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Cooking, Baking and Painting in Italia

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Ciabatta bread. Messy delicious thing.



Hi everyone,  sorry for the delay but I got a busy weekend and then got sidetracked and fell into the Bergey's rabbit hole. However, as promised here is the recipe for the ciabatta bread. It's a food with an unusual story. Italian food often is a result of centuries of tradition,  this is especially true for breads. Ciabatta bread is an exception, it "was born" in 1982 in Adria, a town in Veneto, thanks to a great baker. It is renown for being crunchy and with tipically big "holes" inside, given by the high hydration of the dough. This is a slice 20151115_091839.thumb.jpg.70942eeca32cb0 


This recipe is my personal adaptation of the original one that's too complicated for me to do at home. I have to make a premise though.  I've always hated this bread, too crunchy IMHO, I tried to do it only because my mother asked me, it's her favourite bread. 

I made a starter with 50gr sourdough, 200gr water and 150gr of strong (high protein,  high gluten) flour. It needs to rest at 21-22ºC for 12-13 hours. After that I diluted the starter with 274gr of warm (28ºC) water stirring slowly, then I added a teaspoon of honey, 517gr of strong flour and 13gr of salt as last. This was a very messy dough, the water percentage is 80% of the flour, quite high and the result is a very sticky dough. I kneaded it making folds and beating it on the table (and cursing) for 10 minutes,  when I noticed a good improvement in consistency20151114_132106.thumb.jpg.95cdb8ed46fd85 .I put it in an oiled bowl to rest in a warm place for 3hours. Even if the mere thought made me curse, I forced myself to turn the dough and fold it on itself once during the 3 hours. Then I divided the dough in 2 parts, took one, folded it on itself and put it on a heavily floured plastic foil giving it the form. 20151114_155612.thumb.jpg.12f68923b4b8d6 Then I put a good amount of flour on top of the boulage and grabbing it from the bottom, hhelping myself with the plastics foil, I put it on the oven plate  covered with parchment paper. I repeated the process with the other half. I covered the boulages with the plastic foil and let it rest for other 2 hours in the oven slighly warm. Then I cooked it at 230ºC for 15 minutes and other 20 minutes at 200ºC. It's important to put a bowl of water in the oven and take it away when you lower the temperature,  also, to make it crunchy, keep the oven's door slightly open for the last 10 minutes (or more of you like). 20151114_181139.thumb.jpg.a8cd43b4d3c23d 

When I put it in the oven I swore that it was yhe first and last time I did it. But when later I tasted it I changed my mind.  It's too delicious, totally worth the big trouble doing it.

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