Lately there have been discussions of ciabatta on a couple of message boards. They served to give me a strong taste for some. This is Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta as presented in
A nice dark crust and equal parts hole and bread!
Things start out slowly. The biga uses about 1/364 tsp. of yeast and ferments for 24 hours.
How do you measure 1/364 tsp? The ever clever Maggie Glezer is all over it. You take 1/4 tsp yeast and disolve it n 1 cup of water. You then use 1/4 of the yeasted water in the biga.
Ciabatta "dough" needs to be really, really well hydrated. This is the fully mixed "dough".
If the dough isn't really, really wet, you won't get the really, really big holes you want.
Because it's so wet, you can't knead the dough. Rather it gets turned 3-4 times at 20-30 minute intervals at the beginning of fermentation.
This is the dough just mixed, and ready for the first turning.You pour the dough onto the bench and fold the sides, top and bottom over the center. Then you turn the bundle upside down. Ready to continue.Here's the dough after the first turn and then ready for the second. With each turing, the dough will firm up. THe turning devlops the gluten.It's amazing how this turning makes the dough almost easy to handle.After Turn 4 and ready to shape.ugh gets turned onto a well floured bench and then scaled. Try and coax the dough into rough rectangles and then do the business letter fold.
Once they are "folded" you turn them upside down and proof them on a well floured cloth.After about 45 minutes, the loaves get stretched gently and then dimpledThen it's into a 450º oven for about 40 minutes.Major oven spring.Deep brown crust.And tons of air!