you will kill the yeast.
- Add the water. The water should be between 75 deg F and 90 deg F.
- Add the poolish and continue mixing at speed #1 for 5 mins.
- Increase speed to medium (#4) for two minutes making sure all the flour is mixed into the dough.
- Lower speed to low (#1) and add the olive oil. Knead the dough at this speed until the oil is completely integrated. This can take a long time and the way you’ll know the process is done is when you no longer see a shiny sheen on the dough.
- 1st Proof: Roll dough out into a long rectangle ~12″ wide
- Fold the dough at half the length (like closing a book).
- Place dough on baking tray, cover with film and let rise for 30 mins.
- Roll dough into another long rectangle ~12″ wide and fold again.
- Place back on baking tray, cover with film, and put in fridge overnight.
- Day 3: Bake bread
- 2nd Proof:
- Remove dough from fridge and divide into ~6″ squares.
- Place squares onto a baking tray leaving at least 2″ of space between loafs.
- Preheat oven to 450 deg F (230 C) or 400 deg F fan.
- Cover with film and let rise 45 mins at 80 degs F.
- Bake for 20 mins or until the crust has nice golden finish. You can test the loafs by cutting one down the center.
- Place loafs on rack until cool then put in a bread box.
- 2nd Proof: