This recipe involves the minimum of ingredients for bread: flour (4 cups bread flour), only a tiny amount of yeast (¼ tsp, I've never made bread with such little yeast before), salt (1½ tsp) and water (2 cups). The trick is in letting the dough ferment and rise for a whole 18 hours at room temperature. So it does take a little planning and implementing before the bread is ready to eat.
|The ingredients for Ciabatta|
|All the ingredients put together and mixed well|
|After 18 hours of rising, lots of bubbles of gas have developed|
|Dough out on a piece of saran wrap on a wet counter|
I wasn't going to make this bread often (unless I can find a whole grain recipe with similar results... unlikely), so this was my (only) chance to do some experiments. I decided to split the dough and add some garlic infused olive oil and some cheese to smaller pieces of dough. Peter Reinhart gives some variations to the basic Ciabatta recipe in his 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice' book.
In the picture below, the piece farthest away and to the left had the garlic infused oil. I patted down the dough, added the oil and folded the dough over itself several times in different directions trying to enclose the oil in but it kept seeping out. The piece farthest away to the right had a shredded cheese filling (a mix of Cheddar, Parmesan and Pepper Jack). The small piece in the center has a mix of oil and cheese. The piece closest is the basic dough, roughly rounded. The shape is usually not important.
|Different experiments in progress.|
As expected, the dough spread horizontally, and unfortunately, the pieces blended into one another. The right way to handle multiple pieces of dough, or to get nicely shaped bread, is to use a proofing cloth as shown in this picture to control the shape of the dough as it rises. I don't own a couche, I could have used parchment paper but I was lazy. Oh well.
I should mention here my other big mistake; not greasing the baking sheet with enough olive oil and dusting with enough cornmeal. I think I used less flour on the dough as well.
|After proofing for a little over two hours (pan rotated compared to the picture above)|
This bread bakes in a 425° F for 35 minutes. It helps to have moisture in the oven, so I used PR's steaming technique; a cup of water poured in a preheated pan just before putting the dough in. As the water evaporates, it creates steam in the oven. This is a weak attempt to create conditions in a commercial baker's oven, but it helps for doughs that are not enriched (no dairy, sweetener or fats), especially free-form doughs.
|Out of the 425° F after 35 minutes|
|Releasing the bread from the baking sheet was quite a task |
with lots of scraping, coaxing and some anxious moments
|The piece with oil and cheese split right open but was yummy|
|Cross section of one of the smaller pieces with some nice holes|
|Some very good sized holes in the big piece of basic dough|
I was pleasantly surprised how well the crumb turned out. I should have taken a few more pictures of the crumb.The crust was thin and crackly. If consuming white flour bread fit my eating philosophy, I would be baking this bread all the time. There is a recipe in the King Arthur baking book I have, also described here, that uses part whole wheat flour (Thank you cellarguy for pointing me to it). I will be trying that recipe sometime soon.
Date: Feb 27, 2011
Recipe: No-knead Ciabatta from this website
Flours: Bread flour
Bread specific ingredients: None
Sweetener used: None
Long ferment: 18 hours at room temperature
Proofing time: A little over two hours
Comments:Very easy to put together, truly no knead, great crust and crumb. I should remember to grease the baking sheet liberally and use plenty of cornmeal / flour on it before placing the dough. If making multiple pieces I need to use a parchment paper couche to help the pieces rise a little more vertically.