Recipe: Ciabatta

Rating: 4.7 stars based on 903 reviews

Sponge

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 cup (8 ounces) water

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Mix the sponge ingredients, in a small bowl or in the pan of your bread machine, until well combined (program the machine for Dough, then cancel it once the ingredients are mixed, after a couple of minutes).

Let the sponge rest overnight, covered, or for up to 15 hours.

Dough

Sponge (from above)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon non-fat dry milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup (2 to 4 ounces) water

2 tablespoons (1 ounce )olive oil

Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start.

Examine the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle; it should be very tacky, but should be holding its shape somewhat. Adjust the dough's consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Transfer the dough to a well-oiled work surface.

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet, and your hands. Using a bench knife or your fingers, divide the dough in half.

Handling the dough gently, stretch it into a log about 10 inches long, and place it on the baking sheet.

Flatten the log with your fingers till it's about 10 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide.

Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

Lightly cover the dough with heavily oiled plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy.

Oil your fingers, and gently poke deep holes all over the dough. Re-oil the plastic wrap, re-cover the dough, and allow it to rise for an additional hour.

Dust the dough very lightly with flour.

Bake it in a preheated 425°F oven, throwing four or five ice cubes on the floor of the oven as you put the bread in.

Allow the ciabatta to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it's golden brown.

Turn off the oven, remove the ciabatta from the baking sheet, and return it to the oven, propping the oven door open a couple of inches with a folded-over potholder.

Allow the ciabatta to cool completely in the oven; this will give it a very crisp crust.

Yield: 2 ciabatta, about 4 large servings each.

Nutrition information per serving (1 slice, 1/4 of loaf, 98g): 187 cal, 3.5g fat, 5g protein, 33g complex carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 1 dietary fiber, 406mg sodium, 78mg potassium, 5RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 91mg calcium, 53mg phosphorus.


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