culinary review

Light & Crusty Ciabatta Loaves or Rolls

Last Modified: 04/17/12
First Published: 04/17/12
Views: 1436
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Views: 1436

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General Info
Servings: 20
Total Cost: $1.32
Cost Per Serving: $0.07
Total Calories: 2,465
Calories/Serving: 123
Yeast, Instant, Fast Rising (biga) 1/2 Teaspoon 4.00 Grams $0.14 0
Water (biga) * 65.00 Grams $0.00 0
Flour, Bread (biga) * 100.00 Grams $0.10 411
Water * 425.00 Grams $0.00 0
Yeast, Instant, Fast Rising 2 Teaspoons 16.00 Grams $0.57 0
Flour, Bread * 500.00 Grams $0.49 2,054
Salt, Table 1 1/2 Teaspoon 9.00 Grams $0.01 0

This light ciabatta bread is just perfect; airy, crusty and flavorful. Inspired by the Ciabatta loaves in Daniel Leader's wonderful book "Local Breads", this bread really is great with a deep flavor development, a great crust and light crumb. The dough here is very wet and soupy, so don't even try to knead this by hand!

This dough needs to kneaded for quite some time, and it also rises for 3-4 hours which gives it good flavor and a wonderful texture.

65 g water
1/2 tsp instant yeast
100 g bread flour

Mix together biga in a small bowl, knead for a minute or two. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit out for a few hours (if you're planning to bake later, put it in the fridge after a few hours.)

Bread dough

425 g water
2 tsp instant yeast
500 g bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt (fine, not coarse)


1. Scrape the biga into the mixer bowl, add water and stir to break it up, then add the yeast, the flour and the salt. Stir with spatula to form a rough dough.

2. Knead in the mixer for 15 minutes on medium-high.

3. Pour the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 3-4 hours.

4. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scrape the dough onto a floured countertop and divide by two. Pick up one piece of dough and in one motion stretch it out and put it on the parchment paper. Do the same with the hoer piece of dough.

5. Dimple the dough with your finger tips, then drape with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for about 40 minutes.

6. Heat the oven to 475, one hour before baking. On the lowest shelf in the oven, place a cast-iron pan or a sheet pan. Place the tray with loaves onto the oven (alternatively place the parchment with the loaves directly on a baking stone, however this can be a bit tricky with two loaves). Pour 1/2 cup of ice cub in the skillet, to add steam, then bake for about 30 minutes until golden.

Let cool on wire rack for an hour before cutting up.

Ciabatta rolls

Alternatively you can make rolls with this dough, then do the 1st, 2nd and 3rd step, at which point you pour the dough onto a flour dusted counter into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle. Dust the dough with flour, and either use a sharp, oiled knife, or an oiled pizza cutter and cut the dough lengthwise into 2 inch steps, and then each strip into 3 inch pieces. Place each piece of dough (try not to work with it too much) on a parchment covered sheet pan, two inches apart.

Drape with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake at 475 got about 20 minutes, no need to use any ice for steam.