We’ve been here before haven’t we? As you know I’ve tried ciabatta from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, not once, but twice before! While both breads certainly were good breads, they weren’t quite good ciabatta. This time, based on my rudimentary understanding of bread “chemistry” I decided to add the maximum amount of water called for in the recipe–higher dough hydration results in bigger holes in the loaf–I think it’s because of the steam created by the water as it evaporates. (Reinhart suggests between 3 and 6 ounces). I was a bit worried this was overkill as it was pretty humid out (not sure how that affects things, but I know it does, and my best guess was that it would only increase the moisture level of the dough), but went ahead–turns out I may have been too timid!
The end result? Closer, but not quite right. As I hinted, I think I still under-hydrated. (I wonder if even more is needed than the recipe calls for–check out Pinch My Salt’s ciabatta here). Still, I got the loaves to stretch out nicely, better than I’ve had before so at least this can be categorized as progress!
I said it was humid right? That first rise went pretty fast (and got pretty big!)
I was pleased with the “baker’s couche” I formed out of my silpat.
The second rise was also quite robust, and the loaves elongated quite nicely as they were prepped for the oven.
My technique sliding the loaves off the baker’s peel into the oven could use some work, but as they didn’t land on the floor (or the oven floor) good enough. I didn’t go through the proceudre of misting the oven; as I’ve said before I’m afraid of damaging my oven so would rather let sleeping dogs lie. It’s already a bit fussy.
My husband kindly compared the look of these guys to a hockey puck and wondered why the ciabatta never turns out quite right. Thanks hon! Luckily it does not taste like a hockey puck. And wrapped in plastic, it made great toast even up to four days later!
As a side note, this was my first bread using my oil mister (a birthday gift) and I am quite pleased with it! Check out the photo–could it be…ciabatta in the background? Ha, if only this was the secret to a perfect ciabatta.