Really I was just in search of a nice fat loaf of sourdough with big fat holes and a moist chewy crumb. After seeing the remarkable effects of adding some oats to bread, I thought I would experiment with this idea and also the addition of some cracked or kibbled multi-grains soaked in boiling water.
I was following Dan Lepard's advice that "the addition of cooked, soaked whole-grains add a moist heartiness to any bread".
I was wanting the bread to be lighter and milder so I opted for a 3:1 ratio of white bakers flour with wholemeal and soft fine 00 Italian flour combined with a high hydration rate of around 80%. I guess I was sort of thinking of a long ferment, low yeast sourdough ciabatta but not really sure if you could call it that or that a multi-grain, ciabatta existed.
After a little research I discovered it happens that the Italians do make whole-grain ciabatta. They call it ciabatta integrale (integrale means “with everything”)
Starter (100% hydration)
Diastatic Malt 10*
Mixed-Grains (rye, wheat, oatmeal & maize)
Instant Dried Yeast
Diastatic Malt 10* (This is Malt blended with Bread Flour at 1g Malt to 10g flour. Diastatic Malt is normally added at 0.1% of flour weight)
I used a very small amount of instant dried yeast (1/4 tsp) to help boost the rise but if you wish you can leave this out.
|White Bakers Flour||300g|
|00 Fine Italian Flour||100g|
I started by refreshing a small amount of my starter with equal amounts of water and flour in two stages over 24 hours so that I ended up with 200g of active white starter at 100% hydration.
For the multi-grain soaker I got out my large granite mortar & pestle and roughly ground up a small amount of rolled oats and some organic wheat grains which I added to some cracked rye and multi-grain mix of oats, rye and maize. You could use any multi-grain mix, however I wanted extra oats in the mix.
Place 50g of this mixture in a small bowl and cover with 190g of boiling water. Let the multi-grain mix soak for 5-10 minutes while you get on with preparing the other ingredients.
Dissolve and mix the starter with the rest of the water (200g) and let this sit for a few minutes while you weigh up the flour.
If you are using instant dried yeast, mix 1/4 tsp with 20g warm water and let sit for 5 minutes before mixing into the liquids.
Weigh out your flours and mix these dry ingredients with the malt powder.
Mix the soaker into the thick liquids and then combine in all the flour to form a wet dough. Keep mixing the dough for a minute or two by hand before letting it sit for 20 minutes.
Add salt to the dough and knead it into the dough by hand.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover in a plastic bag to seal it, before putting it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning take out the out the dough and fold it once and return it to the fridge.
That evening, take out the dough and over the next 4-5 hours gently stretch and fold it once every hour on an oiled surface. Fold it once every hour and kept it from drying out in-between folds by keeping it inside the plastic bag.
The dough should by fairly smooth and blistered by the time it is ready for shaping. Test it by slashing and looking for bubbles.
Shape into a rough loaf and place it in a cane Bannerton seam side up.
Again cover with a plastic bag and let prove for another hour or so before putting the whole lot back in the fridge for baking in the morning. Be sure to cover the dough in the fridge so it does not dry out too much.
After pulling out of the fridge allow the dough to warm up while your oven heats up. I bake using my oven at it’s maximum which is 250ºC. I use a baking stone, which I have allowed to heat up for 40 minutes before baking.
Just before putting the loaf into the oven, dust the top with some fine ground oatmeal (I painted on some white chia seeds) and slash the top of the loaf with a razor blade.
To provide steam I place my bread in the oven at maximum temperature and then turn it off and throw a handful of ice-cubes into the bottom of the oven. I turn it off because my oven is fan-forced and the fan would blow all the steam away. I leave it steaming for 10 minutes and then turn the oven back on and set the temperature at 210°C and bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes longer.
It is not exactly what many would consider ciabatta given the shape, but it’s a remarkably light-textured whole-grain loaf with a full flavour.
This bread certainly has those nice big irregular holes and moist chewy texture I was after. If you are on the hunt for tips about opening the texture, Dan Lepard has some great advice here.