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Ciabatta!

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Apr. 19th, 2005 | 12:15 pm


Regular and maybe even occasional readers of this space will know that baking is a hobby in which I indulge with great enthusiasm. What’s not to like? It’s not too difficult, time-consuming or inexpensive, and it’s easy to impress people.

Last weekend I decided to tackle a new challenge, from Maggie Glezer’s book Artisan Baking Across America: ciabatta.


The recipe describes a two-day process in which a very stiff pre-ferment, or biga, is made the day before and left to ferment for 24 hours. This is mixed with flour, water, yeast and salt on the second day for the final dough. The dough is so wet it's almost batter-like. After the initial kneading it ferments further for about 3 hours and turned (removed from the container, floured and folded and returned to the container) four times in the first 90 minutes. After shaping and proofing the loaf is baked. Here are my results:
Mixture of white, whole wheat and rye flours for the biga

The biga is mixed with a very small amount of water, so the initial blending is difficult.

After five minutes of kneading.

About 20 hours later, slightly expanded and softened.

The fully-developed biga

Kneading the wet dough in the bowl with a scraper.

After it was turned a few times, it got much smoother and firmer.

The shaped loaf, ready to proof in the couche.

The final product!
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Comments {9}

Let there be peace on earth, let it begin with me

(no subject)

from: levi
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
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That's excellent. Fresh bread is the best thing ever.

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doctor_mama

(no subject)

from: doctor_mama
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. It was a fun project and yummy!

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shadow and mirror

(no subject)

from: mollya
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC)
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That is so impressive! I've been wanting to do something similar for years (it was my new year's resolution for 2002) but I have never worked up the whatever it takes to do it.

I love the step-by-step pictures, too!

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doctor_mama

(no subject)

from: doctor_mama
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
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Come to Boston and we'll bake together.

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Mars Tokyo

(no subject)

from: marstokyo
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC)
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Looks like the crusty bread I had in Italy. Perfect for dipping in olive oil and roasted garlic!

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Mock Duck

(no subject)

from: mockduck
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
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That looks so gooood...

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rexhonk

(no subject)

from: rexhonk
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Once again (had to check it out); Love it! I like step by step pictures and these are just amazing. Gotta hurry with my website, this is inspiring!

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rxrfrx

(no subject)

from: rxrfrx
date: Apr. 19th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
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you are my hero. i have had exceptional (or maybe common?) difficulty in producing a good ciabatta in my oven.

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S. Worthen

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from: owlfish
date: Apr. 20th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC)
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The slice of bread looks good - but I like the mottled swirls on the finished loaf even better. Some day I will bake real bread.

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