Ciabatta bread! (experiment time)

Welcome to the first of (possibly) many experiments! This was my first time making ciabatta bread and I love the way it turned out. I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and I will link it here.

I did, however, make some alterations. This is only my second time making bread and it’s a very time-consuming process. If you’d like to learn what I did, read on! This recipe will require you to do some prep work the day before you want to bake your bread, although you can do it up to three days in advance, depending on the age you’d like your bread to have.

Ingredients for the sponge (made ahead of time):

1/2 packet active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons warm water
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup  flour

The rest of the ingredients:

1/2 packet active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons warm water
2/3 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon canola oil (or olive oil! But I didn’t use olive oil because I didn’t have any!)
2 cups flour
1.5 Teaspoons salt

Recipe:

1. First, you make the sponge, which is the base for the bread mixture. Start by combining half the packet of yeast in a small bowl along with 2 Tablespoons of the warm water. Stir together and let sit for five minutes.

2. In another bowl, stir the previous mixture with 1/3 cup of water and 1 cup of flour. Stir until mixed well and then cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 12 hours up to 3 days. (I did about 18 hours.) This is called the sponge!

3. In another bowl, stir together the other 1/2 yeast packet and 2 Tablespoons warm water. Let sit for five minutes.

4. In a larger bowl blend together the mixture from step three along with the sponge, 2/3 cup warm water, your choice of oil, and 2 cups flour. Add salt and mix until smooth and elastic.

5. Scrape the dough out into a different, oiled bowl. Let sit, covered in plastic wrap and at room temperature, until doubled in size. (About 1.5 hours.)

6. Gently slide dough out of bowl onto a floured surface (such as a cutting board) and cut in half.

7. Transfer both halves to floured baking sheet. Form the halves into two long ovals, dimple tops with fingers, and sprinkle lightly with flour.

8. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours.

9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

10. Bake ciabatta for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. I checked mine every five minutes and turned the pan around so the two loaves would cook evenly.

11. Enjoy!

Post and pictures by Melissa Rook

Have you ever made bread before? How did it turn out? Altogether this probably took 5-ish hours, including the waiting time and the baking, (but not including waiting overnight.)

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One response to “Ciabatta bread! (experiment time)

  • Carol Hogan

    I used to bake bread all the time when we were sailing trip in the Pacific. It was actually the only way to have any bread at the time. It was a very simple sourdough recipe. Imagine the smell of baking bread filling up a small boat. We could hardly wait until it was cooked and after all the time it took to let it rise, pound it down and let it rise again, we demolished the loaf within minutes. There’s just nothing like the smell of baking bread.

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