4 BBA: Ciabatta, Round 2

O.k. This is the BBA Challenge, and I'm working hard!
I tried the biga version of Peter Reinhart's ciabatta.

Caution: this is a very sticky dough. Not for the faint of heart!

This is what I did differently:

I used active dry yeast. Instant yeast worked way too quickly for me. It must be the high altitude.

After mixing the dough in my Kitchen Aid, I divided the dough first, prior to folding. I didn't want to chance deflating my dough after 2 rises to shape them into 2 piles.

I did the slap and fold method that I learned from King Arthur Flour to develop the gluten further and shape it for the first rise.

This photo is the final shape, and final raise.

I believe that stretching the dough deflated my previous batch, so I gently folded the dough instead. I would love to find a video of the stretching/folding process that Peter talks about.
I found a video. You can watch it here! Peter Reinhart's Stretch and Fold Technique

The stretching/folding process is what gives this bread the large airy holes. If the dough is not handled gently, the dough will deflate.

The final fold was put seam side down, which was a challenge.

The dough from the side looks pretty airy and light.

After steaming, baking, spritzing with water 3 times and baking 25 minutes, this is what I got!

But, I'm not done. Yet. Gotta see the inside, but I have to wait at least 45 minutes!

This is a slice from my first try at making ciabatta.

Internal temperature only registered 195 degrees.

It's kinda dense, but the flavor was good. Lacks many, large holes.

Let's compare it to the second batch.

There's a definite improvement, though the number of large airy holes that are so desirable in this type of bread are not as prevalent.

This bread registered at 200 degrees internal temperature. An ideal temperature is 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

This was a nice, chewy bread with a crispy crust and loads of flavor!

What have I learned?

This bread is definitely more challenging to make than the no knead bread, but the taste of this is much better.

Handling the dough takes patience and practice.

Spritz the oven, not the bread.

Wait at least 45 minutes before cutting into the bread.
Why? For optimal flavor. The moisture is still evaporating from the bread, and cutting into it early means a different texture and taste.

We can learn each time we bake and reap the rewards each time!


  1. AnonymousJune 29, 2009

    Nice job! It's great that you tried it again. Your second attempt really looks lovely...great holes (what an odd compliment). I'll be trying Ciabatta this week. I just finished my Casatiello and Challah this past weekend ( http://strangerkiss.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/casatiello-and-challah/).

    Thanks for the nice post with good photos and explanation!

  2. I am so impressed with your progress. So far I've conquered my fear of working with puff pastry (doubt I'll ever make it from scratch, though), making jam and my next wish... learning how to bake artisan breads. I'm watching you!

  3. I'm always jealous of you amazing bread bakers! Your bread is so beautiful...and inspiring :D

  4. Your ciabatta looks wonderful! You have been working hard. The photos look great!


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