Ciabatta, that was a long journey

When I made this bread for the first time,
I wondered what is real ciabatta?
Korean young generation like this type of bread,
but some bakeries sell different shapes and very soft skins.
It is the same in Hong Kong too.
I know that the ciabatta should be broad and flattish, like a slipper.
It can be changed ...
It should be somewhat collapsed in the middle.
So, what happened to the ciabatta ???

This is the ciabatta recipe that I used.
It is a long journey to get this loaf its pleasant chewiness.
But it was worth it.
If anybody finds something wrong with this recipe,
please leave a comment.

Ingredients( Makes 2 loaves)

for the starter
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup cool water(20~25 celsius)

for the dough
1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup cool water(20~25 celsius)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for spray

Make the starter 
Combine flour, yeast and water in a bowl, and mix gently.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap,
and let stand at cool place 12to 15 hours. 

Make the dough
Whisk together flour and yeast in a large bowl.
Add water and starter, stir until mixture comes together,
in a loosely formed ball of dough.
Cover with oil brushed plastic wrap, let stand for 20 minutes. 

Gently turn dough out on the unfloured work surface.
Sprinke with the sea salt, drizzle with olive oil.

Use the heel of one hand to stretch half of the dough away,
at the same time your other hand is stretching the other half toward you.
Fold in half, and repeat until oil has been incorporated.

To knead
Gather dough, lifting it above work surface.
Hold one end close to you while you cast the other end in front of you,
 on to the surface.
Pull the end of dough in your hands toward you,
stretching it gently, then fold the dough in half on top of itself.
Knead the dough until it is smooth, supple, and elastic,
takes about 10 minutes.
 Dough will be very sticky, but avoid adding more flour until the end.
 Form into a ball.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover with oiled plastic wrap.
Let rise at cool room temperature for 45 minutes.

Gently turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Do not punch dough to deflate.
   Fold into thirds, as you would a business letter.
Then fold it in half crosswise. Return to bowl, cover,
and let it rise in a cool place until it has  doubled in size,
takes at least 75 minutes.

 Gently turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions.
 Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest for 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface,
spread each portion of dough into a rectangle that's roughly  20by 10 cm
Be careful not to deflate bubbles.
 Fold dough into thirds again, as you would a business letter,
 pressing seams with lightly floured fingers.  

 Place dough, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with floured parchment.
and using a floured finger, press into the side leaving a slight indentation.
 Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap,
and let it rise in a cool place until it has doubled. 40 to 50 minutes.

Place a skillet on an oven rack adjusted to the lowest position.
Preheat oven to 250 celsius.
Just before baking, stretch each portion into a 25by 10cm rectangle.
Immediately dimple entire surface with lightly floured fingers.
Pour 1/2 cup hot water into skillet in the oven.
Slide bread and parchment onto a baking pan or tray on the middle oven rack.
 Immediately reduce oven to 230 celsius.
Bake, rotating once, until bread is golden brown,
it should sound hollow when the bottom is thumped, 15 to 20 minutes.
Let cool on wire racks.

The light airy crust is so enjoyable.
It is worth the wait!

1 comment:

Chef Dennis said...

Hi Phoebe
your blog is wonderful!! your pictures are great, and yoru instructions easy to understand! and by the way your english is better than some people I know who were born up the good work....I expect great things from you!
Its my great pleasure to call you friend!

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