Dec 5, 2016

Mini Ciabatta Loaves

These Mini Ciabatta Loaves are deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust. 

Mini Ciabatta Loaves, deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust.

The dough for these mini ciabatta loaves is 92 percent hydration, which results in one of the lightest, airiest, and moistest loaves of bread. When you take them out of the oven, they sit there and crackle and sing for you for about five minutes! If you are a bread geek, you know exactly what I mean.

Most homemade bread is wonderful sliced and eaten the day it is made, and possibly the second day. After that, it's still delicious, but is best toasted or grilled. Not this bread. even on the third day, the bread is still fresh and moist.

Mini Ciabatta Loaves, deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust.

The dough for this bread is very sticky, almost soupy. If you are not used to getting your hands dirty with sticky dough, you might be tempted to add more flour. Don't! This bread actually came together pretty easily with just a few stretch and fold moves to develop the gluten.

Each loaf is about eight ounces. You can't really shape the dough. Instead, you cut it into pieces and sort of pull it and fold it to shape it.

Mini Ciabatta Loaves, deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust.

I folded the risen dough over itself just prior to putting it into the oven to get a taller bread. If you prefer, you could just place the dough in the oven "as is," or even stretch it out a bit, to create a mini stirato shape.

I decided to get out the calculator and figure out the hydration level of the other ciabatta bread I've made. Here they are, in order of hydration:
  1. Ciabatta with biga, 77 percent hydration (water to flour ratio). This one actually has a really nice interior with evenly distributed "holes." 
  2. Ciabatta with poolish, 78 percent hydration. This bread was shaped into long twists just prior to placing them in the oven. 
  3. Ciabatta with cold fermented dough, 80 percent hydration. This is a great make ahead dough, and produces and amazing interior. 
  4. Flaxseed and date ciabatta, 87 percent hydration. This is a nontraditional ciabatta, but really worth trying. 
  5. No knead ciabatta, 88 percent hydration. Like most no knead breads, this one is super easy. 
As you can see, I am a big fan of ciabatta. 

While this bread does not have a preferment, what distinguishes this bread is the crust. The bread is baked for at least 45 minutes, to a very dark brown. This caramelization totally permeates the flavor of the bread. 

Mini Ciabatta Loaves, deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust.

I like to keep a bowl of water nearby for dipping my hands prior to handling the dough. I also recommend removing any rings with stones in them that you may be wearing to keep any dough from getting stuck in the setting! 

Embrace the wet dough! 


Mini Ciabatta Loaves

Mini Ciabatta Loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1.75 ounces warm water, about 105 to 115 degrees F.
  • 16 ounces bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (14 grams) salt
  • 13 ounces cool water, about 75 degrees F.

Instructions

  1. Add the yeast to the warm water, stir, and set aside for about five minutes.
  2. Measure the flour into a large bowl. Whisk in the salt.
  3. Add the yeast and water mixture to the flour, and mix with a dough whisk or wooden spoon. Add the water, and mix with your hands, pinching and stirring, until all of the flour is incorporated and the salt is dissolved.
  4. Let the dough rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes.
  5. Using a wet plastic dough scraper and wet hands, lift the dough up from each of the four "sides" and stretch and fold it over itself. Let it rest, and repeat after two minutes. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface. Wash the bowl and coat it with olive oil. Give the dough another stretch and fold, and place it into the bowl. Spray the top of the dough with spray oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  6. In the bowl, using wet hands and a wet dough scraper, stretch and fold the dough from all four "sides." At this point, the gluten in the dough should have developed good tension. Cover the dough and let rise for an additional 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled.
  7. Generously sprinkle your work surface with flour. In addition, generously sprinkle a 13 inch by 18 inch piece of heavy duty parchment paper with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the floured work surface, and, with wet hands, pull it into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Using an oiled bench knife, cut the dough into four pieces, and, using wet or oiled hands, place the pieces on the floured parchment paper. Spray the tops with spray oil, and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
  8. Preheat the oven to 480 degrees F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack, and a pan on the rack below.
  9. Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes, until puffy and nearly doubled.
  10. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, and, separately, fill a spray bottle with room temperature water.
  11. Gently fold the undersides of the dough over the top of the dough. Using a peel or the back of a baking sheet, transfer the breads, parchment and all, to the baking stone. Pour the cup of boiling water into the pan below the stone (be sure to cover the window of your oven door with a towel), and quickly close the oven door. Let bake for 5 minutes, and then spray into the oven with the room temperature water from the spray bottle. Immediately close the oven door. 
  12. Bake the loaves for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Cool the loaves on a wire rack.
Yield: 4 eight ounce loaves
Cook time: 45 mins.
Tags: bread, ciabatta

Recipe inspired by One Dough, Ten Breads: Making Great Breads by Hand, by Sarah Black


Mini Ciabatta Loaves

22 comments:

  1. Pinned!! Ciabatta is my all time favorite bread. Can't wait to try this Karen!

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    1. Thanks Kristen! I was super happy with it.

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  2. adding this to my ever growing list of must bakes, we are BIG ciabatta fans

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    1. I know what you mean about that ever growing list!

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  3. I adore ciabatta and just got Jennifer Farley's new cookbook with a recipe for mushroom sandwiches on ciabatta - bet this homemade version would take that recipe to a whole new level!!

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    1. You could definitely make smaller sizes or elongate the dough for sandwiches!

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  4. These ciabatta are perfection Karen! On my list to bake :) Thank you for posting.

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  5. Whoa...I feel like I learned a TON from reading your post! Thanks for all of the information!

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    1. Thanks guys! I do tend to geek out when talking about bread!

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  6. These are simply spectacular! Look at that crust I can almost taste it - I do think that sometimes people don't bake their breads long enough... clearly you did it like the pro you are!

    I need to bake bread soon...

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    1. Awwww. Thanks! It really did make a difference in the flavor in this case.

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  7. I'm going to have to try these, they look great!

    One suggestion is to be specific about step 10. I had to read it a few times to understand that you didn't want me to put boiling water in a spray bottle! :)

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    1. Great point!!! Thanks for the second set of eyes. =)

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  8. I am just in awe of your bread baking skills!

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  9. Ciabatta is my favorite - I have to figure out a way to recreate it for my gluten free husband.

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    1. Thank you. That would definitely be a challenge.

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  10. Wow. These are professional quality loafs Karen! Can we bake those on o reversed baking pan or is the stone necessary in your opinion? Thank you for the delicious recipe!xoxo

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    1. You don't need a baking stone, it's just helpful for keeping the heat constant. A baking sheet would work just fine!

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.