Ciabatta Bread

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Here another classic of Italian cooking: light, airy, delicious ciabatta bread. Give it the time to cool off, and eat it with just extra virgin olive oil, not even salt. To taste the delicate flavor of just a few ingredients.

If this is the first time you bake bread, this should be an easy one. Just remember to treat the dough gently, to avoid it deflates. The idea is to stretch the gluten and create an elastic dough, able to inglobate as much of the gasses from the yeast, and the vapor from the cooking, to create the large bubbles. A must for ciabatta bread.

Ingredients:

  • 400g Bread Flour (I love King Arthur Flour, with their high proteins)
  • 300g water (lukewarm temperature works best)
  • 8g sea salt
  • 40g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 7g Fresh Yeast (In NYC they have it here) or 2g Dry Active Yeast

This time I didn’t take many photos, I promise I will take some next time I make it.

To make this bread I use a squared plastic container with a lid.

Melt the yeast in the water, add the oil, the flour and start stirring with a wooden spoon until the water is absorbed and there is no more flour left. At this point, add the salt and make sure to inglobate it. You will have a sticky ugly dough. Perfect. Cover with the lid and let rest for 45 min.

The dough should have started rising. Remove the lid and pull one side of the dough, folding it over itself. Pull the opposite side and fold it over again. Turn the container 90 degrees and do the same with both the other sides. Folding the dough over itself. Let it rest for 30 min.

At this point, the dough is developing its gluten, starting to rising and inglobate the gasses from the fermentation of the yeast. Repeat the folds 4 more times, every 30min.

Every time you fold the dough you will feel it becoming more and more elastic. After folding it 5 times at 30 minutes intervals we are ready to shape it and let it proof, before baking it.

Dust a working surface with some flour and flip the dough over it. Gently, start pulling its sides, to form a square shape, trying to keep the bubbles inside the dough and avoiding to deflate it. You should have a square of approx 15″. Fold one side 3/4 the size, and the other side over, tucking it under, gently with your fingers.

Divide the dough into 3 buns and let them rise over a fabric dusted in flour for 45min.

Turn the oven on in the meantime. 430 F.

Generally, when baking bread, I leave a small cast iron tray on the side of the oven, and poor in it hot boiling water right before putting the bread in. This will create a steamy, humid environment inside the oven for the first 5-10 minutes of baking, to keep the crust moist and “help” it while it springs up.

Let is cook 18-20 minutes, until evenly light golden colored. Turn the oven off and let the loaves in a few more minutes, making sure they don’t turn too dark. Your ciabattas are ready.

Let them cool down for a few hours, sprinkle a slice with extra virgin olive oil, close your eyes and imagine to be in Rome. Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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