Ciabatta - using Sourdough starter

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I have to thank Dave Skolosdra, from Ashton-under-Lyne, a market town in Tameside, Greater Manchester, for this recipe. Dave is also a baker and subscriber to BreadClub20.  Ashton holds a fond memory for me. My father spent his teaching career at the local technical college and I spent a year there in between school and University as part of a 'agreement' with him that I'd continue my studies while I was learning the Chorleywood process at the Sunblest bakery in nearby Stockport. However, I'm afraid that I was far more percipient to flour, water, yeast and salt than I ever was to revisiting the European Revolutions of 1848....

Ashton has produced some notable sons and daughters: Victor Brox, the blue artist, George Formby the entertainer, Sean Wilson, cheese maker and actor, and, of course, Dave Skolosdra who, if this recipe works as well for me as it does for him, will be elevated to the heady ranks of notable people from Ashton, toute suite


400 gms strong white bread flour (I'm using Wright's Canadian : 13% protein)

100 gms Caputo Nuvola (a Tipo '0' flour from Italy)

385 gms tepid filtered water

30 gms active starter (fed last night. 1:1:1 spelt flour)

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 gms diastatic malt

11 gms of flaked sea salt (Dave uses Smoked Flake Salt for added flavour, so I am as well)

Ready to go...


1. Mix together the flours and diastatic malt. 

2. In a separate bowl, mix the starter with the water.

3. Add the olive oil to the starter / water mix.

4. Gradually mix in the flours / malt. 

5. Autolyse for 1 hour

6. Add the salt and mix thoroughly.

I wouldn't be without my spirtle 

It produces a lovely dough with which to work 

7. Perform four sets of stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals.

30 minute intervals (one per aid a failing memory) for 4 sets of stretch and fold. 
I substituted a coil fold for the last stretch and fold sequence.

8. Allow to continue to bulk ferment.  My kitchen was 20⁰C, so bulk fermentation (from the end of the stretch and fold sequences) took 6 hours

9. Place the dough into the fridge at 5⁰C, overnight. 

The bottom line is my starting point.
The top line is where I was after 6 hours and the final level is after 14 hours cold proofing at 5⁰C

10. Remove from the fridge and divide into bannetons. 

10. Rest for 2 hours.

11. Preheat the oven to 220⁰C and reduce to 200⁰C for baking. 

12. Bake on a pizza stone on a middle shelf and mist the oven or provide steam as appropriate. 

13. Bake until golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath. 

14. Cool on a rack

Happy baking.....


  • Maldon Smoked Flaked Sea Salt must be unique. The crystals are irregularly-shaped pyramids. It's produced near Maldon, a town on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, England. The salt is smoked over oak to give it its distinctive flavour.  Maldon, itself, was first recorded back in 913 AD in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and is also famous for being the site of a famous battle on 11th August 991AD when Byrhtnoth, the Saxon Warrior was slain by Viking raiders. It's a fine example of hubris. Byrhtnoth exaggerates his boast to his men, thus showing an excess of either pride or courage which leads to his eventual downfall. 
  • Caputo Nuvola flour is a Tipo 0 flour from Italy. It's milled by Mulino Caputo in Naples, Italy and has an inherent lightness that makes it superb for Italian bakes and pizza doughs. 
  • Diastatic Malt Powder is made from finely-ground malted barley and is used to soften the crumb and also to darken the crust. Never use more than 0.5% - 1% in a bake, otherwise the bread may well become sticky. 

The overriding rule with ciabatta is 'be gentle'.  The first time I used this recipe, I left out the oil. I tried adding it later....and ended up murdering the life out of the dough. 

However, with lots of time and gentle hands, this is a very good recipe. I've also made ciabatta with commercial yeast and it also worked well: 

However, sourdough ciabatta is going to grace our table again, very soon. It's a great recipe, Dave. Many thanks. You're canonisation is in the post! 

And the following made wonderful toast! 

Very happy baking.....



  1. Thanks so much for your kind comments , lovely friendly group nice "vibes" and loads of great recipes to try ! 🍞👌


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