The Ciabatta Recipe One of the simplest breads to master, a good ciabatta should be well risen and crusty, with large air pockets.
Rising and proofing time:
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tbsp olive oil,
plus extra for greasing
2 1⁄2 cups bread flour, plus extra
1 tsp sea salt
1 Dissolve the yeast in 11⁄2 cups warm water. Once it has dissolved, add the oil.
2 Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well, pour in the yeast, and stir to form a soft dough.
3 Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes, until smooth, soft, and somewhat slippery.
4 Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
5 Leave to rise in a warm place for 2 hours until doubled. Turn out onto a floured surface.
6 Gently knock back the dough with your fists, then divide it into 2 equal pieces.
7 Knead them briefly and shape into traditional slipper shapes, around 12 x 4in (30 x 10cm).
8 Place each loaf on a lined baking sheet with enough space around to allow it to expand.
9 Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel. Leave for 1 hour until doubled in volume.
10 Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Spray the loaves with a fine mist of water.
11 Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, spraying them with water every 10 minutes.
12 It is cooked when the top is golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
13 When cooked, turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. STORE These are best eaten the same day, but can be stored overnight, wrapped in paper.