Well this was my second weekend in a row making ciabatta and I love it! Last weekend was Johnny's Ciabatta Integrale  plus ciabatta rolls  from Wild Yeast. I had so much fun I did the ciabatta rolls again this weekend.
I really can't believe how wet the dough starts off and yet how good it turns out after the folding and spending a night in the fridge.
The initial dough was the consistency of reasonably wet porridge:
and you're some how supposed to "knead" it. So I just kind of flopped it around on the bench a bit using oiled or wet hands until it got itself a more together. Then you have to add about another 50mL of water (unbelievably)! So back in the bowl it went and I smootched in the water - felt kind of like making mud pies, and looked a lot the same!
then it got a have about 4 or so folds over about 3 or so hours (might was slightly extended due a bit of a long walk in the meantime). First fold it had "come together" a bit more (Iove it how gluten develops :o)):
Then by the second fold (about 1/2hr after the first) it's nice and elastic with bubbles appearing:
Then by the next 2 folds its just a lovely, soft, elastic, bubbly dough - wonderful to fold. I got so carried away with myself I forgot to take more photos until I took the rolls out of the oven! The 2nd batch got a bit "tanned" as I forgot to turn the oven down after the steaming, but they tasted wonderful.
Nice chewy crust, nice big holes, a lovely tang - perfect. When I made them last weekend I was very nervous about adding the extra water after the initial knead, but I got over myself this weekend and went the whole hog! Next time I think I'll try and make "slippers" instead of rolls, but I'm not holding my breath as my shaping leaves a lot to be desired at the best of times!
Happiness is making bread