Ciabatta help

29
10
Joined Dec 18, 2003
For the past three weeks, I have been attempting to make a decent loaf of ciabatta.

I have experimented with different recipes. My first few loafs were flat and came out looking like focaccia. Today, I used the Peter Reinhardt recipe and the loafs came out looking wonderful! Then, when I sliced into the loaf, it revealed a very dense crumb with many small holes.

What is my problem?
 
16
10
Joined Oct 15, 2004
Hello!

That recipe works really well. I tried it a few times and the first time, I had the same problem with small holes. I tried it again and really really tried not to degass is and it worked. Try not to handle it so much and be gentle. See if that works. Also, allow a little more time for proofing.

good luck!
 
29
10
Joined Dec 18, 2003
Thank you for the response.

I barely handled the dough and didn't noticably degas when transfering to the oven.

One thing I notice is that if I proof for a long period of time, after a point, it stops expanding and the outside of the dough toughens up a bit...
 
84
10
Joined Mar 13, 2002
I'm having trouble too. I've made this bread before a few years ago and it came out perfectly. Now it comes out with a fine crumb and few holes. How many times should I be doing the stretch and fold? Could I be overproofing it? I'm very frustrated at this point.
 
30
10
Joined Jul 1, 2001
I've had great experiences with ciabatta made using a Nancy Silverton recipe. One thing, to get the lovely large holes, make sure your dough is on the wet side. The dryer it is, the smaller the holes. Also, you can lightly moisten the top of the loaf prior to baking. This will help it expand in the oven.

I LOVE ciabatta! Now I'm going to need to make some! :D

becca
 
29
10
Joined Dec 18, 2003
It would be really helpful if someone could post step-by-step photos of the process of making a wet-dough bread.
 
30
10
Joined Jul 1, 2001
I can do this over the next couple of days. I have a digital camera. I'll start the process later today. Do you start with a sourdough starter?

becca
 
29
10
Joined Dec 18, 2003
Wow... that would be amazing!

Do what you usually do. You're the teacher!

(In the past, I have started with a poolish pre-ferment)
 
1,310
15
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I've made Rienhart's Ciabatta a few times and had mixed results. Sometimes fine crumb, sometimes open crumb with those gorgoeus holes. Same process every time and I can't understand why it is different. But one thing remains consistent - It tastes good every time.

Jock
 
30
10
Joined Jul 1, 2001
I use a sourdough starter that a friend gave me a few years ago. I've completed making the bread, with photos of all the steps. I'll work on editing the photos and instructions, and will get it uploaded in the next day or so. We're in the process of packing up our house for a move from CA to WA, so I'm not as quick as usual.

More info soon.
becca
 
29
10
Joined Dec 18, 2003
Good luck on the move. If you encounter any problems, please let me know. I am in the mortgage industry and know how hectic and problematic closings can be!
 
1,635
158
Joined Aug 14, 2000
It's not exactly step by step, more like step I remembered to take a pic of by step I remembered to to take a pic of, but here it is:

Ciabatta-Bing!

Wetter is better is the mantra for ciabatta bliss. You don't really shape it, you plead with it. The reason it has the shape it does is because it's too wet to hold any other shape :)
 
30
10
Joined Jul 1, 2001
Great photos! You've certainly captured the essence of ciabatta! I don't think I can add anything to what you have done. Excellent job.

becca
 
29
10
Joined Dec 18, 2003
You really did a wonderful job on the photos and the bread!

I would love to see more of the turning process after the dough has been mixed.
 
1,635
158
Joined Aug 14, 2000
I would have taken pics of that part of the process but it takes both hands and I don't have a tripod :) You just dump the mess out onto the board, pull the left side out and fold it about 2/3 of the way across, do the same thing with the other side, top and bottom. Invert the resulting blob and put it back in the bowl.
 
1,635
158
Joined Aug 14, 2000
No, I don;t have recipes on my site. I hate A: typing and B: violating copyright laws :) The ciabbata in the pics is the one from Artisan Bkaing Across America, by personal bread guru Maggie Glezer.
 
30
10
Joined Jul 1, 2001
Thanks for the info. Didn't know if it was a published recipe or a Kyle original.

Do you wet your hands when you work with the blob turning? I've had more success by wetting my hands than by flouring them. Just curious what you do.

becca
 

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