Ciabatta ai Funghi adapted from Carol Field's Mushroom Bread Recipe

Johnny's picture

This is my first experiment converting a recipe using commercial yeast to a sourdough one. I chose a recipe for Mushroom Bread from Carol Field's 'The Italian Baker'. 

The original recipe has 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast or 1/2 small cake (9g) fresh yeast. 

Ok so the range for converting is 20% to 40% starter to replace the yeast so I decided to go a bit higher in this experiment to a 45% preferment in the final dough. I was not sure of the effect on the dough of all that fresh fungi and I wanted a nice light bread. It is also fairly cool in my kitchen at the moment.

According to the recipe the two secrets of getting the most flavour into the bread are using the soaking water from the porcini and allowing the flavour to develop over long rises. The recipe uses a combination of dried and fresh porcini mushrooms. For the fresh mushrooms I used Swiss Brown mushrooms, because we can't get fresh porcini here in Oz. These mushrooms have a deeper and earthier flavour than white mushrooms, and their firm flesh means Swiss browns hold their shape well when cooked. 

I also found an olive oil with truffles which added just a bit more of that earthy flavour I love.

Added Ingredients:

4 to 6 dried porcini mushrooms

210g Fresh Mushrooms

1 teaspoon minced garlic

You start with soaking 4 to 6 dried porcini in the warm water (447g) for at least 1 hour, drain but save the liquid. You use this mushroom water after straining through cheesecloth 2 or 3 times, to add flavour to each preferment and the final dough. Roughly chop the porcini and pat dry. 

Slice thickly and sauté the fresh mushrooms with the minced garlic and as little of the oil as possible and set aside to cool.

Day 1 evening - 1st Preferment Build                                                                                            

Starter 14g    50%

Flour   27g  100%

Water 19g     70%

Total 1st build  59g

Day 2 morning - 2nd Preferment Build                                                                                            

Starter 1st build  59g  61%

Flour   97g   100%

Water   68g   70%

Total 2nd Build 225g                                      


Dough Formula                                                                                                                                  

Flour 500g 100%

Water 360g 72%

Salt      15g  3%

Preferment 2nd Build 225   45%

Diastatic Malt 10    5g   1% 

(This is Malt blended with Bread Flour at 1g Malt to 10g flour. Diastatic Malt is normally added at 0.1% of flour weight)

Olive Oil (with truffles) 20g  4%

chopped porcini (mixed into dough)

Fresh Mushroom    200g  40% (folded in last)

Total  1328g

I mixed up the dough stirred in the re-hydrated chopped porcini covered the bowl and then put the lot into the fridge overnight. 

Day 3 - morning 

Take out the dough and fold once and return to the fridge.

Day 3 - evening 

Take out the dough let it warm to room temperature.

Folded it once every hour for four hours. 

The sautéed mushrooms were chopped in half and folded in last just before shaping

The dough was patted down into a rough rectangle shape and half the chopped mushrooms scattered on the dough. The dough is then rolled up tucking in the ends and then shaped into a ball and rested 10 minutes. The dough was patted down again and the rest of the mushrooms scattered and rolled up in the dough again tucking in the ends. Shape into a ball or oval, being careful not to expose the mushrooms. I decided on one large boule and placed it in a cane banneton which I put inside a plastic bag and popped the lot into my microwave to rise. I have found on cold nights the microwave with the door slightly open so the light is on, works quite well as a proofing box and keeps the dough out of drafts.

After an hour or so when the dough had risen I put the banneton back in the fridge for baking in the morning.

The end result:

This experiment certainly worked. The bread was nice and light with delicious moist mushroom bits with a hint of garlic. I loved this bread and will certainly make it again :)




436 users have voted.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 June 14

It not only looks good but it sounds downright delicious too! Many thanks for the detailed recipe.



Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 June 20
Made this one again and added a little bit of smoked speck. Very nice flavour and a great bread to have toasted with scrambled eggs.... yum!
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 June 22

I'm sure bread this good won't be around for long, but, Johnny, have you kept this bread overnight before? I'm wondering if mushrooms are anything like onions, which smell bad if left in room temperature for too long.


Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 June 22
This bread does not last very long it tastes so good. I hadn't really thought about the mushrooms going off, but now that you mentioned it I have put the small bit left over into the fridge and we will make sure it gets eaten in the next day or so. Actually I had some tonight toasted with lashings of butter and a chilli con carne soup. It's been so wet and miserable here the last few days so I just felt like some hot and spicy comfort food. :)
The last time I made this bread it lasted about 3 days before it was all gone and I just kept it in an airtight plastic container at room temperature. I didn't notice any bad smells or anything unusual, but I think you're right and one should be careful with cooked mushrooms left at room temperature.  BTW, what did you think of my slashes? I was going for a mushroom shape on the bread but the stalks did not come out as well as I hoped. Still they sort of look a bit like mushrooms side-on...cheers,johnny
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 June 22

You must have done a curvy slash....beautiful...especially with the spring. Your recipe has been beckoning me.



