Ciabatta

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CiabattaCiabatta: Ciabatta is an Italian white bread filled with irregular holes, made from wheat flour and yeast. Ciabatta is somewhat elongated, broad and flat and is baked in many variations. Ciabatta was first produced in Veneto, but at least one type of ciabatta can now be found in nearly every region of Italy.

Ingredients for Ciabatta

(Serves 4):

For Bread:

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp milk, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2tsp sea salt
  • Cornmeal, for dusting baking tray

For Biga (Starter):

  • 1/4tsp dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Method for Ciabatta:

For Biga (Starter):

  • Mix yeast with water to dissolve.
  • Mix in flour by hand.
  • Stir just until blended (no lumps).
  • Mixture will be very wet and sticky.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  • One cup of this mixture will be needed for the bread.

For Bread:

  • Take a bowl with wooden spoon.
  • Stir yeast with milk and water to dissolve in the bowl.
  • Add yeast-water mixture, oil, Bigain the bowl.
  • Mix until no lumps are found.
  • Take a standup mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  • Add flour and salt with biga mixture prepared previously.
  • Knead on low speed for 2 minutes.
  • Increase to next speed up, kneading for 3 minutes.
  • Slap the dough with your hand in the bowl, until it feels stretchy and springs back (it will be too sticky to knead on a work surface).
  • Place dough into an oiled bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Keep the bowl in a draft-free, warm area to rise for about 90 minutes.
  • The dough should have lots of big air bubbles visible, when ready.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  • Roll up the dough into a cylinder.
  • Stretch and pull the flexible dough into a rectangle about 20 inches by 8 inches.
  • Cut dough in half (so that each piece is about 10-x-4-inches).
  • Place each dough piece on 2 parchment-lined baking trays sprinkled with cornmeal.
  • Cover loaves gently with a slightly damp tea towel.
  • Let the dough rise for another 90 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Place a baking tray upside down in oven to heat.
  • Remove hot tray from oven, and slide parchment with bread onto hot tray and return to oven quickly.
  • Spray tops of loaves with a little water, close oven quickly.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, spraying again with water after 10 minutes.
  • Remove bread from baking tray.
  • Cool the Ciabatta on wire racks, before slicing.
  • Ciabatta is ready to be served.

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Ciabatta
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