Clean workspace and heat-proof surface for after baking.
Roasting tin or focaccia tray (about an inch deep is good)
Large mixing bowl
1/2 Tsp Dry Yeast
600g Ciabatta Flour
420g Warm Soft Water (32ºC / 89.6ºF)
12g Fine Sea Salt
Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs Coarse Salt (for topping)
Toppings – Grana Padano, Basil, Tomatoes.
With wet hands, combine flour, water (32ºC) and dry yeast in the bowl until just incorporated. Cover with a teatowel and set aside for 10 minutes
Sprinkle the Fine Sea Salt over your dough. Now wet your working hand and squeeze the mixture between your thumb and index finger. Do this throughout until the dough is consistently mixed. Remember – Use the scraper to bring all surplus dough stuck around the bowl into the main dough ball throughout this mixing process.
Lightlyoil the bowl and dough. Use the scraper to scoop and invert the dough in the bowl. Cover bowl with clingfilm, place in a warm (22ºC-40ºC) spot for 1 hour.
After the 1 hour you should see (or feel) some inflation in the dough. Lightly dust worktop with flour. Now to stretch. With dampened hands lift the dough onto your worktop. Take one "corner" of your dough and firmly (but not roughly) stretch and fold back over to the opposite "corner" of the dough. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Repeat again. This firms up your dough and promotes the encapsulation of air pockets (which is good). Place your dough back into the bowl seam side down and cover for 20-30 mins. Repeat once more and allow a final 30 minute rest.
After the above process you should notice air pockets/large bubbles appearing beneath the surface of your glutenous dough. Prepare your oven. Put the rack in the centre position, or just below. Set to Bake or Fan Bake, at 240ºC. Prepare your toppings. Halve your tomatoes, wash and dry your Basil, shave or grate your Grana Padano. Oil your baking tin with your clean dry hands and the Extra Virgin Olive oil. Be generous, but don't over-do it, there's more to come.
Gently lift your dough with your pre-oiled hands and rest it into your baking tin. Massage the dough flat with gentle fingersplaying movements. Once it's about an inch thin, let it rest for 10 minutes. Repeat the massage to coax the dough to fill the tray/tin as much as you can. Now use both hands and stab the dough with splayed fingers followed by a stirring motion. This is to promote holes/dimples for the topping oil to settle into. Be quite vigourous. Wash your hands.
Coat in this order. Cheese, Basil (bruised) then tomatoes. Then generously drizzle with oil. Finish with an healthy amount of coarse salt.
Bake for 20-30 mins depending on your oven. Be very careful of the hot oil when handling the tray! Let rest on the bench uncovered for 15 minutes.
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