It's not an authentic ciabatta for a couple of reasons, but it should give you pretty much what you want, and it is relatively easy. I'd rate it at beginner to advanced beginner difficulty.
You might also want to try a double or even triple "autolyse" and french-fold technique after mixing and before kneading. It will help you use less bench flour; thereby incorporating less flour during the knead; thus avoiding stiffening the bread too much -- a ciabatta dough should be slack.
Autoloysis/French-fold technique for slack doughs: After mixing, allow the bread to rest for ten minutes. Take it from the proofing bowl, and use it's own weight to stretch it into a large square. Fold the square in thirds along one axis, using the "letter" technique so that it's a long rectangle. Turn the rectangle 90* and fold it again along its long axis, so the package is a rough cube. Allow it to rest another ten minutes and repeat. You can even do it a third time if the dough still feels very loose and sticky. Afterwards, the dough should firm up enough to handle without a lot of bench flour.
Then follow the recipe in regards to kneading and rising.
Forming a ciabatta: The keys to making a ciabatta style loaf are to start with a slack dough, then to form the traditional "slipper" shape. To do that, after the second proof, divide your dough into the same number of pieces as the desired number of loaves. Gently form each piece into a ball, and "pull it down" (aka "turn it under) in the usual way, but ... But, that is, without stretching it too tight so as to make too much "surface tension" which is usually desirable, but not for loaves you don't want to rise too much. When the dough is smooth, form the "slipper," by stretching the dough; at first by holding it over the board and allowing the dough's own weight to do the work; then by laying it down on a piece of floured parchment or on the floured peel, and stretching it to its desired dimensions. Then, pressing holes in it with your finger tips to deter a dome from forming. Allow it to rise until it's increased in volume by about 1/4 - 1/3. Then bake it in a hot oven.
If the additional techniques are confusing, I need to edit the recipe to include them anyway. Contact me by PM with your email, and I'll rewrite it, and send the edited version to you as a pdf.
If you want to add rosemary and goat cheese on top, you can do that either at the end of the bake (don't forget to brush the crust with a little olive oil first, or as a reheat. "Real bakeries" use both techniques.
While BDL's advice is as ever, very comprehensive, I have to wonder what is your experience level at bread baking? Asking for an "easy" recipe suggests not much experience. And that's perfectly OK; we've all got to start somewhere after all. (And then again I could be totally off the mark and you might have years of experience.)
Anyway, whatever, working with yeast bread doughs and especially slack doughs like chiabata can be tricky if you are not used to it. There's a lot to know about bread. So, a word of caution - if you don't have total success first time don't loose heart. Keep at it because the more you practice the better your bread will be and in the end all the effort is well worth it.
If all that sounds condecending I appologize; it's not intended to be.
Pardon the compliment, but I don't think your post was condescending at all. It was pretty much wonderful.
Obviously, one of the more difficult challenges in terms of giving people the sort of help that will be of most value is figuring out their level from relatively terse original posts. The difficulty is even greater when it comes to bread baking questions because of the sharp breaks in expertise -- especially when it comes to "touch" -- between beginner, advanced beginner and intermediate.
To top it off, the simplest breads -- simple like basic, "artisanal" French and Italian for instance -- require the most highly developed technique to get right. And ciabatta is definitely fits right in there.
A typical ciabatta -- before garnishing -- requires a biga preferment, freehand formation, and is a very slack dough to boot. While dealing with those things isn't necessarily difficult, it's nice to have a few dozen successes at some straightforward loaf-pan breads behind you before start tackling the artisanal breads.
When I write a recipe, I try to put enough detail in describing technique that the reader can jump a level. In other words, they're written so that, by way of example, an advanced beginner can handle an intermediate recipe. But there's only so much you can describe verbally, since so much of baking depends on interpreting tactile feedback.
I always recommend to beginner bread bakers to start with an enriched bread like a pan de mie or some such. My daughter just made her first pan loaf a few weeks ago and was mightily pleased with the results. It's that kind of success that makes the novice bread baker want to make more and eventually progress to lean, artisenal breads.
Not condecending at all. I appreciate your thoughtful post (wink).
My bread making skills are very beginner. I've made focaccia before but it was a while ago and took a bread making class a couple of years ago. I've always wanted to try a sourdough but they intimidate me. Just wanted to see some suggestions from you guys for a simple bread.
The olive bread sounds delicious but a little extensive for what I'm looking for. Maybe another day I'll give it a go....?
This is a pretty easy foccacia my catering buddy and I used to make -
ROSEMARY OLIVE FOCCACIA
½ cup water
2 cups unbleached flour
½ tsp. salt
2T olive oil
2 ¼ tsp. yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
3T olive oil
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted
Proof yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water. Mix flour/salt; mix the ½ cup water(may need more or less to make a soft dough) with the oil, add to dry ingredients with yeast mixture; mix well. Turn dough onto a floured board, and knead for 5-6 minutes, til dough is smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl and let rise til double. Transfer dough to floured board and let rest 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400. Heat oil slowly in a heavy skillet, and add rosemary, and salt/pepper. Stir over low heat for three minutes. Set aside to cool.
Roll dough out to a 10 inch circle and transfer to a lightly floured/cornmealed cookie sheet. Brush with rosemary/oil mixture. Arrange olives over top and push them in slightly with your thumb. Let dough rise for 5 minutes; bake for 20 minutes til light and golden brown. Serve hot, warm or room temp.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour on a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Step 2
In a medium bowl, dredge blueberries in 2 tablespoons flour. Gently stir blueberries together with oats, nuts, 1 1/2 cups flour, soda, and salt. Step 3
Cream shortening in a large bowl. Then add sugar gradually, beat until it becomes light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then stir in mashed banana. Add blueberry mixture to creamed mixture, and stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Step 4
Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when you inserted it in the center of the loaf. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Take them out from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
step 1Ingredients & supplies
Kitchen supplies: 1 or 2 loaf pans 1 or 2 mixing bowls, with lids or foil to cover oven (and potholders) spoooon! Ingredients for two small loaves of bread: 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting 1/4 tsp instant/active dry yeast 1 1/4 tsp salt ~1 5/8 cups water (can substitute milk/…
step 2Mix the dough, let it rise overnight
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. If you're adding in any other dry ingredients, mix them in at this step. For a savory bread, add in chopped or dry herbs (I'm adding basil to this batch), shredded cheese, chopped olives, curry, or other spices. For a sweet bread, you can ad…
step 3The next day...
After 12-18 hours, check the dough. The surface should be dotted with bubbles, and it should occupy more volume than it did the day before.Lightly flour your counter or work surface. Place the dough on it -- you'll have to gently scrape it out of the bowl. Sprinkle the top of the dough liberally …
About 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put your empty loaf pan(s) in the oven and set it to 450F. (Note: the NYT recipe recommends using a "large, heavy covered pot" such as a Dutch oven to bake the bread. If you've got one, use it; I hear it works well. I don't have one, so instead I u…
step 5Mmm tasty!
Slide a knife around the edge of the pan to release the loaf, then tip the bread out onto a wire rack to cool. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. (I never manage more than that, because warm fresh-baked bread with butter is just too good.) Eat, toast, make sandwiches, enjoy!
I have googled no knead recipes and came up with some. Just wanted to hear other suggestions from the forum. I think the foccacia bread I made topped wit parmesan, olive oil and rosemary takes the cake for me. Looking to try something new but always go back to that.