Ciabatta Bake-off


Let's see lots of ciabatta(s?) in October and beyond. Check out the ciabatta threads here ---> Dom's, Jeremy'sRobert's blog . I haven't made one for a long time myself. Would be looking forward to see the size and shape of your slippers. ;)

Cheers
TP
 


75 comments

Ok I guess it is time for me to try and make ciabatta.  I have been looking at ciabatta recipes and wonder what it is that is defining feature of ciabatta?  Is it just a low profile bread with large holes?  I have seen people do all kinds of different breads and call it ciabatta but I'm not sure they are really ciabatta.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

Interesting definition of malaysiano ciabatta....icky clicky. Check out the crumb of the tray 'ciabatta'.

I think it's a high hydration bread, free formed flattish into a rustic oblong. I'm not so sure about it being a flatbread now, since Dom says his isn't really flat?

TP



Here is Wikipedia's attempt at a definition.

The key seems to be the shape rather than the crust or crumb and how it is made.  If it is somewhat elongated, broad and flattish and somewhat collapsed in the middle (like a slipper?), then according to Wikipedia, it's a ciabatta.

Matthew


I think that like many other bread types (baguette, fougasse, roll) ciabatta is 'defined' by its shape, though there are conventions about what goes into the bread.
So a ciabatta is a long flat(ish) 'slipper' shaped loaf. By convention the top is not slashed, (though it may break on its own), and is stippled with streaks of flour from the proving. Usually it is a high hydration dough (upwards of 75%) that is not enriched (it may contain some olive oil).
It is tricky to get the huge holes and irregular texture with all sourdough ciabatta - so I will be interested to give it another go, and to see how everyone else manages.

cheers
Dom




Thanks for the definitions of Ciabatta.  From all that I have read about Ciabatta your definitions seem accurate.  It is the recipes and pictures of breads that people call Ciabatta that are outside of those definitions that are confusing.

I'm making my plans for my first attempt at Ciabatta this weekend.  I just hope I don't end up with a pancake.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

...as a forum prolific baker, you (may) have the honour of baking the 1st and/or last breads of the month. If it turns out to be a pancake (not a bad thing), you know where to find the flatbread thread.

I'll make mine next week.

Cheers
TP


I thought I would give Caibatta a go as the thread got me interested so last night I had a bit of a look on the forum and found Jeremy's recipe in the recipe section.

I scaled the batch down a little and read his comment that he wanted bigger holes so I added about 50ml of water. I found the mixture was more like a stiff batter than a dough so the initial stretching was done with a wooden spoon in the bowl. I left the mix for 10 mins and gave it another mix. After another 10 mins I scraped it out of the bowl and threw it onto the bench as in the home page demo, it stuck to the bench and I had to scrape it off for a while until it developed some good elasticity and became "almost" workable so I returned it to the bowl. Folding was done by scraping under the dough and pulling it out, up over with the scraper. I let it rise for 4 hours then turned it out onto the floured bench divided it into 6 and folded each piece to form the rolls and placed them on some baking paper. I let it prove for about 75 minutes before baking as per Jeremy's instructions...25 minutes at 240 degrees.

I think they turned out OK :-) if a little under proved....but who said Ciabatta baked flatish! ;-) These had amazing oven spring!






Great holes!!!

There were some discussion on what constituted a ciabatta and it was more or less agreed that it was the 'slipper' shape. You've got cute bun-ny slippers. ;)

TP


[quote=TeckPoh]Great holes!!!

There were some discussion on what constituted a ciabatta and it was more or less agreed that it was the 'slipper' shape. You've got cute bun-ny slippers. ;)

TP[/quote]

Haha, the thing was TP that when I put them in the oven after proving they were only about 15mm high but after baking they ended up about 50mm high! I was amazed. :-)

I suppose by definition these do not qualify as "true" Ciabatta. I'll have to do another batch sometime and maybe let them prove for at least a couple of hours to see if I can achieve the "right" shape. ;-)


Well done!!


In the book "Local Breads" there are directions on how to make Ciabatta Rolls and Lamp I think you have Ciabatta Rolls.  I just hope I can get something to look as good as yours.

