Busby's Bakery School

Authentic Ciabatta Recipe With biga

ciabatta recipe

hard

16 - 22 hours

italy

This recipe shows how to make perfect ciabatta bread which is fantastic for sandwiches, panini and dipping in soup. Ciabatta is a relatively common these days, but real ciabatta bread like this one is hard to find outside of Italy.

Enjoy using a biga preferment to give flavour, structure and aroma. We will also proof in a couche which supports the shape of the dough.


Ingredients 


For the biga:

    255g  White bread flour 


    174g  Water


    0.4g  Fresh yeast (0.2g dried yeast)



For the dough:

   300g  White bread flour


   192g  Water


       5g  Fresh yeast (2.5g dried)


     11g  Salt


   192g  2nd water


       6g  Extra virgin olive oil


1

Prepare the biga 12-18 hours before the starting the dough by whisking the yeast and the water together. Once dissolved, add the flour and gently mix for a minute or two until the mixture has a fairly even consistency. Cover and leave on the kitchen table for 12-18 hours.

2

When the biga is developed it will have large bubbles appearing on the surface. Weigh the remaining ingredients and add the biga to the water and then put all ingredients excluding the 2nd water and the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. 

3

Mix the dough slowly, first with a dough scraper and then using a stretching motion on the table. Continue this for 7 minutes, by now the dough should have an even consistency. Place the down back into the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a bag and place it in the fridge. 

4

After 15 minutes, take the dough out and knead fast for 5 minutes. You may wish to use the fast knead. Cover again and place back in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

5

Remove the dough from the fridge and place on the table. Knead fast for 2 minutes before adding the 2nd water. To do this put the dough back in the bowl add the water and push the dough into the water until it incorporates then fast knead for 2 minutes. After the water, use the same technique to add the olive oil and again knead for 2 minutes. The dough should look smooth, even and strong. 

6

Place the dough in an clean but oiled bowl and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

7

Complete a stretch and fold or give it a gentle knead for 30 seconds. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to rest for another 20 minutes.

8

Stretch and fold or lightly knead again and place back in the bowl.

9

Dust flour and semolina onto a workbench. After another 20 minute rest, turn the dough onto the table, lightly shape it into a rectangle shape but be careful not to push air out of the dough. Leave to bench rest for 20 minutes. 

10

Prepare a couche by dusting with flour and semolina. Being careful not to push any air out of the dough, use a metal dough scraper to divide it into roughly 320g pieces - don’t try to be too accurate with this as you will knock the air out. As you cut, place the dough into the couche, turning the edges up to act as a barrier between the next dough piece. 

ciabatta in couche
11

Preheat the oven to 230C (440F) with a baking stone. Proof for 1 ½ hours, use the poke test to identify when they are ready.

12

Use a long peel to remove the ciabattas from the couche and either drop them into the oven individually, or place them on a floured board and drop them all in one go. Bake at 220C (420F) for around 25-30 minutes. Open the oven door ⅔’s of the way through to release some steam. 

13

When they have a nice golden colour ready, use a peel to remove them from the oven and allow to cool. You can choose to bake lightly or to have a bit more colour as you wish.

Method using a dough mixer


1

Prepare the biga 12-18 hours before the starting the dough by whisking the yeast and the water together. Once dissolved, add the flour and gently mix for a minute or two until the mixture has a fairly even consistency. Cover and leave on the kitchen table for 12-18 hours.

2

When the biga is developed it will have large bubbles appearing on the surface. Weigh the remaining ingredients.

3

Add the biga, flour, 1st water, yeast and salt to the mixing bowl and knead for 8 minutes slow, followed by 8 minutes fast. Next add the 2nd water and knead slowly. Once the dough has pulled together, knead on fast for a minute before adding the olive oil, again on slow speed. 

4

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

5

Complete a stretch and fold or give it a gentle knead for 30 seconds. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to rest for another 20 minutes.

6

Stretch and fold or lightly knead again and place back in the bowl.

7

Dust flour and semolina onto a workbench. After another 20 minute rest, turn the dough onto the table, lightly shape it into a rectangle shape but be careful not to push air out of the dough. Leave to bench rest for 20 minutes. 

8

Prepare a couche by dusting with flour and semolina. Being careful not to push any air out of the dough, use a metal dough scraper to divide it into roughly 320g pieces - don’t try to be too accurate with this as you will knock the air out. As you cut, place the dough into the couche, turning the edges up to act as a barrier between the next dough piece. 

ciabatta in couche
9

Preheat the oven to 230C (440F) with a baking stone. Proof for 1 ½ hours, use the poke test to identify when they are ready.

10

Use a long peel to remove the ciabattas from the couche and either drop them into the oven individually, or place them on a floured board and drop them all in one go. Bake at 220C (420F) for around 25-30 minutes. Open the oven door ⅔’s of the way through to release some steam. 

11

When they have a nice golden colour ready, use a peel to remove them from the oven and allow to cool. You can choose to bake lightly or to have a bit more colour as you wish.

How to make ciabatta bread video tutorial


Top tips for the best ciabatta


Usually when baking bread, we bake with just the bottom yeast setting turned on.You may choose to turn the top heat on during the last 5-10 minutes to get a nice golden colour on the top or your ciabatta.

When removing the ciabatta's from the couche you can turn them upside down which gives a more uniform shape with lines running down them. Or you can opt to keep them the same way up which creates an irregular bread shape.

If you don't have a couche, you can make do with a clean tea towel. You may find a few strands of cotton on the bread crust though!

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