Ciabatta (take 2)

Cooked & sliced …well, it’s really take 3, as I had a crack at this 12 months ago as well as the ‘no knead’ version a month ago.  Not surprisingly, all 3 recipes are variations on a theme.  This one is based on Peter Reinhart’s Pain a l’Ancienne Rustic, and was my first test from his book, Artisan’s Bread Everyday.

Unlike my previous Ciabatta recipes, this one doesn’t use a preferment, as such.  Like all of Peter Reinhart’s recipes in this book, the mix and rise happens overnight, effectively doing away with the concept of poolishes and bigas.

Making use of the stretch & fold technique to manipulate the wet dough, a minimal amount of yeast, and a high oven temperature, this proved to be a very effective method providing well shaped loaves with wonderful flavour.  The long rise, even though retarded, meant that the dough didn’t grow significantly during the proving stage.  This made it much easier to contain the wet dough on the baking trays.

Peter Reinhart uses this recipe for baguettes & focaccia as well, albeit with some tweaks

Makes 3 loaves


  • 600g Strong Bread Flour
  • 12g Sea Salt, ground
  • 4g Fast Action Yeast
  • 480ml Water
  • 15g Olive Oil


  • Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add water and mix well with a knife until well combined.  Set aside for 5 minutes to autolyse
  • Add the oil and mix well in with your hands. Set aside for another 10 minutes
  • Tip onto an oiled surface & clean out the bowl.
  • Stretch & fold the dough on all 4 sides and cover with the upturned bowl.  Leave for 10 minutes
  • Repeat this last step 4 times in total
  • Return the dough to the bowl and cover with clingfilm.  It will still be a very sticky, wet dough.  Put in the fridge overnight, of for up to 4 days. The retardation will add flavour .
  • By the morning, the dough should have doubled in size.  Remove the bowl from the fridge and leave to stand, covered for 1 hour
  • Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently stretch into a rectangle  about 20-25cm square.  Try not to knock out any of the gas
  • Cut the dough into 3 strips, and fold each strip into 3 to make a square, about 7-8cm across.
  • Roll gently in the flour to cover and leave to rest of a floured baking tray, covered with cling film, for 1 hour
  • Gently roll each square and stretch the dough out into a rectangle, about 15-18cm long.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and cover again.  Rest for another hour
  • Preheat an oven as high as it will go, before adding the trays of dough, along with a bowl of water to create some steam.  Immediately turn the oven down to 230oC
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown
  • Cool on a wire rack before serving


Ready for the oven Fresh out of the oven Cooked & sliced


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