I love the Great British Bake Off so much. I loved baking long before I found this show, but it really puts you in the mood so make some fresh goodies. So here we are: homemade ciabatta! This is easily one of my favorite breads, and now that I know how simple it is to make, I’ll have a hard time turning back to store bought.
Note: to be done properly, this recipe takes at least a day/overnight to complete. Your patience will be greatly rewarded!
What’s your favorite bread to bake at home? Let me know in the comments and tag me on Instagram!
¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ cups water
2 cups bread flour
All of the sponge
1 ½ cups bread flour
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ tsp salt
To make the sponge, combine the sponge ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours. You’ll notice lots of holes and bubbles form in the mixture.
To make the dough, add the remaining ingredients to the sponge and mix vigorously until the dough begins to hold together. This dough should be really sticky - add more flour only if it's runny or really wet.
Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl. Let the dough rise for one hour, then gently deflate it. Let it rise another hour, then turn it out onto a liberally floured surface, and sprinkle lots of flour on top.
Flatten the dough to an 8" x 10" rectangle, about 3/4" thick, and cut it into two pieces, each about 4" x 10".
Transfer the loaves onto a piece of parchment, leaving about 6" between them. Cover with heavily oiled plastic wrap or a freestanding plastic cover, and let rise until they're very puffy, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 500°F for 30 minutes.
While the oven is preheating, place an empty cast iron pan on the bottom oven rack, to one side of the oven.
Transfer the loaves on their parchment to a baking sheet, and place them on a middle rack of the oven.
Once you’ve placed the bread in the oven, pour about 1 cup of boiling water into the cast iron frying pan. Steam will billow from the pan upwards to envelop the baking bread; be sure to wear good oven mitts to shield your hands and arms. Quickly close the oven door to trap the steam. Lower the oven temperature to 425°F.
Bake the ciabatta until it's golden brown, approximately 22 to 25 minutes. Turn the oven off, and crack the door open about 2", allowing the ciabatta to cool completely in the oven.
Enjoy! This is best eaten with in a couple days, but also freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic or foil.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.