Annie-Bali's picture
Annie-Bali 2009 July 2
Thanks for the detailed & yummy sounding bread. I can commiserate with you on the weather, we used to live in Toronto, just near you, but Melb where i came from is worse at this time of year :)
Now i am in warm, sunny & humid Bali, do NOT miss the cold but..............
How can I make the shape of my bread (when I finally get to have a bubbly starter, which WILL happen!) without a shaper?? Have you used any other 'standard' implements to bake in? I can get SS metal bowels at the local 'bintang' supermarket, what are your thoughts.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 July 2

I can feeeeel your having your own baked sourdough bread. Doesn't help much salivating over all these gorgeous breads.

A metal (stainless steel) bowl is good for the 1st fermentation, but, I'd find something that the dough can breathe in for the final proofing/proving (aarrrghh). Find some local rattan basket, and line it with linen teatowel...dust that well with rye, or, rice flour (easier for you to find), or semolina...and you're good to go.

I should think bubba is ready now?


Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 July 2
Hey Annie! It's a small world :)I'm actually at Rathmines just near Toronto. I know it's not that cold here compared to other places but you soon wife and I actually grew up in Orange where it snows every winter and when we first moved to the coast we laughed whenever anyone complained of the cold. Now we think it's freezing as soon as it gets down below 20 degrees Celsius. TP has given the best advice about final proving/proofing (damn now she's got me doing it!)When I first started, before I lashed out on a cane banneton I used a small round basket and lined it with a teatowel. Just make sure it is very well dusted and since I have started using rice flour for dusting as suggested by TP I have never had a problem with my dough sticking.
good luck with bubba (I've started calling mine Harold)..jeeze I've really turned into a bread nerd
shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2009 November 26

I find your procedure most intriguing.   I'd be very interested to know:  at the night of Day 2,  how much mixing and stirring (or kneading with your hands) did you do when you first mixed up the dough?  Secondly, on the evening of Day 3 when you took your dough out of the refrigerator, how much had the dough risen?  I am guessing none at all.  Thirdly, after you'd done your 4 hour bulk fermentation and one hour proofing, how much had the dough risen?   Lastly, on the morning of Day 4 just before you baked it,  how much had it risen?   Did you get a lot of oven spring as well?  

Thank you very much.


Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 November 28

I take that as a big compliment after looking at your blog..I mean WOW! and I thought I was being adventurous with my breads...Your Pain au Levain with Praline Rose  literally blew my mind.

So in answer to your questions:

"at the night of Day 2,  how much mixing and stirring (or kneading with your hands) did you do when you first mixed up the dough? "

When I first mix up the dough I do very little kneading. I just stir in the liquids to my starter and then the flour until all is combined into a dough. The only thing I do is let it sit for 15-20 minutes before I fold in the salt.

"Secondly, on the evening of Day 3 when you took your dough out of the refrigerator, how much had the dough risen?  I am guessing none at all."

You're guessing is correct. The dough has risen very little.

"Thirdly, after you'd done your 4 hour bulk fermentation and one hour proofing, how much had the dough risen? "

After 4-5 hrs with the folding it has risen a bit because it should be starting to develop lots of bubbles, but certainly not doubled. Maybe by a quarter? After proofing it probably has risen by almost another quarter. I don't pay that much attention to how high it rises more on the poke test.

Lastly, on the morning of Day 4 just before you baked it,  how much had it risen?   Did you get a lot of oven spring as well?  

It does not rise anymore because I usually bake straight out of the fridge. I have tried letting it warm to room temperature but really I have not noticed a great deal of difference. I have read somewhere that you get more oven spring if you do not let the dough warm up, but to be honest I have not noticed that much difference.


I see you have been looking at SourDom's timetable thread. I pretty much followed his 3 day timetable from my first loaf and it seems to work well for me I always follow this timetable using the fridge for the long slow ferments and retarding. I find it does enhance the flavour and fits in better with my work schedule.

anyway..cheers and keep up the wild and wonderful experiments with colour, texture and taste it is inspirational stuff!

shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2009 November 28

How silly they were!   But thank you for taking those queries seriously.   I think SourDom's timetables are great; that kind of scheduling in sourdough bread making can potentially be the ultimate flavour enhancer. 

Thank you.

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