Cloudy Kitchen’s easy ciabatta bread recipe

This recipe from Cloudy Kitchen is not a traditional ciabatta bread, it is easy to make, requires no fancy tools or equipment, and has an overnight rise in the fridge, meaning you can pop the dough out and bake whenever you are ready.

It can be made into either two loaves or eight ciabatta rolls, depending on how you are feeling. Leftovers freeze well, and also make the most amazing garlic bread.

  • In a large bowl, combine the high grade flour and the first measure of the water. Combine with a spatula or hands to form a stiff, Shaggy dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit for 30 minutes.

  • After 30 minutes, combine the second measure of water with the yeast, and add to the Bowl along with the salt. Mix in by pinching and squishing the dough with your fingers, then stretch it up and fold it over on itself until it starts to come together. Mix the dough for five minutes using the stretch and fold technique. To do this, reach under a piece of the dough and bring it up and fold it over onto itself. Rotate the Bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Keep working your way around the Bowl.

  • Once you have finished mixing, transfer the dough into a lightly oiled Bowl or plastic container, ideally with see-through sides. Cover with a lid or tea towel.

  • Proof the dough for two hours, with a set of stretch and folds every 30 minutes (so a total of four sets of stretch and folds). To stretch and fold, you repeat the same motion as in the mixing phase – reach under, stretch the dough up and over itself, then turn the container 90 degrees and repeat again until you have done it four times. Then cover the dough and leave to sit for 30 minutes until you repeat the next set of stretch and folds.

  • Once you have finished the stretch and fold process, cover the Bowl either with a lid or plastic wrap, and place into the fridge overnight, or for up to 24 hours.

  • When you are ready to bake the ciabatta, line a baking pan with baking paper and lightly flour the paper. Heavily flour a work surface. Flour the surface of the dough, then turn out onto the floured surface. The dough is quite sticky, so using enough flour is very important.

  • Pat the dough into a square approximately 24 x 24cm, adding extra flour if needed. Cut into two pieces, then, working with one at a time, transfer to the baking sheet, flipping over so the floured side is facing upward. Tuck the edges of the dough under lightly and shape into a rough rectangle. Repeat with the second piece of dough, leaving space between the loaves for rising and spreading.

  • Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a lid, and place in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour to let the dough rise, until they have puffed up slightly and when gently poked with a fingertip, an indentation is left that slowly rises back.

  • While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 220C bake. Give the oven about 20 minutes to preheat to ensure that it heats up properly.

  • Once the dough is risen, transfer to the oven, and bake for 18-20 minutes until the ciabatta is baked and golden brown and sounds Hollow when tapped Underneath.

  • Remove from the oven and leave to stand on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.

  • Store leftovers loosely wrapped at room temperature.

  • Notes: To shape into rolls, pat the dough into a 28 x 20cm rectangle and cut into rolls. Flip over onto the floured sheet pan and proof and bake the same way as the loaves.

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