October 12, 2021

Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta Breadsticks

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Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta Breadsticks got my attention on last Friday's The Great British Baking Show. Ciabatta should be flat as the name means slippers. What makes this ciabatta recipe not an authentic ciabatta is the method and lack of biga. Ciabatta recipe normally requires a biga and therefore 2 days to complete. But...whatever. 

The fillings are also interesting - green olives, Spanish Manchego cheese, chopped red onions, and coriander leaves - then dipped in tzatziki. It's a mash-up of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek cuisines. I included Portuguese because the other 3 European countries rarely use or maybe never use coriander leaves in their food. Portuguese cuisine uses coriander leaves, maybe influenced by Brazil and Macao.

Paul's recipe is quite large so I reduced it to just a third, making only 6 breadsticks. The breadsticks have crunchy crusts and soft crumbs. I thought the flavor will be weird because of the coriander leaves (cilantro) but it's actually good. The salty olives and cheese dominate the flavor anyway. The tzatziki is not really necessary but is an okay addition to the flavor mix. I suggest you use store bought or eat them without tzatziki.

Ciabatta Breadsticks

750 grams bread flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
14 grams instant yeast
600 ml lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
350 grams pitted green olive, halved
200 grams manchego cheese, cut into small cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
a handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
semolina flour for dusting
  • Cover 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper and dust with flour, set aside. 
  • Place the flour into a standing mixer bowl with dough hook attached; put salt on one side and yeast on another side. 
  • Pour 2/3 of the water and mix on low speed. When the dough starts to come together, gradually add the rest of water and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes until dough stretches easily. It should be very wet. 
  • Add the olive oil and knead for another 3 minutes. 
  • Add olives, cheese, onion, and coriander leaves and gently mix to evenly distribute. 
  • Transfer dough in a lightly oiled rectangular container, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to ferment on the kitchen counter for 2 hours. 
  • Preheat oven to 240 C/475 F. 
  • Dust the work surface with semolina flour and carefully tip the dough over. It will be soft and flowing. Handle the dough gently to keep the air in as much as possible. 
  • Dust the top with semolina flour and gently stretch the dough into a 30 inch long rectangle. 
  • Cut into 18 strips. Place 6 strips on each of the cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 20 minutes. 
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until tops are golden brown. Serve with or without Tzatziki.


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