I decided I needed to jump on the bread-baking bandwagon once again. I got a little lazy for a while there and haven’t made any bread, but I have been itching to start back up again. There are so many amazing breads out there, I need to stop making the same-old-same-old and try something new!
I decided to try my hand at Sourdough Ciabatta because my starter, Felix, was looking a little languished in the back of the fridge. I know, I know, how is that even possible?! But with all the allergies, moving, and other ridiculousness going on lately, I just haven’t had a lot of time to play.
What Makes Ciabatta Bread Different?
Ciabtta bread is mostly used a side bread or for sandwiches. It is a soft bread with large open holes. It can be compared to a French Baguette. It is great for tearing with your hands and dipping into olive oil!
Ciabatta, if you have never made it before, is a very wet, very sticky dough. Not so much a “bread dough” as a “dough soup”. The original directions state to mix and knead everything by hand, on a “bed” of flour, without getting any extra flour in the dough, of course.
I could tell right away that was not really going to work for me. I just can’t have a giant sticky oozing mess all over my counter and be trying to not incorporate any more flour in and keep my cool.
It just doesn’t happen.
So I adapted the recipe for using the machine, and while it was still a sticky soupy mess, it wasn’t as big of an “oozy floury mess all over my kitchen”.
Obsessed with Sourdough? Fuel your obsession with these:
- 465 grams flour
- 76 grams whole wheat flour
- 17 grams salt
- 26 grams olive oil
- 610 grams mature 100% hydration sourdough starter (that's a lot, I know, so be prepared!!)
- 355 grams water
- extra white flour for dusting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, salt, olive oil, and 280 grams of water until the ingredients cohere.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the water to the dough and mix slowly until it is absorbed. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- While keeping the dough mostly in the bowl, grab two ends of the dough, pull and stretch it (imagine taffy) and fold it back on itself. This is a messy, and more like oozing than folding. Repeat.
- Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap again and allow it to ferment for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the folding, then re-cover the dough and allow it to sit for another 30 minutes.
- Place the covered bowl in the fridge and let it sit overnight (7-12 hours).
- In the morning, take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.
- Liberally dust your counter with flour, and turn the dough out onto it.
- Sift a little flour on top of the dough.
- Starting at the center, and being careful not to deflate the dough too much, use your fingertips to gently stretch the dough out into a rectangle.
- Cut the rectangle in half with a pastry scraper so that you form two loaves.
- Take each loaf and push the sides in a bit, gently forming each half of the dough into a "loaf" shape (about 10-11 inches long and about 4-5 inches wide).
- Place each loaf onto a floured couche, sift a little flour on top, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1.5-2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 475 Degrees, with a baking stone on the middle rack and a cast iron pan on the bottom rack.
- Gently and quickly transfer the loaf from the couche to the baking stone.
- Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the cast iron skillet below, and close the door.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Lower the temperature to 450 and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown (rotate the bread at 10 minutes to ensure even baking).
- Turn off the oven, leave the bread in the oven, and crack the door open with a wooden spoon wrapped in foil, and allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack until completely cool.
- Brush off any excess flour from the surface of the bread.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 155 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 276mg Carbohydrates: 31g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g
Sourdough Ciabatta (adapted from Wild Yeast and “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum )