Ciabatta

by Michelle on June 24, 2009

Ciabatta;

Ciabatta (Italian pronunciation: [tʃaˈbatːa], literally “carpet slipper”) is an Italian white bread made with wheat flour and yeast. The loaf is somewhat elongated, broad and flattish and, like a slipper, should be somewhat collapsed in the middle. Since the late 1990s it has been popular across Europe and in the United States, and is widely used as a sandwich bread.
Ciabatta was first produced in Liguria, although at least one type of ciabatta can be found in nearly every region of Italy nowadays. The ciabatta from the area encompassing Lake Como has a crisp crust, a somewhat soft, porous texture, and is light to the touch. The ciabatta found in Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche varies from bread that has a firm crust and dense crumb, to bread that has a crisper crust and more open texture. The more open-crumbed form, which is usual in the United States, is made from a very wet dough, often requiring machine-kneading, and a biga or sourdough starter.
There are many variations of ciabatta. When made with whole wheat flour, it is known as ciabatta integrale. In Rome, it is often seasoned with olive oil, salt, and marjoram. When milk is added to the dough, it becomes ciabatta al latte. A toasted sandwich made from small loaves of ciabatta is known as a panino (plural panini).

 

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Ciabatta is our eighth bread in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. I was looking forward to making Ciabatta! I am a very enthusiastic sourdough baker and I love using kefir in anything I am baking. I choose to make the biga version and substituted sourdough starter for the yeast and kefir for the milk and I did use EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil).

Generally I like working with a very wet dough, but as soon as I mixed up this recipe I knew it was not wet enough and my loaves would not have the large gorgeous holes that I wanted. Could I have added a bit more water or kefir? Yes, but since I’m involved in this challenge to learn so I’m trying to stay as close to the Reinhart recipe as possible.

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All in all, I was not disappointed in my Ciabatta as it was a good bread and it was fun to do the stretching and folding method during the rise. But next time I make it, I will be experimenting and definitely adding more liquid and a little bit more salt too.

I baked my Ciabatta on a Sunday and served it as an afternoon snack after a day of yard work for both of us. I served the Ciabatta with 2 dips, Romesco Dip and an Olive and Parmesan Dip. Since my husband was home and watched the entire bread process and then smelled the bread baking, he could not wait to give it a try. So I cut the bread when it was warm..so not a good idea!

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Google Books has the entire book, “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread”, by Peter Reinhart, scanned and you can find the recipe on Page 135 by clicking here.

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Comments

  • Elle June 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    It looks wonderful! I’ve squished many breads, too, because they’re so tempting fresh out of the oven. Love the dips, too!

  • Kayte June 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    It certainly looks delicious. I would be happy with a slice of that bread. Very nice post, I learned quite a bit. Love the styling with the dipping oil and olives, etc.

  • pinkstripes June 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Your ciabatta looks gorgeous! I love that last pic with the olive oil and olives.

  • YankeeQuilter June 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Looks great! It is so hard not to cut into the warm bread….

  • Jen @ MyKitchenAddiction.com June 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Your bread looks wonderful! I think I may try a few of the BBA recipes… they look so good!

  • Joy June 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    It’s been a while since I made my last homemade bread and your ciabatta is pulling me closer to my next one. Beautiful bread! Whenever I try a completely new recipe, I cannot wait till it cools down from the oven. Haha. Chances are, the bread will be finished before it gets cool. :)

  • susies1955 June 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Looks great. I plan on making it again one day. It was very tasty.
    Google I think skips some pages in the book scan. :)
    Susie

  • Ben June 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I love ciabatta, although I’ve never made it before. This is one bread that I definitely want to make at home. Hmm delicious!

  • Michelle June 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Susie,

    I see the entire recipe pgs 135-142, including pgs 107 and 106 for the biga and poolish recipes.

    I checked it before I linked and just rechecked and it’s all still there. Maybe I have priority at Google Books? 😉

    Michelle

  • Finsmom June 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Ive never tried making this before – looks wonderful!

  • Janice June 24, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I baked mine yesterday, and the only reason it cooled off is that I had to take my son to his swimming lesson – otherwise, we would have had squished bread, as well! Yours looks yummy and the dips look amazing.

  • kellypea June 25, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Wow, I am so lagging on my bread. Your ciabatta turned out fabulously. Wishing I had a huge chunk right now, and I’d skip dinner. *sigh*

  • Danielle June 25, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Your bread looks fantastic!!! ciabatta is one of my favorite breads and I know what you mean about those big gorgeous wholes. One of these days I’m gonna try making this bread! (after I get over my fear of yeast! LOL)

  • oggi July 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I am a kefir fanatic too. I will use it for the next bread recipes that have milk.

    Yep, I’m guilty of cutting the bread before it has cooled off completely…the aroma of newly baked bread is just so inviting.:)

  • ATigerInTheKitchen July 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Gorgeous pictures — and bread, too! Congratulations…my ciabatta turned out to be a disaster. I’ve got to try again …

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