Ciabatta is an Italian white bread made with just few ingredients ; flour, salt, olive oil, water and yeast. It's shape is elongated, flat, rustic and broad, looks like a worn-out slipper, hence it is called Ciabatta which means slipper.
This recipe that I've tried is from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart. Ciabatta has a very wet dough, so it is preferable to mix the dough in a stand mixer. This high hydration dough (with more water than other regular bread dough), is required in order to achieve a light, airy and holey crumbs as the characteristics of a ciabatta bread.
Oiling your hands and the work counter with some oil will really help to handle the sticky dough. There's a series of stretch and fold, with 10 minutes rest, which is repeated a few times. The dough is then keep covered in a bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 4 days. The next day, the dough is taken out and let rest for an hour, then shape as per the instructions given, and let rise for another hour before baking.
The dough has puffed a little before it went into the oven. And during the first 15 minutes or so, the bread has puffed even more in the oven. Happy to see that!
I did not have a baking stone, so I've used an overturned baking sheet instead.
It bakes up lovely, with a rich brown crust and soft, spongy crumb, with those lovely holes that I was looking for!
The recipe for this ciabatta can be found here.
Note ; I've made half a recipe for one large ciabatta. I've reduced the salt to 3/4 teaspoon which works out great for us.
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