TP forum prolific baker?  I only get to bake once a week.  I know there is at least one person here who bakes more than that.

I got some yogurt today so I'm going to make some Naan finally.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

1st go

Ciabatta a'lancienne (to mix languages somewhat)






based on Peter Reinhart's a l'ancienne recipe

200g starter (100%)
360g iced water
500g flour
10g salt

mixed well and kneaded once (~30 secs) - put in fridge overnight

Then next morning folded hourly for 5 hours, divided, stretched a little and transferred by hand to pot. Baked in pot.

cheers
Dom


Lamp - the holes in those ciabatta rolls are very impressive - well done.

clarification (since I am sure I will be asked).
This dough is very sticky and hard to handle.
It was a little sluggish - after being in the fridge all night.
I folded the first few times on an oiled surface, then on a liberally floured surface. After folded the last time - into a rough rectangle, I simply cut that into four fat strips - tossed more flour over them, and put them on a heavily dusted tea towel (bunched up in between the pieces) to wait their turn to bake.
I used an oval casserole that had been in the oven since it was  turned on.
With floured hands I picked up the dough from either end (a little rough handling really doesn't matter with this dough), then dropped it (carefully) into the pot. Put lid on, and put pot back in the oven.
Baked for about 20 mins with lid on, and 10-15 mins with lid off in very hot oven


Those loaves look impressively beautiful Dom!

....and thanks for the compliments Dom and Leaddog, I had no real idea what I was doing. ;-)


Ok here is my first try at Ciabatta and I have no idea what I'm doing either.

Because of the configuration of my cooker I cooked all three separately.  The first one is the ugly one and the other two I'm happy with.  Now I just have to see how they taste.

[img]http://sourdough.com/gallery2/gallery/d/14265-1/PA050908.JPG[/img]

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 


Dom and Lamp, they look exactly like the loaves and rolls they sell at the Italian woodfired bakery! 

Duane, looking forward to seeing how your crumb went, your middle one looks more like a slipper than anyone's! :)



Celia here is the crumb from the ugly one because it cooled down first.

[img]http://sourdough.com/gallery2/gallery/d/14269-1/PA050911.JPG[/img]

I have never had Ciabatta before but this stuff tastes great!

I thought the last one looked like a foot so figured that it must look more like a slipper.

[img]http://sourdough.com/gallery2/gallery/d/14267-1/PA050910.JPG[/img]

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

Lamp-
Wow, I am impressed! I thought the dough was a bit on the dry side, good thinking bumping up the hydration, it should be really almost unmanageable with a lot of folds in between the bulk fermentation, I remember at school we used to layer a good handful of flour inbetween the folds too!

Nice look!

Cheers!

I'm going to refresh my starter........

Race you to making a ciabatta, Jeremy!

TP


Would love too, but I already made my pain quotidien for the week, a Berliner kurzsauer inspired by my friend Nils from Aachen!
Too much work these last few weeks, I think the rich are getting richer, makes me work more for my money, got to pay out the 700 Billion!


J
[quote=Jeremy]Would love too, but I already made my pain quotidien for the week, a Berliner kurzsauer inspired by my friend Nils from Aachen!

[snip]
J
[/quote]

Are we going to get to see said berliner? I know...you'll probably post it on your website (you know I lurve it), if you haven't done so already....but, honey, do save us the trip.

TP

p.s. Would love to have Nils with us...(hint, hint)...though his english isn't as cute as Markus'.


didn't snap a picture of it as it came out about an hour ago and it's late and I have just about polished a whole bottle of wine! In the morrow I am off to work early, watching Zefferellis Romeo and Juliet!


Nils, ask him to come over, by the by, where is Markus?

[quote=Jeremy]Lamp-
Wow, I am impressed! I thought the dough was a bit on the dry side, good thinking bumping up the hydration, it should be really almost unmanageable with a lot of folds in between the bulk fermentation, I remember at school we used to layer a good handful of flour inbetween the folds too!

Nice look!

Cheers!

