Easy Ciabatta BreadUser Submitted Recipe
Part 1: Making the Biga (starter dough mix)-
1 cup + 1 tsp. warm water (between 95-105°)
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast granules (Red Star works best and is cheaper)
1/8 tsp. sugar
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (above 3500 ft. use Hungarian High Altitude Flour)
PART 2: Making the Loaves-
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. Warm water (95 to 105°)
1/8 tsp. dry yeast
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp. Flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt
Part 1: Making the Biga (starter dough mix) Add yeast and sugar to water; stir then let rest 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, stand mixer or 14 cup food processor fitted with dough blade, add flour and yeast mixture. Mix/pulse at low speed until the dough looks like soft, shaggy and sticky dough. Turn mixture into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate from 8 hours to 36 hours.
Part 2: Making the Loaves-Pull apart biga dough into walnut size pieces and toss into a large mixing bowl, stand mixer or 14 cup food processor fitted with dough nook/blade. Add flour, yeast and water. Mix until dough turns into a shaggy mass. Scrape bowl down and let rest 10 minutes, covered with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel. (Don't remove from bowl until instructed). Sprinkle salt over dough and knead until dough starts to come away from sides. Scrape down bowl and hook/blade and let dough rest covered for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place metal bowl of boiling water on lowest rack or bottom of oven. Set next rack directly above water bowl. Scrape dough out of bowl onto a floured surface. Knead 6-8 turns, turning the dough a quarter turn each time. Dough should be silky, a bit sticky and limp like super slime. Cut dough in half. One at a time, place dough on prepared baking sheet flour side up. With floured hands squish and push dough into a 16"x 4" rectangle. Let loaves rest 20 minutes, uncovered. Dimple the bread with fingertips before baking.
Bake loaves for exactly 25 minutes. If you're not sure they're done, tap on loaves--they should have a hollow thud sound. Bread will be lightly brown on top and crusty brown on the bottom. Brush tops and sides of loaves with soft butter. Cool completely on rack before cutting. Wrap in parchment paper and aluminum foil and store in refrigerator. Loaves stored frozen are good for up to 2 months wrapped well.
Serving: Cut bread into 4-5" chunks, then turn on side and slice in half.