Ciabatta 2

Ciabatta literally means “slipper”. I personally don’t think it looks like a slipper, but perhaps slippers in Italy used to look like that. In any case, it is one of my favorite breads. It’s great eaten alone, dipped in olive oil, or made into a sandwich.

I decided to tackle bread-making because Lon was on a strict diet of bread and rice for a few days. I figured, he should at least eat very fresh and delicious bread. I broke out “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart, a book I’ve had for years and hadn’t tried yet (not sure why). On the one hand, making Ciabatta has way many more steps then reasonable for someone who works daily. (We are quite spoiled by the no-knead bread.) On the other hand, the book gives such clear instruction, I was impressed, and am now motivated to try some other recipes.

Here’s some illustration of my labor of love:

Peter Reinhart gives two options for Ciabatta, one made with a Poolish starter and one made with a Biga starter. He claims they are equally good so I chose Poolish because it’s less work. It’s just mixing ingredients together and letting it sit for a few hours, then refrigerating overnight.


The Poolish has to come out of the fridge an hour before making the dough, and I chose the electric mixer option, which almost killed my KitchenAid engine. You could smell burning and I have a Professional 6, so I was pretty surprised. We managed to get a dough out of it, and move on. The book has a nice illustration for his stretch-and-fold method, then the dough rests.
dough 1 first fold

You stretch-and-fold again, then allow the dough to ferment.
second fold

Illustrations are given for shaping the dough.

dough in couche

The dough proofs.

after proof 2

The book also gives good suggestions for how to prepare for hearth baking in a home oven, but I don’t have a peel or a baking stone (very sad about this).

ready to bake

I did my best, nearly got a steam burn, and ended up with some very good Ciabatta.

Ciabatta 3

To be picky, I prefer the air pockets in the crumb to be a little larger, but Lon described this as the best Ciabatta ever. We agree that the taste, which is amazingly clean, is fantastic.
inside Ciabatta

posted by jessica at 09:53 AM Filed under Un-Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.