Ciabatta Bread

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So as I have been working on my bread baking skills, I have come to the realization that most good breads are created over a period of at least 24 hours. However there are a lot of good recipes that can be done in a day and this is one, it typically takes me about 4-5 hours and the bread turns out so nice and golden and airy.

Ciabatta Bread
Variaton 1

500g bread flour or I like to use a half and half blend of whole wheat to white

2 tbs gluten I use this to help with the whole wheat part. Not totally necessary but I think it helps with some texture.
475g (~2 cups) water
2 tsp. yeast
15g salt

Variation 2 (Semolina) I have not tried this yet, but have heard it is very good

350g bread flour
150g semolina flour
475-485g (~2cups) water
2tsp. yeast
15g salt

Note: this recipe takes a TON of mixing and I have only done it with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I cannot imagine doing it without one. I’m sure any stand mixer would be fine but otherwise I think your arms may fall off before it is mixed right (only for this recipe, not all ciabatta bread).

1. Mix all ingredients roughly till combined with paddle, let it rest for 10 minutes

2. With the paddle (I prefer the hook to prevent the dough from crawling into the guts of the mixer), beat the living tar out of the batter, it will start out like pancake batter but in anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough, usually about 15 minutes or me. If it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. You’ll know it’s done when it separates from the side of the bowl and starts to climb up your hook/paddle and just coming off the bottom of the bowl. PAY ATTENTION TO THE MIXER to prevent the climbing. It will climb and be a nasty mess if it gets into the motor of the mixer. Anyway, it will definitely pass the windowpane test.

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Here is the dough after about 15 minutes of mixing you can see it is starting to pull away from the sides and form a dough ball resemblence.

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3. Place into a well oiled container and let it triple, approx 2.5 hours

4. Empty on to a floured counter (scrape if you must, however you get it out), cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Spray with oil and dust with lots o' flour. Let them proof for about 45 minutes, which gives you enough time to crank that oven up to 500F. If you have a baking stone or tiles, let them preheat with the oven.

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On the counter and rising

5. After 45 minutes or so the loaves should be puffy and wobbly. Pick up and stretch into your final ciabatta shape and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), and onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. Try to do it in one motion and be gentle, it might look like you’ve ruined them completely, but the oven spring is immense on these things.

6. Bake at 500F until they are 205F in the center (about 15-20 minutes), rotating 180 degrees half way through.

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