It may sounds complicated, but its actually quite simple! Start by making a ''biga'' or starter and go from there....
- 114 g water
- 120 g strong white bread flour
- ½ tsp S&P even rise dried yeast
- 114 g water
- 57 g milk
- 1 tsp table or sea salt
- 240 g strong white bread flour
- 20 g S&P flour booster
- 1/2 tsp S&P even rise dried yeast
- Pour water for the starter into the bread machine pan. Sprinkle over the flour, covering the water, and add the yeast. Set bread machine to dough setting and mix for 5 minutes. Switch machine off. Leave the starter in the machine overnight or for 12-24 hours.
- If not using the starter within 24 hours, place the foamy mixture into the refrigerator. The flavour will only get better - up to 3-4 days. Allow the biga to come to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
- Make the ciabatta dough:
- Add water, milk, salt, flour, yeast and flour booster to the starter. Select the dough cycle and push start. After 15-20 minutes, open the lid and check the dough. The dough should start to look shiny but will still be sticky. The dough will wind around the paddle.
- When kneading stops, remove the pan from the machine. Do not let the dough cycle finish as you normally would.
- Lightly spray a 3-quart square or rectangular container with oil. Use a brush or your hand to coat the inside of the container.
- Use a greased spatula to remove the sticky dough from the bread machine pan into the plastic container. Oil all surfaces of the dough by flipping the dough over with a spatula.
- Cover the container and allow to rise at room temperature. Don't try to rush it and let the dough rise until double. This could take an hour or more.
- Using a greased spatula, slip it underneath the dough in the corners and lift each corner and each side up and to the middle. Be careful not to squash any bubles. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Repeat the previous step to lift the corners of the dough toward the middle. Again, let the dough rest for 30 minutes. This helps to ensure a holey texture.
- Shaping the ciabatta dough:
- Use flour or semolina for flouring the board. Empty dough by turning the container upside down onto a board or work surface, or silicone baking sheet. The dough should be in the same general square or rectangular shape of the container it proofed in. Do not punch the dough down like you would normal bread dough.
- Spray a bench scraper with olive oil. Use to divide the rectangle of dough into half longways.
- Catch the long inner edges of each loaf with the oiled bench scraper and pull it up over the top about halfway and toward the outer edge. This leaves more room between each loaf. Now catch the outer edge of each loaf with the bench scraper. again pull it up and over the loaf about halfway in the direction of the middle of the tray.
- If you are using a silicone mat, transfer or pull the mat with the shaped loaves onto a rimless baking sheet. If you are not using a silicone mat, use liberally floured hands to carefully transfer the two cylinders of dough to a prepared cookie sheet.
- Cover the loaves so the dough won't dry out and form a crust. You can also spray a large piece of plastic wrap with oil and cover the loaves with it.
- Preheat oven to 230C.
- Let loaves rest for about 30-45 minutes or until they get puffy.
- Spritz loaves with water using a spray bottle. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Spray loaves one or two more times during the first 5 minutes of baking.
- Loaves are done when the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 98C. Allow loaves to cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour before slicing.
Suitable to freeze Defrost 1 hour - re-heat in hot oven to crispen before serving
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