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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / How to make Ciabatta by hand
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    How to make Ciabatta by hand

    Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:08 pm Groupie
    I'm dying to make ciabatta, but all the recipes I look at say that a dough hook is important because the dough is so sticky. I'm sure they didn't have kitchenaid's when this bread was invented.
    Anyone have a recipe, and techniques of course, for making it by hand?
    Thanks, Gina
    Heather Sullivan
    Wed Mar 16, 2005 7:48 pm Groupie
    Well they might not have had kitchenaid's but the ancient romans made bread by making their own kneading machines, pulled by animals...
    You could try beating it with a wooden spoon and kneading it with oiled hands. I think the main point is not to add much flour at all. Oh and keep a metal spoon nearby to scrap the dough off your fingers icon_wink.gif
    Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:01 pm Groupie
    Thanks. Those are great idea's! I've always thought of ciabatta as a peasant or rustic type of bread, so there's got to be ways to do this well.
    Thu Mar 17, 2005 12:54 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I've made Ciabatta (Italian "Slipper" Bread) before by hand. It came out well. It didn't seem all that sticky to me either. However, this is the only experience I've had with Ciabatta bread, so I can't really say if it came out like it's supposed to.
    Donna M.
    Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:20 am
    Forum Host
    If you have a bread machine, make the dough in it. It is ideal for a soft, sticky dough such as Ciabatta.
    Sat Mar 19, 2005 9:58 am Groupie
    A few years back Bon Appetit had an article on this bread and the recipe and an interesting way to make it. It was all by hand and very fast, and the salt was sprinkled in after the first rising and ankneading again.

    It was very good and easy to follow and quick really.

    i made it twice only, but results well very good.

    Let me see if I can find the magazine and I will send it to you.

    From issue.....January 123 for anyone that has the book. to see instructions.
    1 cup plus 1 tbsp room temp water........2 1/2 tsp yeast.....3 1/3 cup bread flour.....Place in processor ,sprinkle in yeast let stand 8 minutes, add one cup flour pulse til blended scrape sides,add one cup more flour, scrape sides, and then add last 1 1/3 cup flour. Process until small moist clumps form. Gather into ball dough will be firm...( yes it was)
    Place in a large bowl cover and chill overnight. biga will soften overnight resembling thick oatmeal in texture. ( mine was softer but not like oatmeal).

    The Biga starter
    3/4 cup warm water plus 2 tbsp.
    pinch of yeast
    1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp. semolina flour ( pasta flouris another name )
    2 1/2 tsp. salt
    additional semolina flour

    Pull the biga into walnut size pieces and place in a large clean bowl.
    Add the water and a pinch of yeast and 1/2 cup semolina plus the 3 tbsp flour.

    Using one hand squeeze ingredients for two minutes.
    Work the dough four minutes by scooping sections from sides of bowl and pressing into centre.
    Blending into a soft Shaggy mass.
    Scrape sides of bowl with spatula into the centre.
    Let rest in bowl uncovered for 10 minutes ( I let mine stay a little longer)
    Sprinkle salt over the dough.
    Using one hand knead dough by rotating bowl 1/4 turn at a time. scooping dough from sides into centre folding down.
    Until dough comes away from sides this takes about five minutes.
    Scrape hands and sides of bowl.
    Cover with towel and let dough rest 20 minutes.
    Rotating dough 1/4 turn at a time fold dough over at least six times.
    Turn dough over in bowl.
    Cover and again rest 20 minutes.
    Preheat oven 425 degrees. Place a small pot of water into the back corner of oven for steam.
    Sprinkle work surface with additional semolina flour.
    Turn out dough onto prepared board.
    Cut in half.
    Keep halves seperated.

    Let stand uncovered 20 minutes.

    Sprinkle two baking sheets with semolina flour.
    transfer each half to each sheet with the semolina side up.

    Stretch dough half into 16 x 4 inch rectangle.
    Press fingertips into dough several places to dimple the surface.

    Bake until golden brwon 25 minutes.

    This can be prepared up to two weeks ahead, double wrap in alum. foil to freeze.

    Makes two loaves.

    Hope someone tries this, it was easy and chewy.

    Also it doesn't say to let rest or anything after placing on the baking sheets and stretching to form...but if I remember right that I did let it rest a few minutes to see it slightly rising again..if you could see the picture this is a flat crusty shaped loaf, maybe only three to four inches high.
    Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:51 pm Groupie
    Thanks Andy,
    I will try it. I'll have to get my hands on some semolina first though. Thanks for sharing that.
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