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Ciabatta Bread

The recipe requires very little hands-on time but you need to start the day before you want to bake it.

Day 1:

Start the Biga by mixing 175g tepid water with ¼ tsp instant yeast and 225g Shipton Mill Ciabatta Bread Flour. Let it ferment for 6 - 24hrs at room temperature.

Day 2:

  1. Mix 180g tepid water (ca. 30C) with 250g ciabatta bread flour at lowest speed until combined. Cover with tea towel and let autolyse for 30min
  2. Add 40g of tepid water (300C) , 5g of instant yeast, 10g of sea salt and all the Biga from Day 1
  3. Knead on low speed for 3min and then on high speed for another 5min. Gluten should have developed
  4. Transfer to a medium bowl (oil-lined), cover with a tea towel and let proof for 30min
  5. Stretch and fold for 1-2 rounds and fold in the corners. Proof for another 30min
  6. Laminate: Spray counter top with water. Scoop dough onto the wet surface and use very wet hands to stretch the dough to a rectangle ca. 30-35cm x 45-50cm in size
  7. Fold the stretched dough like a letter by folding over the long end by ca. 1/3 and then folding over the other long end. Then fold 3-4 times from the short end (like rolling it up). Keep wet at all times and scoop it back into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and proof for 60min.
  8. Flour worktop surface and the top of the dough very well. Make sure the dough releases easily from the bowl. Turn it over on to the floured worktop and well flour the top side too. Pad lightly with floured hands.
  9. Gently coerce the dough into a square shaped slab and pop any air bubbles.
  10. Flour a baking parchment paper very well
  11. Cut slab into half and lift the two halves on to the parchment. Cut the paper in half too to have one loaf on each paper. Move the two loaves on to a wooden board to avoid heat loss and cover with a tea towel for 30min.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 260C and add a roasting tin to the bottom of the oven. Add a pizza stone or a baking tray (turned upside down)
  13. Boil water
  14. After c. 40min, move the loaves on to a pizza peel and put them into the oven. Add boiling water into the roasting tray. If possible, cover the loaves with a foil pan to trap the steam and bake for ca. 12min at a slightly reduced temperature of 250C
  15. After 12min, remove the foil pan and bake for a further 13-15min to get a dark crust.
  16. Let cool on a wire rack