Italian Ciabatta

Recipe by Galley Wench
READY IN: 15hrs 45mins
YIELD: 2 loaves
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • BIGA (Italian Starter):
  • Mix the biga ingredients, in a small bowl until well combinedL.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for up to 15 hours.
  • It will expand and become bubbly so leave room in the bowl for it to expand.
  • CIABATTA DOUGH:
  • Place all of the dough ingredients together with the biga into the bowl of your mixer or bread pan of your bread machine.
  • Beat at medium speed (mixer) using the flat.beater (not dough hook), for 5–8 minutes.
  • The dough will never completely clear the sides of the bowl, though it’ll begin to acquire some shape. The dough will be very wet.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1–1 1/2 hours; it will get very puffy.
  • Midway through the rising period, gently deflate the dough and turn it over in the bowl; this will help it rise, and will also strengthen its gluten, making it easier to shape.
  • (Note: If using the dough cycle on bread mahine, check the consistency after 10 minutes (it should be very tacky, but should be holding its shape somewhat), adding more flour or water s needed. Midway through the rising period, gently deflate the dough and turn it over in the bowl; this will help it rise, and will also strengthen its gluten, making it easier to shape. Allow the dough to rest an additional 30 minutes after the dough cycle ends).
  • Which ever method you use. your dough will be wet and sticky, but don't worry, it's suppose to look like that.
  • Transfer the dough to a well-oiled work surface.
  • Lightly grease a large cookie sheet, and your hands.
  • Using a bench knife or your fingers, divide the dough in half.
  • Handling the dough gently,; stretch it into a log about10-inches long, and place it on the baking sheet.
  • Flatten the log with your fingers till it’s about is about 10 inches long and 4–5 inches wide.
  • Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
  • Lightly cover the dough with heavily oiled plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
  • Oil your fingers, and gently poke deep holes all over the dough.
  • Re-oil the plastic wrap, re-cover the dough, and allow it to rise for an additional hour.
  • At this point, the dough will be very puffy; it should jiggle like gelatin when you very gently shake it.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Spray the loaves very heavily with water, and dust them lightly with flour (if desired).
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
  • Turn off the oven, remove the ciabatta from the baking sheet, and return them to the oven, propping the oven door open a couple of inches.
  • Allow the ciabatta to cool completely in the oven; this will give them a very crisp crust.
  • Your bread should have large, irregular holes, ideal for trapping the olive oil/balsamic drizzle.
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