Sourdough Ciabatta


(Melissa) #21

I’m sorry the fougasse didn’t work out. I made challah with yeast once and still want to try it with sourdough starter…fingers crossed. I also still haven’t made the fougasse.

I’m going to work on the whole grain ciabatta this weekend too :slight_smile:


(maplesugar) #22

Hi Melissa,

Just made this recipe for the first time. I developed the dough to a medium level of gluten development and then when I added the last part of the water, it made such a pasty mess on the outside of the dough that I ended up having to do the scooping type of kneading to get it mixed instead of just folding and squeezing. I checked the windowpane again and it still seemed good and not overdone. The things that I changed: used half all purpose flour by accident; made 80% of the recipe; after I developed the dough through all the folds in a warm (not hot) room, I did a two hour bulk rise in the refrigerator and then another hour or more in a warm room. I did not flip the loaves. I proofed them on oiled parchment since I did not have linen and did not trust floured kitchen towels, and I floured the tops instead, proofing with a towel cover until they were puffy and bubbly but still had a nice bit of return when I made an indent. I then left them on the parchment to bake,

because flipping them seemed really iffy. I slid out the parchment when they reached 207° to 210°, which happened within 15 to 20 minutes, and then took the loaves off the baking stone and put them directly on a lower oven rack so that they wouldn’t overcook as they were already past 205°, while the oven was cracked with the heat off to make the crust crunchy. The crust is not going to be crunchy. The bread is browned only in spots where there are big bubbles, and the loaves are soft, white on the bottom and feel a little heavy. I haven’t cut into them yet. What happened? Why didn’t I get the caramelization? And did the oil on the parchment affect the browning of the bottom? I did use the Hearthstone and did preheat it at 500°. I used a hotel pan with hot water to make the steam. Thank you.


(maplesugar) #23

Hi again, and I should say, I did not take out the roasting pan, which still had steaming water in it, until I realized that the bread was done temperature-wise, so maybe that kept the crusts too cool? I am able to get great browning with boule-shaped sourdough recipes in my Dutch oven.


(maplesugar) #24

And rebaked them after they cooled


(Melissa) #25

The second round in the oven looks like it did the trick! You did read over 205F initially. So this is a mystery.

In my trials of this recipe, I had a weak crust twice. Once was when I kept spraying and spraying the oven with more water well past the 5-minute mark. The other time was when I had parchment paper on the top and the bottom of the ciabatta for almost all of the baking (that was during one of my early all spelt attempts). It doesn’t sound like you did either of these things but maybe something related?

I don’t think there’s any need to oil the parchment paper. As soon as the bread gets hot, it’ll separate from the paper nicely. The lack of browning, though, more indicates the stone not being very hot rather than the oil.

(I pop bubbles before putting it in the oven or I also get a darker brown on the bubbles.)

If I think of anything else, I’ll add to this post. I’d love to hear how it tastes and if the crumb looks good to you.


(maplesugar) #26

Everyone thought it was delicious (I bet that the all purpose flour adds some nice flavor, I would like to try it your way with all bread flour and compare) and it had the holes, well-spread. Not quite like the oven spring ciabatta that I got from using Carol Field’s biga-type recipe, with the milk. But wonderful. Thanks. I haven’t used the hearthstone in so long because I’ve been using a baking steel when I’m not using a Dutch oven. I don’t really like the baking steel for bread and the hearthstone was always a challenge compared to a regular thinner pizza stone. I wish there was a way to make basically a giant Dutch oven. Putting a roasting pan on top of the stone and skipping the steam pan might work with ciabatta–but not with three loaves.


(maplesugar) #27

Oh, and Carol Field has you dimple the dough before putting it in the oven and I wasn’t sure if you should do that with sourdough-leavened bread.


(Melissa) #28

Yes, I think all purpose is supposed to make a ciabatta more tender.

I’m glad it worked out in the end.

Go for the dimpling next time if you want - no reason not to that I can think of. Also maybe bake one loaf at a time, so you can try the pan as a cover for at least one.

On a side note, I find that my pizza stone takes a while to heat up. Even though the instructions on mine say to just leave it in the oven all the time, I don’t, because a pan of brownies would take twice as long to cook while my oven struggles to warm up the stone.


(thisisjakea) #29

If I were to add olives to make this a sourdough olive ciabatta loaf, at what stage would I add them? Excited to try this out!


