Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta Bread

Classic Italian Ciabatta. There isn’t a single Italian Family meal in which bread is not present on the table, and what is better than a light, crusty bread to scoop up the sauce of say Melanzane Parmigana?

Fare la scarpetta” in Italy they say it shouldn’t be done in polite society, but I think its one of the best ways to finish enjoying a delicious Italian meal, using light crusty piece of bread to savour the last remaining sauce on your plate.

Ciabatta is actually a very recent invention.

Ciabatta is an Italian bread that was first produced back in 1982 by Arnaldo Cavallari, a miller and baker in a small town close to Venice. At the time bakers in Italy were concerned by the popularity in the country with French baguettes. Nothing like a bit of rivalry to get the bakers going!

Please note this is a very wet dough to work with! Definitely not advised for the beginner bakers out there. Ensure your hands are well covered in olive oil before handling the dough, and only lightly touch the dough just as necessary. And of course use your bread scraper !

Ciabatta Recipe

Ingredients

  • 195g Manitoba (farina tipo “0”)
  • 195g Farina Grano Tenero Tipo “00”
  • 3g dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 370 ml warm water

Timings

  • Mix 5 mins
  • Rest 2 hours
  • Bake 40 mins
  • Cool 20 mins
  • Ready to eat in …    3 hours 5 mins

Method

  1. In a blender or mixer with a dough hook, mix together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pour in the warm water, and mix/knead for 10 minutes.
  2. Oil a large bowl, then plop the dough into that bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the dough, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and cover with at towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot e.g. in oven turned off and with the door closed and allow it to rise for 2 hours.
  3. Remove the bowl from the oven. Place a baking tray into the oven, and preheat your oven to 220 degrees celcius.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle it with flour.
  5. Flour your hands, and begin shaping the dough. First stretching an edge of the dough while still in the bowl, stretch it away from the dough ball, and fold it back into the centre of the dough. Repeat this until there is a tight dough ball in the centre of your bowl.
  6. Now slide out the dough from the bowl directly onto the parchment paper, and stretch it gentle into a long rectangle.
  7. Slide the parchment paper with the dough onto the already hot baking tray in the oven, and immediately cover with an upturned baking dish. Careful not to burn your hands this bits tricky! *
  8. Close oven immediately and leave to bake for 30mins.
  9. Remove the baking dish covering the bread and leave bread to brown for another 10-15 mins.
  10. If you tap the bread, you should feel like it’s hollow – that’s how you know it’s ready!
  11. Place the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool down for a minimum of 20 minutes.

* If you have a heavy casserole dish with lid, you can even bake your bread in this instead. It wont have the classic ciabatta shape but works very well. Just remember to put the dish into the oven when preheating it.