Ciabatta Bread Recipe
Ciabatta bread is a light risen bread that has an amazing airy texture to it. With this type of bread many large holes form giving it its signature look which comes from the weak gluten network that is inflated by the steam of the excess moisture in the dough once its put in the oven. Ciabatta may be hard to work with because of its wet and loose structure but the end result is worth it.
Part One: Creating the Sponge
- 1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
- 1/8 tsp Rapid Rise Yeast
- 1/4 cup room temp water
- Sturdy spoon
- Small glass bowl
- Measuring Cups and spoons
- Plastic wrap
To begin your bread you must first combine the flour, instant/rapid rise yeast and water in a bowl and stir with a spoon until a uniform mass forms.
Then you will have to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Allowing the dough to sit lets the yeast to ferment and start the flavor of the bread to come through.
Part Two: Making the Bread
- 1/4 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup room-temp water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 baking sheets
- Large glass bowl lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
- Parchment paper
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Ice cubes or cold water
- Kitchen towels
- Digital thermometer
- Cooling rack
- Serrated bread knife
After the sponge has been fermenting the dough should look something like this
Then get your baking sheets ready with parchment paper that is sprayed with cooking spray with flour put over top.
Directions: Making the Dough
1. First place the sponge you made earlier and all the dough ingredients into the bowl of the mixer using the paddle attachment and mix on low until a shaggy dough forms (1 minute). Then once this happens up the speed to medium low and continue this until a mass that collects at the bottom of the paddle and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (4-6 minutes). once this is done change to the dough hook and knead the bread on medium speed, it should be smooth and shiny yet sticky (10 minutes).
2. Next perform the windowpane test on the dough
3. After that transfer the dough to a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour so the dough can rise.
Directions: Shaping the Dough
1. After the 1 hour fold the dough over itself by gently lifting and folding the edge of the dough toward the middle. Do this for a total of 8 folds and let the dough sit for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and put an empty baking sheet onto the bottom rack. This sheet will be used for ice/ steam when the ciabatta is cooking.
3. Once you have waited 30 minutes split the dough using a spatula creating 2 inch deep dough halves.
4. Shape each lump into a rectangle
Directions: Baking the Bread
1. Measure out 1 cup of ice into a glass measuring cupPlace the baking sheets with the ciabatta in the middle rack once the oven is at 450 degrees F.
2. Place the baking sheets with the ciabatta in the middle rack once the oven is at 450 degrees F.
3. Dump the ice into the empty baking sheet that is on the bottom rack in the oven; The ice creates steam which allows for the surface of the bread to not harden quickly and also allows for the dough to expand more when its baking
4. Bake until the crust is a deep golden brown for about 20-22 minutes and the loaves register 210 degrees F.
5. Put the two loaves onto the cooling rack and let then cool completely before cutting them.
The bread will come out hot, puffed up, and smelling and looking delicious!
When we made this recipe the bread tasted delicious and the inside had all the special unique characteristics Ciabatta bread is supposed to have, like the holes inside that we discovered more of as we ate the amazing bread. The outcome was exactly as expected and everything went very good during our baking process. The video below discusses our reaction to the Ciabatta we made and also discusses the science behind the holes in the bread and suggestions as to what we would do differently in the future.