Stirato is a form of ciabatta that is cut into lengths and then stretched just before baking. This is a no knead version, with the first rise lasting up to 18 hours to develop flavor. The flavor definitely lives up to the hype, and the thin crispy crust just sings when you first pull it out of the oven.
It's incredibly easy to make, and the recipe is pretty foolproof. You can slice it crosswise for bruschetta, lengthwise for sandwiches, or use it for dipping in olive oil and balsamic.... or pizza sauce. It makes great garlic cheese bread too.
I baked this bread on a baking stone and covered each loaf with the lid and the inverted bottom of this SuperStone /Covered Baker.If you don't have the baker, I recommend either making sure there is plenty of steam in your oven, or covering the loaves with disposable aluminum pans or the lid of a roaster. The cover just needs to be around the same size as your baking stone.
The recipe for this bread has been adapted from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey.
I've got a collection of about two dozen books on bread, and I can easily be distracted by new "shiny things" (aka new bread books) on the horizon. Sadly, when I pulled the link for this book from Amazon, I was reminded that I bought this book in 2009.... and had NEVER cracked it open. Oy!!
I have made several versions of no knead bread, but this book from Jim Lahey is the book that Mark Bittman cited in the New York Times when he ignited the no knead trend. Best that I pay my long overdue respect.
For similar Italian style baguettes using a different method, check out these Pain à l’Ancienne Baguettes.
400 grams (3 cups) bread flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
300 g (1 1/2 C) cool water
- In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients with a dough whisk, a large spoon, or your wet hand, until everything is moistened, about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 18 hours until totally bubbly and doubled in size.
- Dust your counter with flour and scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece.
- Gently nudge the dough into the shape of a rectangle and then fold it over itself from each long side as if you were creating an envelope. With your hands, gently roll the dough out into a tube and then cut the dough in half, width-wise.
- Place the dough pieces, seam side down, on a floured sheet pan sized piece of parchment and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
- Place a baking stone on the center rack of your oven and place whatever cover you will be using on top of it (or set up your oven for steam). Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- When the dough has about doubled (30-45 minutes), pick up each piece and stretch it out to the length of your cover, about 11 to 13 inches.
- Remove the hot cover from the stone, and, using a peel or the back of a baking sheet. drag the parchment with the dough onto the stone and place the hot cover/s over the loaves.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes, until a golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
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