Thursday, December 26, 2013

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water (same temperature for a baby bath) 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ¼ cups bread flour (or regular flour)


1.        In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.   Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Combine all other ingredients (salt, sugar, oil, flour), adding flour one cup at a time. Blend well with a wooden spoon until a VERY sticky and soft dough forms.

3.      Put dough on a floured surface.  Cut in half.  

4.      Dust 2 bowls with bread flour.  Put dough halves into the bowls.  Cover and let rise 1 hour.  

5.      Remove dough from bowls (work with one dough ball at a time).   Place on floured surface.  Dough will still be very sticky.  Flatten the dough a bit.  Fold edges of dough over onto itself to form into a square.  Press dough flat again to make the square a bit bigger.  Flip dough over and do the same with the other side (folding edges in to make a smaller square).  

6.      Place dough back inside bowls.  Cover and let rise 1 hour.

7.      Repeat steps 5 and 6 two more times, which should take an additional 2 hours.  

8.      Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

9.      Lightly flour 2 baking sheets.  Place each dough mound on a baking sheet, and carefully stretch dough mounds until they are almost the length of the pan.  But do not try to form or stretch the dough into the shape of the pan, it should be a smooth-edged rectangle, or even an oblong oval.  

10.  Bake 30 minutes.  Every 10 minutes, lightly spray dough with water to help create a crispy crust.  

11.  Remove from oven and cut dough into desired shapes to serve.  Store tightly wrapped. 

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