(Melissa) #30

Great idea! I make olive rosemary sourdough bread a lot, and sometime I add the olives and rosemary right away when mixing everything, and sometimes I do the Chad Robertson Tartine thing and add during the second stretch and fold. I personally haven’t noticed a difference in bread quality (only in effort), so lately I lean toward adding right away, and only do later if I’m too rushed by some other demands to cut all the olives in half at mixing time.

I also occasionally decide I want a cheesy, nutty or fruity bread very late in the game. Then I add the stuff during the preshape when I stretch the dough into a rectangle. That works fine as long as you are okay with what I think of as archaeological layers of additions in your bread – not an even dispersal. Olives, however, are particularly smooth and oily and strike me as always trying to escape the dough, so I’ve never added them late.

Okay, so back to the ciabatta. If I were doing this, I’d autolyse the white flour like I did in the Spelt Ciabatta because the eventual hand mixing is shorter which is probably better for the olives. I’d add in the olives toward the end of mixing in the starter, salt, and oil – after the initial pinching and squeezing to get the ingredients combined. Consider a slight drop in salt and oil because of the olives. (For reference my olive rosemary sourdough bread gets 1 tsp of salt instead of 1.5 tsp. I use a full cup of halved kalamatas.)

I suggest this for efficiency and gluten development, but I suspect lots of other strategies would work fine too. I’d love to hear how it goes! I’m sure it’ll taste awesome.


Sourdough Apple Almond Raisin Bread
(thisisjakea) #31

Wow, thanks so much! Thanks for explaining what would happen if I added olives (or anything else) at any stage, the archaeological layers is especially helpful. I think this gives me a pretty good arsenal to try this very soon. I’m making my own starter from scratch now and hopefully will be baking this in the next couple weeks and I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks!!


(Melissa) #32

Good luck with your starter!

You might want to check out this durum herb cheese bread recipe blog which has photos at the very end of what the bread looks like inside with various strategies for adding cheese and herbs (layers of cheese slices during the preshape, cheese chunks and all in at initial mixing, and herbs in during the preshape).


(oborne) #33

Thank you for the recipe! I have had limited success with sourdough in the past, possibly because my dough was not nearly as wet as this, and have never made such amazingly delicious bread. I was not familiar with all the terminology etc., but tried my best to follow the recipe and directions as you stated. I did my final proof on a baguette pan using parchment, but they still turned out crusty, airy, and with lovely holes and chewy texture. We ate all 3 in less than an hour!!


(Melissa) #34

I’m glad you had a good experience with the recipe. I hope you enjoy baking with your sourdough starter more and more!


(Sophiesfoodiefiles) #35

A lovely recipe for me to try! Thank you! The breads are looking great! Yum Yum!


(Melissa) #36

I made this ciabatta today with some modifications to accommodate for my smaller starter inventory.

I also used home-milled sprouted hard red wheat. This is a fast ferment because of the amount of starter, a quick welcome-home-from-camp bread for one of my kids.

Method was basically the same as in this recipe I developed last summer.

Here’s today’s formula:

82% bread flour
18% homemilled whole grain sprouted hard red wheat
50% AP starter 100% h2o
68% water
4.2% olive oil
2.4% salt


(Phyllis) #37

My prior experience with ciabatta is from Nancy Silverton’s La Brea bread cookbook and this was a chance to expand my repertoire.
Three loaves just came out of the oven and they look and smell very inviting. I wish I had “dimpled” the loaves as Nancy Silvreton advises because the loaves sprung in the oven quite a bit but the taste will be the real test.


(Melissa) #38

How did your ciabatta come out?

I can’t promise you’ll like my version of ciabatta, but I recently watched the Chef’s Table episode featuring Nancy Silverton, and I CAN guarantee that I also do the focused recipe tweaking and repetition that the documentary shows her doing​:nerd_face::grin:


(Phyllis) #39

The ciabatta is wonderful. This recipe is one I will definitely keep in my rotation.


(KarenN621) #40

I just made this recipe - it is perfect!! I’m really pleased with the amazing results I was able to achieve on my first try - thank you for your clear explanations and all the hints and tips you offered. Attached is a picture of my bake today. I know I need to work on shaping, but otherwise, it looks great and tastes great too!