Some of my favorite recipes from all over the world

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Easy Ciabatta bread


This very basic bread recipe is designed to put delicious Ciabatta bread on your table with a minimum of fuss and bother. Traditionally Ciabatta is made using a sourdough method involving sponge and dough stages but this recipe eliminates the sponge stage. In fact there is very little mixing at all and absolutely no kneading is required. This mix will produce 2 large loaves but you can break it into smaller portions to make other shapes or even Ciabatta rolls.


3 Cups Bread Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Sachet Activated Dry Yeast (7 grams)
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is best)
2 - 2 1/2 Cups Warm Water

1. Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and give a good dry mix to blend ingredients. I prefer to do all the mixing by hand with a wooden spoon but you can use a mixer if you choose.

2. Add the oil and water. Hold some of the water in reserve and add later if needed. You are aiming for a very soft sticky dough. Mix for about 10 minutes if mixing by hand, 5 minutes is plenty if using a mixer. View the videos below to get some idea of the consistancy needed.

3. Now for the proving stage. I prefer to place the dough in a large plastic container with a lid (a shallow 20 litre storage container is ideal). Any container that will hold the dough is fine, you can cover with cling wrap instead of a lid if needed. Just make sure the dough has room to double in size. Dust the container very well with lots of flour. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Simply pour/scrape the dough, placing half in each side of your container. Dust the dough and shape into a rectangular form. This will help with folding later.

4. Cover the dough and let it stand (prove) for about an hour, or until it doubles in size.

5. Now uncover and dust the dough pieces. Make sure you have some flour on your hands as well for the next step. Fold the top and bottom of the dough piece into the middle. Now fold each side into the middle. Gently flatten the dough and shape into rectangular form again. Do the same for both dough pieces. Now cover, and let stand until the dough doubles in size again, about 1 hour.

6. Repeat the folding again for each dough piece, remember to use plenty of flour. Flatten, cover and let it prove one more time, until again it doubles in size. Now would be a good time to pre-heat your oven to about 240 C, or 450 F.

7. Grease or flour (you can do both if you like) a large baking tray (or use a stone if you have one). Now lift each dough piece and stretch to the length of the baking tray. This produces the traditional slipper form. Place the dough on the tray.

8. Bake in your hot oven for around 30 minutes or until golden brown and crusty. Test by knocking on the crust, if it sounds hollow, your bread is baked. During baking, you can spray the dough with water every 5-10 minutes to make it even more crusty.

9. When baked, cool on a wire rack.

Now enjoy your fresh baked crusty Ciabatta bread!

Why White Bread Flour?

Traditionally Ciabatta is a white bread. Bread flour is higher in protein than other flours. The protein forms the open cell structure of good ciabatta bread.You could use other forms of flour and still make bread using this recipe but the texture of the bread will be more dense.

Watching the pro's at work


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