[/quote]


Jeremy, In your thread containing the recepie it was you who said it needed more water so the inspiration came from you. ;-)

The dough WAS unmanagable...it stuck to everything and I could not fold it conventionally. I only used flour when I formed the loaves....I wanted to keep the hydration as high as I could possibly manage. :-)


...or close...because I used the same formula as him.

I was a bit lazy and did the turn and folds in the bowl using a scraper (fun!), instead of giving it a good stretch on the table. Very soft crumb, medium sourness, crust was very crisp for a couple of hours, now soft. Also I cut the dough into 2 fat slippers, not 3...don't slippers come in pairs? I didn't use flour at all to unstick, just EVOO. And, because it was so sloppy, I didn't dare to risk any boo-boo's shifting them on to the tile... I placed them on parchment paper in a tin and baked them there.



Guess I didn't get the hOles, huh?
Next!

TP


Nice looking loaves there LeadDog and TP.

At least you both got the shape right for a Ciabatta and TP, I would not worry so much about the holes, I bet it tastes great!

TP, my buns came out with a really crisp crust and soft crumb but like yours the crust turned soft and the bread was nice and chewy by the following morning...I think that is supposed to happen. ;-)


Indeed, it was so nice and chewy that it was all finished in one meal. I didn't eat it like a sandwich; the kid in me enjoyed peeling the bread to pieces, and, admiring the fine membranous crumb.

I'm still going to try for the hOles....

TP, a bread-in-oven watcher too.


I decided today to find out more about this interesting bread, and was surprised that it is considered a 20th century invention.  More than one region of Italy, and more than one Baker, have also claimed to have been the inventer or birthplace of ciabatta.  Various regions of Italy add different things to their ciabatta. Ciabatta made with olive oil and some whole grain flours -ciabatta integral, or milk - ciabatta latte.  One writer had described her rolls as ciabatta only to be told that if they were sourdough - they couldn't really be called ciabatta.  Gasp!! Havent't they ever heard of biga naturale? 

Wikipedia and several other sources were fairly weak and mostly quoted the same article... Hum..wonder who will claim to have written it first?  Anyway I was able to find the following interesting bit from Peter Reinhart's book 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice'. 

“This bread with its big shiny holes and amorphous shape, has taken America by storm, just as it did Italy during the past fifty years.  Though it hails from an age-old tradition of rustic, slack-dough breads, the name ciabatta was not applied to this loaf until the mid-twentieth century by an enterprising baker in the Lake Como region of northern Italy.  He observed that the bread resembled a slipper worn by dancers of the region and thus dubbed his loaf ciabatta di Como – (Slipper bread of Como).  A new tradition was born.  During the second half of the century, this ciabatta became the unofficial national bread of Italy, so closely identified is it with the chewy, rustic peasant breads of the Italian countryside.  As with pugliese bread, the dough is not unlike that of many other Italian and French breads, including pizza and focaccia, and can thus be made into many shapes other than the Lake Como slipper.

            You can make this dough with a large amount of either polish or biga.  It can also be made with the addition of milk or olive oil to tenderize the dough.  In other words there are many variations, all valid, and as long as you make a slipper shape you can call it ciabatta.”

Thank you Peter Reinhart!!

So in the spirit of that I submit the following post that was supposed to be up yesterday but never made it, due to technical problems on both sides of the world. 



http://sourdough.com/gallery2/gallery/d/14291-2/ciapumpkin3.JPG


Well since I couldn't put the picture in I put the link in... so there - you can at least match this up.



TA DA! Pumpkin Ciabatta!


I am actually on my third batch of ciabatta.  I really love this stuff - ciabatta in general that is.  We like to make Italian sausage sandwiches with onions and pepper in tomato sauce.  They are really messy but good, these are the first rolls we have ever made that really held up.  The holes soaked up the sauce but didn’t fall apart.  So the first batch was inhaled… The second went pretty fast as well and I decided it was time to expand!

I use a lot of ripe starter around 500 - 600gm I am not sure about the hydration percentage, it should have been around 60%.

 

-500g thick ripe white starter/refreshed with AP flour
-250g water
-140g semolina
-60g whole wheat
-150g bread flour
-8g salt
-12g olive oil
-100g fresh cooked mashed and cooled butternut squash

 

Micro waved – with about 5g water added. Other pumpkin/squash types or a nice orange yam would work too.

