Hello ho ho homies. My precious bread rolls of love and affection. You warm toasty buns. Is this me typing random shit to distract my mind and tricking you into reading it? Yes, yes it is.
Ok, I’m back to this bread thang, this week we are baking Ciabatta again, but this time it’s real people ciabatta. So, last week I had made a cheat version that would be done in a few hours but this time we went with the traditional version making the Biga which needs to rest overnight.
Aite boo, let’s make this thing.
*warning: this is a long-winded process. Not hard, just long.
About that dough
- 550g bread flour
- 480ml water
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 blocks of ice
Wake and bake
- In a medium-sized bowl combine 200g flour, 240ml water, and yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well mixed and free of lumps.
- Cover the bowl will plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove the biga from the refrigerator and add the remaining water. Use a rubber spatula to release the biga from outer edge of the bowl.
- If you have a stand mixer, transfer the sponge mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the remaining flour and salt.
- Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Turn the speed up one notch and beat for another minute. Then turn the speed up one more notch and beat until the dough starts to release from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.
- If you are mixing by hand, pour the remaining flour and salt into the bowl with the sponge and with a wooden spoon, mix for 10 minutes until smooth.
- In a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil and rub it around to evenly coat the inside of the bowl. With wet hands, transfer the dough to the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
- Using a well-greased scraper or spatula, gently fold the dough over onto itself. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes. Repeat this step once more and let the dough rise for a final 45 minutes.
- Liberally flour your work surface with flour and let the dough slide out of the bowl onto the counter. Be very gently here so you don’t knock all the air out of the dough and try to handle the dough as little as possible.
- Dust the top of the dough heavily with flour. Using 2 well-floured bench scrapers, carefully manipulate the dough from the sides to form a square. Take care not to put pressure on top of the dough.
- Cut the dough in half, down the middle of the square. Gently shape each half into 2 loaves by using the bench scrapers to manipulate the sides.
- Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and gently transfer the loaves to each sheet. Dust a lint free baking towel with flour and cover the loaves with floured baking towel.
- Cover the dough with another lint-free cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- While resting adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a large inverted baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius.
- Carefully slide the parchment with loaves on the oven and throw the ice to the bottom of the oven.
- Bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 22-27 minutes.
- Transfer to an oven rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Let’s get this bread
So, before we get into this here epilogue, I feel the urge to update you on my erratic posting. So, I started a new job and I is really struggling to adjust to many different factors of my life. It’s a weird and wonderful world but I will make it. Once I create a balance between baking, writing, editing, posting and my work, social, family and self-love life, things will be great. It’s a lot guys, I’m a delicate millennial going through a lot so, let’s do this thang together.
Ok, sob story over, how this thang be?
Honestly, fuck that other Ciabatta man, this the real thang…. Ok, don’t fuck the other Ciabatta, it has a place and I will discuss it shortly. This is the traditional version and I must say it really is worth the extra effort. Even with the “extra effort” it’s really not that difficult, five minutes the night before and folding a bit more. If you have time, I beg of you to make this, if you are in a rush and will eat all the bread in one day, make the other recipe.
Why the ice blocks? Well this bread has a crunchy exterior and the ice creates steam allowing for the interior of the bread to bake without a hard crust blocking heat. The steamy environment delays crust formation, in short. Few things are worse than under cooked bread.
This ciabatta got flavour, it got body, it got height and its pretty. I gave one loaf to me friend Zahn, and she and her husband seemed to really enjoy it. So, glad I could off load a loaf or else I would have major wastage. I think I will be making this bread at my next dinner party. Anybody wanna come to my soup and bread party? Word on the street is its gonna be on and popping and the ciabatta gon be straight fire.
Ok, silly hoe aside. This follows the same rules as the previous recipe:
- Forget all your bread instincts, it’s gonna be wet and weird. Follow my instructions
- Keep your hands wet when handling the dough
- DO NOT KNEAD, this goes back to following the recipe
- If you have a stand mixer, for the love of the lord please use it.
- The longer you let the biga sit in the fridge, the better the flavour, 24 hours max
- Share and share
On the structure. The shape was beautiful, the holes were irregular and stable. It lasted just under a week before it went stale so that is good if you’re not a major bread eater like myself. It’s also mad pretty.