Ciabatta Bread

By Celia  , ,   ,

August 23, 2013

Traditional Italian Ciabatta or slipper bread (because of it's shape presumably) is worth trying - the olivey, oily, holey, beery, yeasty flavour and texture is out of this world - perfect for slathering in garlic and tomatoes or simply dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar........
Adapted from The Italian Cookery Course by Katie Caldesi

  • Prep: 4 hrs
  • Yields:

Ingredients

500 Strong white flour

2 tsp Fine salt

10 Fresh yeast or 3.5 g dried yeast

400 ml Water

5 tbsp Olive oil

125 Strong white flour

75 ml tepid water

1 dried yeast or 3 g of fresh yeast

Directions

The night before you want your bread, make your starter by simply dissolving the yeast in the tepid water (tip: dunk your finger in the lukewarm water - if cannot feel if it's in or out, ie the same temperature as your finger, it is the correct temperature!) Put the flour in a bowl and gradually mix the yeasty water in with it . Cover the bowl with clingfilm and stick in the fridge overnight. Biga should be nice and bubbly.....

Remove from  fridge and leave to come to room temperature before using.........

 

For the beautiful slipper........

 

Tip: Dried yeast is 3 times stronger than fresh yeast  - so divide by 3 if converting fresh yeast to dried, and multiply by 3 if converting dried yeast to fresh!

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add 3 tblsp of oil. Pour into bowl full of flour and salt. Mix roughly with hand or with a plastic dough scraper. Dough should be quite runny. Pour into an oiled bowl and cover the dough with the remaining oil so it is completely covered in oil. Leave to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours till doubled in size. Flour 2 baking trays and heavily flour work surface and tip dough out. Gently form into a kind of rectangle with your dough scraper. Sprinkle more flour over dough and cut into 4 lengths with the scraper. Gently pick up each length of dough - one hand at each end; and gently stretch out and place on one side of the baking tray - repeat with each length so you have 2 loaves on each tray. Don't mess with the bread at this stage - you need it to be soft and elastic to develop those lovely characteristic big air bubbles! Sprinkle with more flour and leave for another 1 1/2 hours to double in size again.

Preheat oven to 220C or 200C for fan, gas mark 7. Chuck a few ice cubes on a baking tray in the bottom of the oven to create a steam bath and bake bread for 20-25 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped on base.

There you go - eat warm if you can, top with anything fresh and wonderful, and eat on the day you bake!

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