The dough for this Ciabatta Bread with Poolish is really simple to put together. You can shape it into one large loaf or several small loaves or rolls.
I shaped my dough into four twelve inch long baguette style loaves, and used it for both crostini and submarine style sandwiches.
This dough for this ciabatta begins with a poolish, a 100% hydration (equal parts flour and water by weight) mixture of flour, water, and a tiny bit of yeast, which is allowed to ferment and develop flavor for about 16 hours.
Just so you know, the final dough is super wet and sticky. You can't really shape it with any precision. The dough is pretty bouyant, and I found that twisting it just before baking helped it rise up rather than out.
After turning out the rising dough and roughly shaping it into a rectangle, I cut it into four strips and let them rise on a floured baker's couche.
Baker's couche you ask? It's a floured linen cloth used to help the dough maintain its shape. If you don't have one, you can use floured dish cloths or even parchment paper that has been creased between the dough strips. In fact, parchment makes moving the loaves to the oven super easy.
Ciabatta Bread with Poolish
- 330 grams (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
- 330 grams (1 1/2 cups) water at 70 degrees F
- pinch of instant yeast
- 613 grams (4 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
- 405 grams (1 3/4 cups) water at 102 degrees F
- 18 grams (3 1/2 teaspoons) salt
- All of the poolish
- Mix the poolish ingredients the day before baking. Combine the flour, water, and yeast in a bowl and mix with dough whisk or wooden spoon until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment overnight for about 16 hours at room temperature.
- Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, mix all of the dough ingredients on low for about 8 minutes, scraping down the bowl after about 6 minutes.
- Place the dough in an oiled container or large bowl, cover, and let proof in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
- Stretch and fold the dough with wet hands, and let it rest for another 30 minutes. Perform three more "stretch-and-folds," every 30 minutes. Finish with a 30 minute rest.
- Generously flour your work surface and then invert your container and let the dough fall out. With wet hands, gently pull the dough into a rectangle. Cut the dough into four long pieces (or two, for larger loaves, or eight squares, for long rolls).
- Lift and place the dough pieces onto a well floured couche, floured tea towels, or oiled parchment paper. Pleat your couche or paper to help maintain the shape of the loaves.
- Cover the loaves with floured tea towels or another linen couche, and let proof for 30 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven, equipped with a baking stone, to 450 to 480 degrees F. Place a broiler pan on the lower rack of the oven (for ice).
- Transfer each loaf to a parchment lined pizza peel, slide the loaves onto the heated stone, toss about a cup of ice onto the broiler pan, and immediately close the oven door.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.