Midnight ciabatta, crispy on the outside, soft and with lots of holes in the middle
Ciabatta is a rustic Italian bread made with flour, water, olive oil, salt and yeast. Can we say that ciabatta is an easy and quick bread? Yes and no. The most important thing is to develop a technique, because the ciabatta dough is a wet and sticky mass that you have to control. For shaping ciabatta, I recommend plastic or metal dough scrapers, they are very useful. One of the difficulties may also be the transport of the risen dough to the hot baking sheet. How to efficiently slide the ciabatta onto the hot baking sheet? You can use another flat baking sheet or a pizza shovel. You can also, like me, ask your husband for a special board. It is a cut piece of plywood (8 mm thick, hardwood) measuring 38 x 38 cm. It works perfectly, I recommend it.
Why do I call this night ciabatta? Because I knead the dough in the evening and leave it covered on the kitchen counter. In the morning, all I have left to do is form and bake. I usually make two long loaves from this recipe. However, nothing stands in the way of dividing the dough into 4 medium or 6 small rolls. It all depends on what plans we have for the use of the bread.
5 g of fresh yeast
500 g of bread flour type 750
1 tablespoon of olive oil
8 g of salt
flour for dusting
Pour water into a bowl, crumble the yeast and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour, mix until combined, cover and set aside for about 30 minutes to autolyse. One of the purposes of autolysis is to saturate the flour with water before kneading.
Then we add salt to the dough and start kneading. The dough is very watery and sticky, so it's best to knead it with a mixer with a hook. Knead until it begins to peel off the sides of the bowl, it usually takes about 3 - 5 minutes. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil and knead again until the dough absorbs the fat and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with the kneaded dough, preferably with cling film, and leave it on the kitchen counter for about 12 hours. It is best to prepare the dough in the evening and leave it to rise and ferment overnight.
After the dough has risen, place it very gently, preferably with water-wet hands, on a board generously sprinkled with flour. We do not knead the dough, we handle it very carefully so as not to destroy the air bubbles inside.
Sprinkle the dough with flour on top and use scrapers (plastic or metal dough spatulas) or a knife to divide the dough into 2, 4 or 6 portions. Form each portion lightly with scraps, pushing the flour from the pastry board to the bottom of the dough. Cover with a cloth and set aside for 15 minutes. Then, preferably using two scrapers, put the ciabatta "upside down" on baking paper sprinkled with flour. Place the rolls at intervals, cover with a cloth and leave for another 20 minutes.
During this time, heat the oven with the baking sheet inside to 245°C. Place a heatproof bowl of water on the bottom of the oven. Slide the ciabatta (together with baking paper) onto the preheated baking sheet and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. After baking, cool on a wire rack.