I put everything in my KA mixer.  Mix 2 minutes, Hydrate for 20, knead at 4 for 10 minutes, dump into square storage container coated with about 1 T (a generous slurp) of olive oil, stretch and fold 2 times and cover loosely.  Stretch and fold (2x each time - in container) over the next 1.5 hours to 2 hours (while watching a movie) at least 3 more times.  Then cover well and tuck into the fridge before going to bed. 

Next evening around 5:00pm I put it out in a nice warm place till it gets warmed up and grows at least by half again it's volume - about 2 hours.  Time depends on how warm your kitchen or/oven with a light is.  Dump it on a really well floured board, chop into 3 loaves or 9-12 rolls handling lightly, don't fold or flatten.  Dust both sides well and place on a piece of parchment with folds between...etc.  Cover and let rise while you warm your oven for about 45-60 minutes.  You can go a little longer on the rise if you have the time. 

 

Slide onto hot stones in oven at 475F for 7-10 minutes with steam.  Finish baking another 8-10 minutes at 450F without steam.  Variation in time is 20 minutes for loaves 15 for rolls.  Cool and bag before bed time. 

This works so well for a full time work schedule, and the bread is not too sour.  I was testing the pumpkin out for flavor but you could add spice to this with a number of different nuances to match different cuisines.  Using Chipotle and cilantro and chili, Thyme and chives, Oregano, Basil and garlic with a little red pepper flakes, curry and cilantro etc. or how about ginger, cinnamon and cloves?  I know there have been questions before about pumpkin, the type I used can be found here.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butternut_squash

 

 

If you want to knead by hand you could add part of the water to start with. Knead the dough at a more tolerable hydration level and then add the rest of the water before you put the dough in the container.

 

You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

Terri, thanks for sharing all that info on ciabatta. These bake-offs are just the place for us to learn 'everything' about a bread. Your pumpkin ciabatta sounds delicious! I love butternut squash but it costs 4 times the common pumpkin here. Enclose your picture with image tags and it'll show. There!





100% white spelt , 100% hydration
I'd forgotten how wet spelt dough goes, especially as this was rather overproved. More like a batter..

It was meant to be a ciabatta. Call it a foccacia.
Tasty though.


I've never used Spelt flour before but by coincedence I purchased some early this morning to give it a go. :-)

All the breads look great and are an inspiration!



of ciabattas. Does anyone know if we can just insert an 's' after ciabatta for plural? In malay, plurals are double words.

Lamp, have you seen the humongous spelt bake-off thread?

TP


You know I'm just a novice at this baking caper TP..It was the spelt thread that got me interested to give it a go.  ;-)



Your breads certainly don't show that! Must be X-connection between fly-fishing and natural breadmaking skills. ;)  :)

TP


Yep, I'm still a novice TP. You are too kind to think otherwise. I have probably only made a total of about a dozen batches of SD so far. I have had great advice from Boris so any successes are probably due to that.

Years ago I used to make conventional bread with either dried or compressed yeast and when bread makers hit the scene I got one. I used it about a dozen times but then stopped baking, I suspect because the fun went out of it. You would know this already but putting a mix and some water in a machine and pulling a loaf out at the end of the process is not baking for me. hand making my own loaves before machines probably means I have some advantage over someone who has never baked before, but SD is still pretty new to me, but I'm learning. :-)

There is probably not much of a connection between fly fishing and baking, but there probably is a connection between fly tying and baking as both benefit from having a "feel" and an attention to detail. Boris might have a better idea...He has not done too much tying but pictures of his latest flies he put up on another forum are excellent, they look like flies tied by someone with a lot of experience!


Yes. Sometimes I wish I had space/capacity to do more bread at one go (tho' I'd be swamped by the volume such as the cuban bread bakers), because I love working with dough so much, and, feeling it change.

Hey, flytying people, could you give me a link to a fly gallery or something? They are such works of art!

