Community bake ciabatta | The Fresh Loaf


The community bake provided the excuse to bake a simple ciabatta recipe that a friend has been baking for years.

It is the exact opposite of my recent sourdough breads in almost every dimension: instant yeast, has no autolyse, uses sugar, is super rapid, no wholewheat, etc etc. Even for an instant recipe it is fairly minimalist eschewing the biga or couche or anything that would complicate the life of the home baker for whom the original recipe was intended.

Sometimes it is fun to try something radically different, and it reminded me of what was possible in bread baking.

The recipe then:

  • 500g white bread flour (stoneground, 11.5% protein)
  • 450g water (lukewarm – 28 deg C)
  • 2.5g sugar (0.5 tsp)
  • 4.5g instant yeast (1.5 tsp)
  • 13g salt (1.5 tsp)
  •   13g olive oil (1 Tbsp)

    – Mixed as an all-in-one-mix; first mixed the dry ingredients (yeast, flour, sugar, salt) to ensure even distribution and then added the lukewarm water. Note: the original recipe calls for adding the salt after the dough was mixed, but went even minimalist than that with an all-in-one.
    – Five minutes of stretch-and-fold (in-bowl) after mixing. More like an in bowl stretch and slap. After five minutes dough was still sticky, but there was some evidence of gluten formation and it was holding shape better. Original recipe says you can do machine mixing but should finish off by hand, and being minimalist again did everything by hand.
    – Smothered  top of dough in bowl with olive oil and let the oil run down the sides of the dough in the bowl. Coverred bowl and left until doubled in volume. This took around 1h 45min for me (RT of 23-24 deg C).
    – Tipped out onto heavily floured surface and did a basic ‘envelope’ shaping. No couche. This is where I went a little wrong, should have gone directly onto the final tray rather than having to move it again and there was certainly some degassing and flatness caused by that.
    – Baked at 200 deg C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown showed on top and base tap sounded good (took 35 min).

    Since I was breaking all the rules we only waited 30 minutes for cooling before we tucked in with good butter which melted instantly. Soft crust, nice mouth feel, lovely salty taste. Certainly, a poor crumb compared to the true sourdough master pieces from the community bake, but for a low effort effort this was a surprisingly solid recipe.

Ciabatta cooling

Ciabatta crumb



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