Albert Psaros from Albert’s Kitchen knows ciabatta is a favourite with many people and says: “It is special to me because while I didn’t grow up with this bread I discovered it in my 20’s and loved it. When I started baking, it symbolised my goal to make a great ciabatta and this recipe did the trick.”
Stage One Dough – Pre-ferment
If possible prepare stage one a day prior
- 100g baker’s flour (any store bought will do but ideally it should have a protein count of more than 10.5 g per 100g of flour)
- 100ml cold water
- Pinch instant yeast
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a plastic bowl and then cover in cling film. Ensure the bowl is at least three times the volume of the dough. Leave on the kitchen bench and allow to ferment for between 18 and 24 hours. When ready the dough should be bubbly and light and have a fruity, fermented fragrance.
- 1kg baker’s flour (or other)
- 950 ml water
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- 25gms sea salt
- 10gms instant yeast
- All of stage one dough
Working with a stand mixer. First pour water into mixing bowl. Next add stage one (pre-ferment) dough using your hand to break it up in the water – 1-2 minutes.
Next add the oil, then the flour and lastly the salt. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer work the dough for 2-3 minutes on low speed, then on high speed beat the dough until the dough no longer clings to the sides of the bowl.
Once achieved, stop mixing immediately. At this point the dough should look very silky and elastic. Pour mixing bowl contents into a plastic bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray (alternatively, a tablespoon of extra virgin of oil can be used to grease the inside of the bowl).
Make sure this bowl is at least 3 times the volume of the final dough. Cover with cling film and allow to proof (rise) for 2.5 hours on your kitchen table. The dough is ready when it has more than doubled its volume and is light and bubbly in appearance.
At this point it is very delicate in its structure.
Using a slow-pouring action and a spatula for ‘cutting’ the dough off the bowl wall, gently release the dough onto the bench. When you unload the dough on to your well-floured table be very careful not to degas it.
Next cut dough into two equal portions.
Now very gently, lift and stretch in one motion as you place the dough onto a lined tray.
Immediately put into a hot oven (220 degrees) and quickly spray the inside walls of your oven with water to create steam. Bake for 25 minutes.
Bread is ready when there’s a nice caramel brown colour to the crust and the loaf is noticeably lighter when lifted. Cool on cooling rack before eating that is, if you can resist biting into it straight away!
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