TP


If you want to look at a few flies TP, here are a couple if indexes I use for inspiration...I don't know of a gallery as such. These are mainly trout and salmon flies though. ;-)

This one is listed by the name of the fly
http://www.flytyingworld.com/flyindex.shtml

This one is of flies by tier
http://www.danica.com/flytier/index.html

There is lots of stuff on the net and Wet or Boris would probably know of some better sites. :-)


[quote=TeckPoh]I love butternut squash but it costs 4 times the common pumpkin here. Enclose your picture with image tags and it'll show. There!
[/quote]

A sweeter pumpkin variety should work similarly, or you could use a nice roasted yam with water added to get a "mashed" potato consistancy.  Many bakers use sweet potatoes or yams in all their recipes that call for pumpkin.  Yams work well because they are a bit starchier and more colorful in bread recipes.

I have thought about growing butternut squash. They are supposed to grow fairly easily.  But all my zuccini and cucumbers have always failed to produce anything.  If the powdery mildew doesn't get them the cucumber beetles do.  But my son wants to try again next year.  Here in Ohio, squash are so very beautiful, various and cheap, and we have miles of pumpkins.

I used the rest of the butternut squash to make a sourdough pumpkin spice cake!

You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...


My contribution, using Dom's recipe (cheers, Dom! :)).

Very wet dough, fussy to handle, stuck badly to the tea towel (I used bread flour instead of rye to dust the towel, darn it).  Rose beautifully in the oven, very crunchy crust and chewy crumb, and great holes.  The crust has held well - it's quite reminiscent of the woodfired bread we used to buy at the Italian bakeries.  Needless to say, there's now flour all over the house.. :)










Celia that really looks great.  Now I'm going to have to make some more because I'm missing out on its great taste.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

Aaaaaaaaah. Wow.



That bread looks sensational Celia! :-)


Wow Celia.  Can I have some?



.... thank you all for the positive feedback!  I was really pleased with it - Dom's take on the Reinhart recipe worked really well !

One thing I did differently - when it was time to shape the loaves, I did what I'd seen the Cuban bakers do on the video Jeremy posted.  I flattened out the bread on a heavily floured surface, floured the top, then rolled it into a long tight roll, then flattened it a bit again and let it rise.  I think this might have contributed to the holes.  We've eaten one loaf halfway through, and there are huge gaping chasms!  Ok, so not the best sandwich bread...  :)




I was wonder why it looked like it had a round bottom to it.  The bread still looks very good.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 


Hahaha....yep, Duane!  Interestingly, the ciabattas from the Italian bakery don't look like a rectangular cut dough either, although they don't have a round bottom like mine did.  But they do look like they've been shaped, as opposed to just cut and baked.  I guess the super-rustic look doesn't sell as well.

As an aside, the last time I bought rolls at the bakery, they asked me if I wanted them with or without a hole in the middle.  I thought it was amazing that they should have so much control over how their bread baked...



[quote=celia] Interestingly, the ciabattas from the Italian bakery don't look like a rectangular cut dough either, although they don't have a round bottom like mine did.  But they do look like they've been shaped, as opposed to just cut and baked.  I guess the super-rustic look doesn't sell as well.
[/quote]
That is one of the reasons I asked "What is real Ciabatta?"  Seems people will almost call any bread Ciabatta to make a buck.  I have some Ciabatta Integrale under way.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.  The weather has turned cold so fermenting looks to be very long.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 


Indeed.  Although the bakery I'm referring to is regarded as the most authentically Italian in the city - they pride themselves on their loaves and rosetta rolls, have been perfecting their art for over 20 years and are true breadmaking artists.  They're making what they believe to be the real deal, they're certainly not doing it just "to make a buck".  Their bread is chewy and crusty and holey, which is what I'm trying to replicate in my "ciabatta".    :)



After a week of reading about sourdough microbiology I needed something fun to do and making this was fun.

Ciabatta Integrale



The Crumb Shot

Ciabatta Integrale Crumb

Really I think they look like Dog Bones. I wonder what Dog Bones is in Italian?Dog Bones

Whole Wheat home milled flour at 85% Hydration.  The bread tastes great and if I don't give it away I'm going to eat it all real soon like.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

ossa del cane (dog bones!)
It must have been your subconsious at work LD to shape them like bones rather than slippers! Either way they look great! :)