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ronzorelli
06-11-2011, 11:45 PM
Freshly baked bread. MmmmmmÖ The very thought of it gets me salivating. I can almost smell its intoxicating aroma emanating from the heart of the oven softly assaulting my olfactory senses with its light earthiness, and conjuring up scenes of blissful comfort in my mind.

Iíve been working with dough (pizza dough) for a number of years, but have yet to actively and purposefully delve into the world of bread makingÖ until recently, that is.

In the deep dark recesses of my mind, I have the fantasy of owning a future pizza joint and future pub at my future brewery, where I also bake my own bread to share with the world. With that in mind, I figured itís time to start learning how to make some different types of bread so future Ron has some skills to fulfill his passion. Hey, Future Ron, donít ever say I didnít do anything for ya, ok?

Iím officially starting this journey with ciabatta. I love ciabatta bread. Itís so versatile and itís got a great crumb (crumb = the internal texture and structure of the bread) and a great chew (chew = mouthfeel, obviously). The crust has a nice amount of thickness and a slight crispness to it but not so much that you cut the roof of your mouth as you take a nice chunky bite of it.

I came across a site called The Fresh Loaf a few days back. Itís a fantastic resource for anyone looking to get into bread making. Itís chocked full of recipes, how-to videos, and a forum with hundreds of folks to help you along with advice and tips.

Normally, ciabatta is made over the period of a couple days (just like my pizza dough) to allow a deep fermentation to happen which adds a great flavor to the bread. However, I found a same day recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2984/jasons-quick-coccodrillo-ciabatta-bread) on the site from a member named Jason. It looked relatively simple, so I gave it a shot. It came out awesome! The lack of a longer fermentation didnít hurt the flavor at all in this one. I made the recipe with Semolina flour in it a few days ago and weíve been munching on it happily since then. I wanted to make sure it worked out well before I wrote up an article for it, so here I am writing.

Despite the fact that the dough is nearly 100% hydration (hydration is the ratio of flour to liquid in a dough Ė this dough has about a 97% liquid to flour ratio), itís relatively easy to handle for someone whoís worked with different types of dough like I have. A beginner may have some difficulty, but as long as they follow the formula and directions correctly, their lack of experience wonít affect the flavor too much at all, even though it may not be ďbeautifulĒ to look at. There can be no success without failure, right? So if youíre scared, just jump in with both feet. It wonít kill you. Have fun with it and smile at the challenge.

So here we goÖ

Side note: You WILL need to accurately measure stuff when baking. Itís not like regular cooking where a little of this and a little of that make a great dish. Baking is science. There are formulas. Deviate too far from the formula and things can get ugly (and sometimes they can be beautiful). I make dough using metric measurements (grams). It makes things so much easier to figure out using baker percentages.



The Ingredient List:

350g bread flour

150g semolina flour (combine the two flours and you have 500g of flour Ė this is your 100% starting point)

475-485g (~2cups) water (I used 485g of liquid. A bottle of my homebrew beer and the rest is water. This translates to 95-97% hydration).

2tsp. yeast (comes to about .5 grams = .1%. You can see why they simply used the US measurement here)

15g salt (this is 3% of the initial amount of flour)



Other items you may want to pick up, if you can:

Dough scraper Ė two would be better for this to lift the dough.

A spoonula (slightly curved spatula)

Pizza (baking) stone (unglazed quarry tiles are good for this), or a sheet pan thatís been in the oven during the pre-heat.

A kitchen scale. This isnít really a ďwantĒ, if you plan on doing any amount of baking. This is a NEED.

A pizza peel or parchment paper



Step 1

Combine everything into your stand-type mixer and mix using the paddle attachment until itís all roughly combined, which shouldnít take more than a minute or two. Once thatís done, let it rest for 10 minutes. It will look like pancake batter at this point.



Step 2

After itís done resting, and still using the paddle attachment, youíll need to literally beat the living daylights out of the dough for what seems like forever. Itíll take at least 5 minutes, and could take as long as 15 or more depending on the humidity, alignment of the planets, and direction of the earthís magnetic field. Eventually, after the dough has been beaten into submission, it will begin to come together. It will start to pull away from the sides in strings, and then in clumpy strings, and finally, itíll start to ball up and climb the paddle. After it starts to do this for about a minute, replace the paddle with the dough hook and continue to kick the dough in the teeth for a few more minutes until it pulls away from the bottom of the bowl.



Step 3

When it does that, itís ready to be poured (almost literally) into an oiled vessel to let the little yeasties do their thing. Let the dough ferment in that vessel for about 2.5 hours (or longer if necessary). You need to let it rise to triple its original size. It MUST triple. If it hasnít tripled after 2.5 hours, let it go and do not move forward until it does.



