Ciabatta Recipe sourced from The Kitchn
Makes 4 loaves and 4 buns
Biga (Pre-ferment) to be prepared one day before baking day
4 ounce (1/2 cup) water
1/2 teaspoon active-dry yeast
5 ounce (1 cup) all-purpose flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water before adding the flour and stir to form a thick paste. Give it a good fifty or so brisk stirs to build up the gluten. Cover and let sit at room temperature (70-75F) (20-23C) for eight hours or overnight. As the weather here is very hot at this time, I prepared mine at night and bring it to my bedroom with the air-condition switched on.
This is how it looks like before fermenting:-
By the next day, the biga will look like this:
17 ounces (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) water
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
All the Biga
20 ounces (4 cups) all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
2 teaspoons of salt
Dissolve the yeast in the water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the biga and try to break it into smaller pieces as much as possible. I used a big spatula to do this.
Next, put in all of the flour and the salt. Stir to form a thick, very wet dough. Let this rest for 10-20 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the water. (I skip this part)
Knead with dough hook attachment at medium speed (Kenwood speed 4 or 5) for 15-18 minutes (Level 5 or 6 on a KitchnAid). Don’t walk away as the mixer might move when beating at that speed.
Initially, the dough will be like a cake batter and sticking to the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. About half way through, it will start to pull away from the sides and circle around the dough hook. It will slap the side of the mixer as it mix. If this doesn’t happened, increase the speed. The dough may start to climb up the hook; if this happens, stop the mixer and scrap down. The dough is done when it is smooth and creamy and glossy.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at 70° – 75° F (20-23C) for 2-3 hours, until tripled in bulk. I had the air conditioning on during this period.
Dust your work surface heavily with flour. Set two sheets of parchment near your work surface or use the silicon paper. Scrape the dough onto the floured area, taking care not to deflate it too much. Dust the top of the dough with more flour. Using a large plastic spatula or pizza wheel, cut the dough in two pieces. You can bake it in this size or cut it into halves again for smaller loaves. Alternatively, cut into 16 pieces for small buns.
Brush your hands with flour. Working gently but swiftly, scoop the the loaves (or the rolls) one at a time from the work surface to the parchment or silicon sheet. Use your fingertips to press about halfway into the dough to dimple the surface and slightly flatten the loaves (or rolls). Let the loaves (or rolls) rise, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes. When ready to bake, they should look pillowy with many big bubbles just beneath the surface.
Preheat the oven to 475°F (245C) while the loaves are rising.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Slip the parchment out from under the loaves and cool completely before eating. ( I only baked mine for 15 minutes)