Ciabatta - T55 flour
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You'll find recipes for Ciabatta that ask for strong white bread flour and others that ask for All Purpose (UK: Plain) flour. The former produces a slightly less wet and sticky dough and is easier to work. The latter can be a nightmare if you're unfamiliar with working with very wet and gloopy doughs.
Using T55 flour is a happy medium. It's strong enough to build a good gluten network but will still give you a dough that is best suited for ciabatta. Bearing in mind that ciabatta was the Italian answer to the French baguette, there's a certain sense in using a French flour in this recipe.
In a previous BreadClub20 recipe, we covered the social history of the ciabatta. You'll find the recipe here. This recipe uses a biga, made the night before; a technique that is very popular with bakers in the United States.
Our recipe today is a one-day bake that produces bread for lunch or dinner, providing you start early enough in the morning!
350 gms tepid filtered water
400 gms T55 flour
8 gms sea salt
2 gms instant active yeast
You'll also find it useful to have 20 gms of olive oil handy for slapping, stretching and folding.
1. Mix the flour and the salt together in a large bowl.
2. Mix the water and the yeast together in a jug.
3. Slowly add the water / yeast to the flour / salt and combine until the a loose and sticky mix has formed.
4. Thoroughly mix the dough together for about two minutes. You can do this in a large bowl or on a work top.
5. Tip the dough out onto an oiled worktop and knead it by using a slapping and folding technique. If you're unfamiliar with the slapping and folding technique, watch this video:
7. Cover and leave for 30 minutes at room temperature.
8. Repeat Stage 6 and 7 three times over the next hour and a half (i.e. four sets of stretch and fold over a two hour period).
|After 4 sets of stretch and fold.|
9. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 240⁰C.
10. Remove the dough from the fridge. Generously flour the top of the dough and the worktop. Gently, release the dough onto the worktop and divide into two.
11. Prepare a baking tray and line with baking paper or silicone and dust with rice or semolina flour.
12. Form each of the two pieces into a loose rectangle dust the tops with rice or semolina flour.
13. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.
14. Mist the inside of the oven and the top of the dough and bake for 16 minutes at 230⁰C.
Cool on a rack.