Step 4

Dust your counter liberally with some bench flour. Pour the dough out onto the counter and cut it into a few evenly sized pieces. Should you measure it? You can, but you really donít have to. If you have different sized loaves, who will care, really? They wonít last long enough for anyone to gripe at you over it anyway. After portioning the dough, dust them liberally with more flour. Put your pan or stone in the oven and fire it up. Set it to 500 degrees F, and let the dough pieces proof (rise some more) on the counter for about 45 minutes or so.



Step 5

Get your parchment paper or pizza peel ready. Pick up the dough pieces and flip them upside down gently but firmly onto the parchment or peel (however many will fit). The flipping over and the slap will help distribute the gas bubbles from the yeast in the dough. If you use the peel for this, make sure itís got plenty of flour dusted on it. Donít worry if itís REALLY ugly at this point. Itís supposed to be. Itís basically a blob of flour and water. Form it as best you can while on the peel/parchment, but donít stress out. When it hits the heat in the oven, itíll rise fast and the crust will form beautifully.



Step 6

Transfer the dough to the stone or pan in the oven. Let it cook at 500 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes (turning the bread 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time to promote even cooking) or Ė for you geeks Ė until it reaches 205 degrees F inside the bread. Once itís done cooking, let it cool for 15-20 minutes and then enjoy.





It makes a great garlic bread. Itís awesome for bruschetta. Itís even awesome as toast in the morning. You can also make home made bread crumbs or croutons from any leftover or stale pieces (if it lasts that long).

I have the steps lined out in pictures, but it's quite a few pictures and I'll save the Cigar Asylum site bandwidth and not post them here. If you'd like to view them, you can do so by clicking this link (http://steakchopsnhops.com/2011/03/05/ciabatta-bread/).

Fordman4ever
06-12-2011, 12:46 AM
I love ciabatta, i wish I had the time and talent to be able to do this.

ronzorelli
06-12-2011, 09:20 AM
I love ciabatta, i wish I had the time and talent to be able to do this.

Time, I can understand... but talent? If it took talent, there'd be no way I could do it. ;)

madwilliamflint
01-18-2012, 03:54 PM
I'm amazed you use that little yeast in that. But then I've never tried anything with this hydration level (soon though.)

Blak Smyth
01-18-2012, 03:55 PM
We have a local restaurant here called "Ciabatta", they have excellent steak and blue cheese sandwich!

sevans105
01-18-2012, 04:06 PM
Thank you for the detailed step-by-step! I'll try this out this weekend. Wish I had put in the dues to be able to get that secret bagel recipe......maybe someday.:D I'll report back on how it turned out!

Savor the Stick
01-18-2012, 05:43 PM
Freshly baked bread. MmmmmmÖ The very thought of it gets me salivating. I can almost smell its intoxicating aroma emanating from the heart of the oven softly assaulting my olfactory senses with its light earthiness, and conjuring up scenes of blissful comfort in my mind.

Iíve been working with dough (pizza dough) for a number of years, but have yet to actively and purposefully delve into the world of bread makingÖ until recently, that is.

In the deep dark recesses of my mind, I have the fantasy of owning a future pizza joint and future pub at my future brewery, where I also bake my own bread to share with the world. With that in mind, I figured itís time to start learning how to make some different types of bread so future Ron has some skills to fulfill his passion. Hey, Future Ron, donít ever say I didnít do anything for ya, ok?

Iím officially starting this journey with ciabatta. I love ciabatta bread. Itís so versatile and itís got a great crumb (crumb = the internal texture and structure of the bread) and a great chew (chew = mouthfeel, obviously). The crust has a nice amount of thickness and a slight crispness to it but not so much that you cut the roof of your mouth as you take a nice chunky bite of it.

I came across a site called The Fresh Loaf a few days back. Itís a fantastic resource for anyone looking to get into bread making. Itís chocked full of recipes, how-to videos, and a forum with hundreds of folks to help you along with advice and tips.

Normally, ciabatta is made over the period of a couple days (just like my pizza dough) to allow a deep fermentation to happen which adds a great flavor to the bread. However, I found a same day recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2984/jasons-quick-coccodrillo-ciabatta-bread) on the site from a member named Jason. It looked relatively simple, so I gave it a shot. It came out awesome! The lack of a longer fermentation didnít hurt the flavor at all in this one. I made the recipe with Semolina flour in it a few days ago and weíve been munching on it happily since then. I wanted to make sure it worked out well before I wrote up an article for it, so here I am writing.

Despite the fact that the dough is nearly 100% hydration (hydration is the ratio of flour to liquid in a dough Ė this dough has about a 97% liquid to flour ratio), itís relatively easy to handle for someone whoís worked with different types of dough like I have. A beginner may have some difficulty, but as long as they follow the formula and directions correctly, their lack of experience wonít affect the flavor too much at all, even though it may not be ďbeautifulĒ to look at. There can be no success without failure, right? So if youíre scared, just jump in with both feet. It wonít kill you. Have fun with it and smile at the challenge.

