Ciabatta Artisan Bread finished loaf.

Ciabatta Italian Bread in Words and Pictures

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Discussion

Ciabatta is a new bread that many people consider old, because it looks so much like an old bread and tastes so good that it "should" be old. Ciabatta bread was supposedly invented by a baker in the Lake Como region of Italy sometime in the 1960s and named for its similarity to a slipper, giving it the name "the Italian slipper bread.". There are many recipes for baking ciabatta bread, from the simple one here to others using all sorts of add-ins, such as oil, sugar, and whatnot. This is a relatively pure ciabatta, just water, flour, salt and yeast. It is a fairly wet dough and is an example of what can be done with these four ingredients and a fifth: time.

Ingredients for Ciabatta Bread

Poolish

Ingred Ounces Grams
Bread Flour 10 285
Water 10 285
Dry Yeast 1/2 tsp 2

Mix the poolish and let it ferment on the counter for at least 2 hours. Then either use it or refrigerate it until you are ready to use it. You can leave it on the counter overnight, if you want. See how to make a poolish Make a poolish

The Rest of the Ingredients -- Add These to the Poolish

Ingred Ounces Grams
Bread Flour 25 710
Water 15 425
Salt 1 Tbsp 22
Dry Yeast 1 tsp 4

Method for Making Ciabatta Bread

  1. Mix the rest of the water and flour with the rest of the yeast. Add the poolish and mix for a minute or two, just until the thing starts to come together.
  2. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. This is the autolyse.
  3. Add the salt and mix for at least 7 minutes, possibly as long as 10 minutes, until the dough comes together. This is a wet dough, so it won't really "clear the sides of the bowl."
  4. Hand knead for a few turns, then place the dough in a large bowl to ferment.
  5. Let ferment 40 minutes, then fold. Let ferment 30 minutes, fold again. Let ferment 20 minutes, remove from the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Shape very carefully, being careful not to deflate the dough too much.
  7. Place the Ciabattas in couches and let rise for 45 minutes.
  8. Stretch the risen loaves of Ciabatta and invert them onto the baking stones or tiles.
  9. Bake, with steam, at 460 for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Cool. Eat.

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Here we go!

Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread ingredients in the bowl. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread poolish after developing for 7 hours. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread adding poolish to bowl. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread after mixing for 30 seconds. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread after mixing for 1 minute. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread ready for the autolyse.
Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread after autolyse, adding salt. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread finished dough. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread after 30 minutes of fermentation. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread doing a drop-hook fold. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread after the fold. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread starting to shape loaves.
Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread Shaping -- see discussion. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread shaped, en couche to rise. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread stretching the loaves. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread invert loaves onto baking stones. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread part-way baked. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread fully baked.
Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread cooling. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread crumb from an end. Ciabatta Artisanal Artisan Italian Bread crumb from center -- note holes. Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict
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