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Baking the perfectly leavened up ciabatta bread may require little practice but can be definitely perfected with this easy recipe. The aroma of a freshly baked ciabatta bread is incomparable to the ones available in the bakeries and hence the recipe deserves to be tried atleast once.
- In a mixer bowl, add the yeast to the water, allow to stand for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently.
- Sift the flour and add to the yeast. combine ingredients well, cover and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours.
- Add the yeast to the milk, stir and let it stand 3-4 minutes to be sure the yeast is working.
- Add the yeast mixture, water and oil to the sponge and mix with a dough hook.
- Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and knead for 2 minutes at low speed, 3 minutes at middle speed, adding the remaining flour slowly, or more water, until the dough begins to pull from the sides of the bowl.
- The dough should be quite soft; firm enough to handle without sticking to the hands, but still very soft. add the last of the flour slowly.
- Cover or place in a large, oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until tripled in size and bubbly.
- Place the dough on floured baking paper or other surface and divide into 4 pieces, but do not punch down.
- Form in rectangles about 10” x 4”/25 x 10 cm in size and press down lightly with the fingers.
- Cover the dough and let rise for 90 minutes. the dough will rise only slightly.
- The flour on the surface where the bread makes its final rise is what remains on the top of the loaf after baking.
- With practice you can adjust the amount to get a pleasing appearance. you can also form them into about 6 to 8 rolls.
- Preheat oven to 200°c/400° f.
- Heat two baking sheets in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- Pick up the loaves, turn them over and lay them upside down on the sheets, being careful not to press out the air.
- Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes until bread just begins to turn golden.
- During the first 10 minutes, paint or spray the bread with water 3 times.
This recipe was contributed by urviashah on 20 Mar 2002
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