June 22, 2009


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5-ounce ciabatta

The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge recipe 7: Ciabatta. This Italian rustic crusty chewy bread shaped like a slipper has become so popular and when a restaurant started to serve sandwiches using ciabatta several years ago I was eager to try but was so disappointed at first bite. The bread was incredibly leathery or maybe flip-floppy; I thought I was chewing on rawhide. And the bakeries are no better with their mediocre ciabatta but thanks to BBA and other cookbooks, not to mention several websites, I am now able to have freshly baked ciabatta at home that are flavorful and yes chewy but not rubbery.

For this challenge I [again] forgot to take photos of the unbaked dough. Sorry about that. Anyway, I divided the dough into four 5-ounce sandwich rolls and the remainder of the dough I shaped into a long thin baguette. The rolls were shaped like a letter just like in the photos and I put them on individual pieces of parchment, uncouched. It is easier to slide them one by one from the peel onto the baking stone.

For this recipe I used a poolish which I left in the refrigerator for 2 days to develop more flavor. The ciabatta recipe is easy to follow but I find the dough a little bit dry and had to sprinkle a lot of water while kneading because the wetter the dough the more hole-y the bread will turn out. I honestly thought even with the additional water I felt the dough was still dry. And this is what's odd about this batch: three of the sandwich ciabatta rolls have random large air pockets but one didn't have any, just a few medium and small ones. The baguette also has irregular medium and tiny holes in them. I can't believe these are from the same dough. I suspect my oven has cold spots and I should have baked them in batches. But overall, I like this recipe; the bread is chewy, crusty although not as dark brown as I would have liked, and definitely more flavorful than store-bought. I love it with crisp-fried pancetta, lettuce, and tomato or simply halved and baked topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese seasoned with dried Italian herbs. I probably will NOT use this recipe again for my next ciabatta as I have PR's ciabatta test recipe for his upcoming book.

the baguette and one roll have few small air pockets, the one at the front right is hole-y

PLT: pancetta, lettuce, and tomato

Ciabatta Cheese Melt
crunchy crust, chewy crumb, gooey mozzarella, yummy Parmesan

flavor 4
texture 4
visual appeal 4
ease of preparation 4
performance 4
worth 4
Total: 24
Average: 4


Anonymous said...

Your ciabatta is so nice and holey! I am really looking forward to this bread, but I am just today baking my challah. I will keep your advice in mind as I bake!

#1SAHM said...

this is one my my favorite types of bread! Yum! can't wait to try this recipe! : )

Susie said...

You did a wonderful job Your ciabatta looks so great.
Nice baking along with you,

Chibog in Chief said...

you did a great job on that ciabatta !! that could beat great boulangeries here in france LOL

Cindy said...

Wow, great crumb. Your holes are perfect. Very impressive.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

I'm so jealous of your "holes!" Your bread is lovely. Great job. (and I want that sandwich right now)

misterrios said...

Awesome crumb. The ciabatta looks super and awesome.

Janice said...

That sandwich has me wanting to grab through my computer screen, and I've already had dinner! My ciabatta turned out well today, but I am envious of your giant holes. The dough was way too dry for me too, but I didn't add quite enough water to see air pockets like yours!

Oggi said...

HaleySuzanne, thanks and make it really wet.:)

Mome2Be, me too, I love rustic crusty spongy breads.:)

Susie, Dhanggit, Cindy, Mags, and MrRios, thanks.:)

Janice, I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the dough is a bit dry.

The sandwich is also good with regular bacon or shaved Virginia ham.:)

JMom said...

Oh wow, look at those holes! Your ciabatta looks just like the kind we get from our bakery. Actually, your honeycomed ones look better :)

Great job! I'll be copying this one for sure.

Oggi said...

JMom, thanks...make sure the dough is really really wet to have the large holes.:)

Laura said...

I love your rating of the recipe at the end. I am a week behind, but can't wait to try ciabatta which is one of my favorite breads.

Your sandwich picture looks so appetizing.

Michelle said...

Gorgeous...absolutely perfect!

Oggi said...

Laura and Michelle, thanks.:)

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