So here we goÖ

Side note: You WILL need to accurately measure stuff when baking. Itís not like regular cooking where a little of this and a little of that make a great dish. Baking is science. There are formulas. Deviate too far from the formula and things can get ugly (and sometimes they can be beautiful). I make dough using metric measurements (grams). It makes things so much easier to figure out using baker percentages.



The Ingredient List:

350g bread flour

150g semolina flour (combine the two flours and you have 500g of flour Ė this is your 100% starting point)

475-485g (~2cups) water (I used 485g of liquid. A bottle of my homebrew beer and the rest is water. This translates to 95-97% hydration).

2tsp. yeast (comes to about .5 grams = .1%. You can see why they simply used the US measurement here)

15g salt (this is 3% of the initial amount of flour)



Other items you may want to pick up, if you can:

Dough scraper Ė two would be better for this to lift the dough.

A spoonula (slightly curved spatula)

Pizza (baking) stone (unglazed quarry tiles are good for this), or a sheet pan thatís been in the oven during the pre-heat.

A kitchen scale. This isnít really a ďwantĒ, if you plan on doing any amount of baking. This is a NEED.

A pizza peel or parchment paper



Step 1

Combine everything into your stand-type mixer and mix using the paddle attachment until itís all roughly combined, which shouldnít take more than a minute or two. Once thatís done, let it rest for 10 minutes. It will look like pancake batter at this point.



Step 2

After itís done resting, and still using the paddle attachment, youíll need to literally beat the living daylights out of the dough for what seems like forever. Itíll take at least 5 minutes, and could take as long as 15 or more depending on the humidity, alignment of the planets, and direction of the earthís magnetic field. Eventually, after the dough has been beaten into submission, it will begin to come together. It will start to pull away from the sides in strings, and then in clumpy strings, and finally, itíll start to ball up and climb the paddle. After it starts to do this for about a minute, replace the paddle with the dough hook and continue to kick the dough in the teeth for a few more minutes until it pulls away from the bottom of the bowl.



Step 3

When it does that, itís ready to be poured (almost literally) into an oiled vessel to let the little yeasties do their thing. Let the dough ferment in that vessel for about 2.5 hours (or longer if necessary). You need to let it rise to triple its original size. It MUST triple. If it hasnít tripled after 2.5 hours, let it go and do not move forward until it does.



Step 4

Dust your counter liberally with some bench flour. Pour the dough out onto the counter and cut it into a few evenly sized pieces. Should you measure it? You can, but you really donít have to. If you have different sized loaves, who will care, really? They wonít last long enough for anyone to gripe at you over it anyway. After portioning the dough, dust them liberally with more flour. Put your pan or stone in the oven and fire it up. Set it to 500 degrees F, and let the dough pieces proof (rise some more) on the counter for about 45 minutes or so.



Step 5

Get your parchment paper or pizza peel ready. Pick up the dough pieces and flip them upside down gently but firmly onto the parchment or peel (however many will fit). The flipping over and the slap will help distribute the gas bubbles from the yeast in the dough. If you use the peel for this, make sure itís got plenty of flour dusted on it. Donít worry if itís REALLY ugly at this point. Itís supposed to be. Itís basically a blob of flour and water. Form it as best you can while on the peel/parchment, but donít stress out. When it hits the heat in the oven, itíll rise fast and the crust will form beautifully.



Step 6

Transfer the dough to the stone or pan in the oven. Let it cook at 500 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes (turning the bread 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time to promote even cooking) or Ė for you geeks Ė until it reaches 205 degrees F inside the bread. Once itís done cooking, let it cool for 15-20 minutes and then enjoy.





It makes a great garlic bread. Itís awesome for bruschetta. Itís even awesome as toast in the morning. You can also make home made bread crumbs or croutons from any leftover or stale pieces (if it lasts that long).

I have the steps lined out in pictures, but it's quite a few pictures and I'll save the Cigar Asylum site bandwidth and not post them here. If you'd like to view them, you can do so by clicking this link (http://steakchopsnhops.com/2011/03/05/ciabatta-bread/).

The link at the bottom doesn't work.

ronzorelli
01-18-2012, 07:35 PM
The link at the bottom doesn't work.

Yeah... site issues. Try this link instead: http://ronlennex.com/2011/03/09/ciabatta-bread/

BnBTobacco
01-18-2012, 09:47 PM
Wow, thanks Ron! Gotta try this! :)

ronzorelli
01-19-2012, 08:44 AM
Wow, thanks Ron! Gotta try this! :)
Let me know how it turns out for ya.