Ciabatta (at last)

Ciabatta (at last)

div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-v17EFVOvxwU/UJWPaOIz41I/AAAAAAAAHMI/Yy5ThWjb58o/s1600/Ciabatta520front.jpg"img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-v17EFVOvxwU/UJWPaOIz41I/AAAAAAAAHMI/Yy5ThWjb58o/s640/Ciabatta520front.jpg" width="520" //a/divspan style="font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 90%; line-height: 22px;"You might be thinking “ciabatta, so what?” But wait, this is big news around here. For the longest time, I had a ciabatta issue. It was a href="http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/2011/05/rosemary-olive-oil-bread.html" target="blank"my bread nemesis/a. I could not make good ciabatta to save my life. I tried several different recipes, repeated the attempts, and had flat, boring loaf after loaf with no airy, holey structure to be found. I would sulk and avoid wet doughs all together for weeks, and then when the sting of defeat had dulled, I would eventually try again. I was sure there was something wrong with me like I was missing the gene that allows a baker to produce good ciabatta. Just last week, I worked up the courage to try it one more time, and boom, believe it or not, I finally got great results. I’ve been reading ema href="http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Bakers-Book-Techniques-Recipes/dp/0471168572/?encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&keywords=bread&linkCode=ur2&qid=1351953160&sr=8-1&tag=lisaiscooking-20" target="blank"Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes/aimg alt="" border="0" height="1" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=lisaiscooking-20&l=ur2&o=1" style="border-bottom: medium none; border-left: medium none; border-right: medium none; border-top: medium none; margin: 0px;" width="1" //em by Jeffrey Hamelman, and that’s what inspired this latest attempt. No matter how many bread making books I read, I always learn new things when I pick up another. This book breaks down each step of making bread and clearly describes not just what to do but why and exactly how. For mixing dough, there’s a chart that shows the time necessary for different types of mixers since speeds vary. The book is detailed enough for instructing professional bread bakers, and it’s extremely informative for curious home bakers as well. Because of the chart, I knew exactly how long to mix the dough at each step of the recipe for ciabatta, and I finally got the proper gluten development that was off in all those other attempts. As the dough fermented, I could tell it looked better this time. I didn’t get my hopes up until I pulled the loaves from the oven, but I was pretty sure the dough was headed for success. /spanbr /br /span style="font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 90%; line-height: 22px;"I used the formula for Ciabatta with Stiff Biga. There are a couple of other varieties of ciabatta in the book as well, and I’m thinking of trying those next to see if my luck continues. The biga was mixed about fourteen hours before I planned to make the bread dough. Bread flour (6.4 ounces), water (3.8 ounces), and an eighth of a teaspoon of instant dry yeast were mixed, covered with plastic, and left to grow overnight. It is a rather dry mix, but the biga grew into a domed shape by the next morning and was ready to go. In the bowl of a stand mixer, bread flour (1 lb. and 9.6 ounces), water (1 lb. and 3.6 ounces), salt (.6 ounce), and .13 ounce instant dry yeast were combined. After mixing on low for a few minutes, the biga was added in chunks. The recipe is written for a spiral mixer which is common in commercial kitchens, so I referenced the handy chart which converted the mixing time for a standard KithenAid stand mixer. I mixed on second speed for five minutes. It’s worth noting that wetter doughs like ciabatta develop more slowly than drier ones, and extra mixing helps in creating dough structure. I transferred the dough to a big, oiled bowl for the three hour bulk fermentation. During that time, the dough needed to be folded twice, and the folding is another thing that helps in creating dough structure. And then, I veered from the instructions. Rather than pouring the dough onto a floured board to do the folds, I just folded the dough in the big, wide bowl. If you remove the dough from the bowl for folding, you should try to avoid working in extra flour. Extra flour can appear as white lines in the bread when it’s cut. So by folding in the bowl, no flour is even needed. After fermenting, the dough was active and bubbly. I turned it out on a well-floured surface. I prepped three sheet pans with parchment dusted with semolina. I divided the dough into three portions and placed them on the parchment-lined pans. Wet dough like this isn’t shaped other than being carefully pulled into a rough rectangle while hoping none of the gas bubbles deflate. The loaves were left for a final fermentation of one and a half hours, and the oven was heated to 460 degrees F. I left the loaves on the parchment pieces and loaded them onto the baking stone with a peel. They baked for about 36 minutes with steam added in the first five minutes. /spanbr /br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-NBxwpa2mr10/UJWPlMDJDI/AAAAAAAAHMQ/TRp69c8VgDY/s1600/Ciabatta520quad.jpg"img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-NBxwpa2mr10/UJWPlMDJDI/AAAAAAAAHMQ/TRp69c8VgDY/s640/Ciabatta520quad.jpg" width="520" //a/divspan style="font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 90%; line-height: 22px;"As promised in the book, the loaves had a “thin, blistered crust” that “splintered” when cut. The crumb was delightfully chewy and holey and everything that my previous failed ciabatta attempts were not. Now that I’ve finally found success with ciabatta, I’m excited about bread baking again. Maybe now some other kind of bread will become my new nemesis. /spanbr /br /span style="font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 90%; line-height: 22px;"I’m submitting this to a href="http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/" target="blank"Yeastspotting/a where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread./span br /br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HH66FzNF2Y8/UJWPxmBdVJI/AAAAAAAAHMY/4rCJ35fEm8/s1600/Ciabatta520close.jpg"img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HH66FzNF2Y8/UJWPxmBdVJI/AAAAAAAAHMY/4rCJ35fEm8/s640/Ciabatta520close.jpg" width="520" //a/divdiv style="text-align: left;"span style="font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 85%;"ispan style="line-height: 22px;"I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. /span/i/span/div

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