This is the easiest (and probably the tastiest) bread I’ve made.
Seriously, even you can make it.
All you need is a few simple ingredients, and a lot of time…eons of time…like the time it takes for sea monkeys to evolve into tree monkeys time. Eh, maybe not that long, but it’s awhile. It’s mostly waiting though, and it’s absolutely worth the wait. This bread has a deliciously crisp crust, a soft, chewy crumb, and an awesome yeasty flavor.
So what is Ciabatta?
According to dictionary.com, Ciatbatta is “
Having made this the traditional way, I can tell you I don’t like bread slippers. I think we can do better. This Ciabatta bread recipe is perfect for a 9” x 9” cake pan, which makes a nice, square loaf. Much better than an old shoe.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 600 grams of bread flour
- 544 grams (19.2 oz) of water
- 15 grams of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of Active Dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
So let’s get started. Hope you’re hungry. In several short hours, we’re eating bread!
- Mix the bread flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl large enough for at least 3 times the volume of the ingredients.
- Heat the water in a microwave to 100-110o F. Add the warm water and oil to the flour and mix with a spatula. At first it will look like too much water, then too little water. Just keep mixing until a sticky dough forms.
- Cover your mixing bowl with aluminum foil and wait for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, think abut how good your bread will taste when it’s done. Wait for another 6 hours. Do not open the cover or look at the dough.
- After 6 hours, place your ear close to the aluminum foil cover and listen carefully. If you don’t hear anything, that’s perfectly normal. Wait for another 8 hours. Do not open the cover. Do not look at the dough.
- After 8 full hours, think about how long it’s been since you started this bread (16 hours). Think how silly it would be to be impatient now and wait for another 2 hours.
- At the 18 hour mark, remove the aluminum cover and behold your precious. It should be twice the size you remember it, and chock full of tiny little bubble holes.
- Grease the aforementioned 9” x 9” pan and transfer the dough. It will still be very sticky. Spread the dough evenly in the pan and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let the dough proof for another 2 hours.
- Heat your oven to 425o F. Uncover the dough and bake in the center rack for about 45 minutes. When done, the loaf will form a thin and crisp crust that’s light gold in color and makes a hollow sound when tapped.
- Remove the loaf to a cooling rack and let it stand for about 30 minutes before cutting.
And that’s it, homemade Ciabatta bread in 21 short hours!
Want it tomorrow night? Try making the dough just before bed. It’ll be ready to proof tomorrow evening and done it time for a late supper.
Spicy Meatball (Dave)