Jason Rennie's Ciabatta Recipe

Adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.

Do not try this recipe unless (1) you have a good bread book, or (2) you have plenty of rustic bread experience. You have been warned!

My Bread Journal

Step 1 (Poolish)

Ingredients: 8 oz. AP flour 1 c. room-temperature water, 1/4 t. instant yeast.

Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon until the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours or until it becomes bubbly and foamy. Immediately refrigerate. Will keep for up to 3 days.

Step 2

Ingredients: 8 oz. AP flour, 1/2 c. lukewarm water, 4 t. Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, 1 t. instant yeast. Extra AP flour as needed, oil, plastic wrap.

Remove the poolish from the fridge 1 hour prior. Mix the dry ingredients, then use them to create a circular wall on the counter. Pour the water inside the wall; add the poolish to the water. Mix water and poolish together, then begin integrating flour; continue integrating until it becomes a dough. Knead until the dough comes together. Stretch the dough into a log shape. Let rest 2 minutes. Fold the dough over itself, letter style, to return it to a more compact shape. Use a brush to lightly cover the top of the dough with oil. Dust top of dough with flour. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat stretch/fold process. Oil. Flour. Cover. Let rest for 1.5-2 hours.

Notes: If any filling are to be added, they should be added during the folding of this stage.

Step 3

Equipment: floured (aka seasoned) piece of canvas (2'x3'), flour, plastic wrap.

Lay out canvas on counter. Uncover the dough and cut into 2 or 3 loaves. Cover the doughs with flour, transfer them to canvas, bunching the canvas to separate. Fold dough over itself, letter style into an oblong about 6 inches long. Lightly oil. Dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap. Proof for 1 hour.

Step 4

Equipment: large cookie sheet (e.g. 16"x20"), parchment paper, rice flour, bread board (e.g. 30"x6"x.2"), 6 ice cubes.

Cut a piece of parchment paper long enough to cover the length of the cookie sheet. Lay the paper on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle rice flour liberally on the parchment paper (will help loaves slide onto baking stone).

Remove the plastic wrap and straighten-out the canvas (creating space between the doughs). Stretch each loaf to 9- to 12-inches. Transfer one-at-a-time to the parchment paper using the bread board.

Drop 6 ice cubes on the bottom of the oven (to create steam). Wait one minute, then slide loaves onto baking stone. After 10 minutes, turn down oven to 450F and crack open oven door for 20 seconds to let out steam.

After 15 minutes, or when light brown, rotate outer loaves. Loaves will be done after 20-25 minutes. Crust should be medium brown.

Step 5

Let bread cool on a rack for 1-2 hours.

Last modified: Fri Jun 22 19:38:19 2007