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SOURDOUGH CIABATTA RECIPE
Sourdough ciabatta is perfect when you don’t want to stress about shaping your bread.
Ingredients for 4 medium ciabattas
400g flour, of which 370g bread & 30g wholegrain flour
320g water (80%)
80g starter (20%)
16g olive oil (4%)
8g salt (2%)
[If you do not have a sourdough starter, and would like to make one from scratch, you may want to check my Sourdough Starter Guide. You will then be able to bake not only these amazing sourdough ciabattas, but also sourdough bread and other goodies.]
[You can use only bread flour should you want to. As wholegrain you can use anything from wholewheat, whole spelt, or more ancient grains as khorasan/kamut, einkorn or emmer]
[TIP] If you’ve got a stand mixer, you may want to use it for a more thorough mixing/kneading.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
DAY 1 MORNING
Feed the starter & leave it out on the counter until it reaches its peak and it is ready to use.
I use a feeding ratio of 1:4:4 (for example:15g starter + 60g water + 60g flour). My starter would reach its peak in between 6-8h depending on the room temperature.
DAY 1 AFTERNOON
To a bowl, add 300g water and the flour.
If you use a stand mixer, mix for 2 min on low speed and for another 2-3 min on medium speed. If you mix by hand, give it a light knead for something like 5-6min.
Cover the bowl, and let rest for 1h on the counter.
Add the starter to the dough and mix well, until well incorporated. If you use a stand mixer, it’s for another 2min on low speed, 2-3 min on medium speed. If you mix by hand, give it a light knead for another 5-6min.
You can then add the salt and the remainder of 20g water, and mix again well, until the dough comes together. [TIP] To help incorporate the salt easier into the dough, you can dissolve it in the water beforehand.
Last but not least, add the olive oil. Mix well, until the dough comes together (4min or so in total if you were to use a stand mixer).
Cover the bowl, and let rest for 1h.
Time for a first stretch & fold. This is then followed by another 4 folds, at 45min intervals. You can continue with stretch & folds or move to coil folds, whichever technique you prefer better.
After the last fold, cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge for 12-16h.
[TIP] If throughout the bulk fermentation, you feel your dough is rather sluggish and wet, increase the number of folds and decrease the time in between them. For example you can perform a fold every 30min.
[TIP] I you have a bowl with lid, move the dough to that. If you have a rectangle container, even better (as it will help with the final shape).
DAY 2 MORNING OR AFTERNOON
Depending on when in the day you’d like to have your ciabattas ready
2hours before baking the ciabattas, remove the dough from the fridge.
Dust the working surface generously with flour, before removing the dough from its container. Dust the dough generously with flour too.
Using a scraper, cut the dough in 4 equal pieces and transfer them onto a large kitchen towel. Use plenty of flour on the towel to avoid the dough getting stuck to it. Cover it and let it sit at room temperature for 2h.
[TIP] If you have a baking stone/steel use that for baking the ciabattas. Otherwise, you can just use the oven tray.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C / 450°F. If you use a baking stone/steel make sure the stone reaches the desired temperature as well (30min is recommended).
You can bake these 2 at a time. Leaving the other 2 to rest on the counter while the first ones were baking.
Bake for 15min at 230°C / 450°F (with steam), followed by another 10min at 200°C / 400°F (no steam). Top/bottom setting throughout.
Let cool for 15-30min on a cooling rack, before cutting them. You may want to cover them for extra softness.
[TIP] Steam is not mandatory, however if you can add some, it will improve the crust of your bakes.
Check this video to help you better visualise the steps in the process.