Prep 22 mins
Cook 20 hrs
This was originally a King Arthur flour recipe with minor changes. Remember the dynamics of instant yeast differs from regular yeast. Any hard Italian cheese may be substituted, like Asiago, Romano, etc. Bread Machine instructions listed in instruction #3.
For the Biga (Starter)
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1⁄4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄8 teaspoon instant yeast
For the Dough
- 2 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 6 ounces pecorino romano cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cup)
- For the Biga: Mix all of the biga ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well-blended. Cover the bowl, and leave it at cool room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, until the biga is very bubbly.
- For the Dough: Mix the biga and the remaining dough ingredients, except the cheese, using an electric mixer set on slow speed, for 2 to 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary. Do not over add flour, the dough should be very soft.
- Mix in the cheese; be aware some of the cheese will fly out. Just pick them up and put them back in the bowl. Allow the dough to rise, in a greased, covered bowl, for 1 to 2 hours, until it's very puffy. Note: You can also mix this dough in a bread machine set on the dough cycle; add the diced cheese several minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and shape it into two long loaves, about 12 x 4 inches each, or 4 loaves, approx 6x4 inches. Place the loaves, floured side up, onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Cover the loaves with a proof cover or well-greased plastic wrap and allow the loaves to rise for 45 minutes or until they're very puffy. Sprinkle loaves with additional grated cheese.
- Bake the ciabatta in a preheated 450 oven for 22 to 26 minutes, until it's golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.