Ciabatta is a classic. The taste is remarkable and is also known by its characteristic large holes. That is not the case with commercially produced ciabatta. This version has the large holes, light texture, and crisp crust. The primary leavening is sourdough with a little yeast added for an extra boost. The result is a sourdough bread that can be started and baked in less than 12 hours. Plus, there’s a little whole wheat added for extra flavor.
I have made these as a whole ciabatta loaf and as ciabattini, ciabatta rolls. They both are great. This formula will make two loaves or about 12 rolls at 2.5 ounces each. The shape of these are great because there is no shaping to them. Once they are ready for final proofing simply divide into the desired weight and proof for about 1-1 1/2 hours before baking. That’s it.
The difficulty lies in the hydration percentages. Ciabatta is higher in water weights which makes it a little trickier to handle and use of a well floured cloth to proof is essential. However, the outcome, can be such a rewarding bread to enjoy.
- 2 ounces levain
- 4 ounces water
- 5 ounces flour
- Final Dough
- 8 ounces starter
- 10.2 ounces bread flour
- 1.8 ounces whole wheat flour
- 8.8 ounces water
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast
- .3 ounces olive oil
- .24 ounces salt
- Prepare starter 4 hours ahead of final dough then reserve 2 ounces starter for future loaves.
- Mix starter with water to disperse then add flours and yeast and mix until a very loose dough has formed. Cover with plastic for an hour. After hour has passed add olive oil and salt. Stretch and fold as if you are folding a letter and dough is forming and smooth. Cover with plastic again then stretch and fold after another hour. Let rest for another hour then divide into equal pieces. Proof on a well-floured cloth for 1-1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Bake 30-34 minutes then let cool on a rack for at least an hour.
Of course, my favorite way to enjoy just about any bread is to slather on some salted butter and eat it just like that but this does go well with a pasta dish or as a sandwich bread.