Ciabatta

Ciabatta Recipe – from professional Baking, 5th edition *scale is preferred but I will put cup estimates next to measurements* makes 3 1lb loaves

Sponge

1 lb 1 oz warm water (2 cups 1 oz)
1 oz fresh yeast** (2 tablespoons) or 1 1/2 tablespoon dry active
1 lb bread flour (3 1/4 cups)
6 oz olive oil (3/4 cup)

Dough

1/2 oz fine salt (1 tablespoon)
8 oz bread flour (1 1/2 cups)

Sponge:

The water should be warm without hot.  Think baby bottle. Add the yeast to the water and stir until dissolved.  Add flour and oil.  Mix well to form a dough, and beat well for about 5 minutes until the sponge begins to be smooth. Cover and let proof until doubled in size, about an hour.

Dough:

Stir the starter and then add flour.  Sprinkle the salt on top of the flour.  Stir (I used my hands) for 5 minutes, until the dough is completely smooth.  It will be colossally sticky. That is what you want.  High water content in bread result in a gorgeous large open structure inside.  Like this.

Cover dough and allow to proof until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

It’s now important to handle the dough as little as you can. Flour your counter and some sheet pans liberally.  Turn dough out of the bowl onto the counter, using a spatula to release it, if necessary. Divide the dough in thirds.  Just approximate, it’s a rustic bread.   Place each section of dough onto a sheet pan and stretch the dough slightly into rough rectangles.  Don’t pat. You don’t want the flour to absorb into the bread.  It’s just there to prevent sticking. Don’t pull very hard, or you will deflate your dough.  Cover top completely in flour.  Do not press in. Cover with a dry towel and let rise another hour, or until the top coating of flour starts to crack.  They will still look pretty flat.  They will puff in the oven, but it is a flatter bread.

Bake at 425 about 30 minutes or until the spaces between the flour look golden.  Don’t judge by the flour coating.  Once the bread is cooled, brush off the excess flour.

Freezes well. Makes insanely good sandwiches

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