To break in my new bread machine, I - in typical Lauren fashion - chose a complex and time-consuming recipe to try: ciabatta. It takes a very long time! I started the biga last night at 1:00 AM when we got in from seeing a movie (Children of Men is excellent, by the way), started the dough cycle this morning at about noon, and baked it by 2:00. We had it for dinner tonight with some olive oil for dipping, and some fettuccine bolognese. Despite the time required, this bread is freaking phenomenal. It's exactly like you'd get at an Italian restaurant. The loves looked lovely as well. I am very impressed with my bread machine, and I am impressed with this recipe. I would absolutely make this bread again, especially for company.
from Bread Machine Baking, posted on the CLBB
This popular flat loaf is irregularly shaped and typically has large air holes in the crumb. The dough for this bread is extremely wet. Do not be tempted to add more flour - it's meant to be that way.
For the Biga:
7/8 cup water
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp. rapid rise active dry yeast
For the Ciabatta Dough:
7/8 cup water
2 Tbs. milk
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
scant 3 cups unbleached bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp yeast
1. Pour the water for the biga into the bread pan.
2. Set the bread machine to the dough setting; use basic dough setting. Press Start. Mix for 5 minutes then switch off the machine.
3. Leave the biga in the bread machine, or place in a large mixing bowl covered with lightly oiled plastic wrap, overnight or for at least 12 hours, until the dough has risen and is just starting to collapse.
4. Return the biga to the pan, if necessary. Add the water, milk and oil for the ciabatta dough. Sprinkle the flour over. Add the salt and sugar in separate corners. Make a shallow indention in the center of the flour and add the yeast.
5. Set the bread machine to the dough setting; use the basing dough setting. Press start.
6. When the cycle has finished, transfer the dough to a bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 hour, until the dough has tripled in size. Sprinkle two baking sheets with flour.
7. Using a spoon or a dough scraper, divide the dough into two portions. Carefully tip one portion of the dough onto one of the prepared baking sheets, trying to avoid knocking the air out of the dough. Using well floured hands shape the dough into a rectangular loaf about 1 inch thick, pulling and stretching as necessary. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
8. Sprinkle both loaves with flour. Leave them, uncovered, in a warm place for about 20-30 minutes. The dough will spread and rise. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
9. Bake the ciabatta for 25-30 minutes, or until both loaves have risen, are light golden in color and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool before serving with butter, or olive oil for dipping.
Yield: 2 loaves
My bread, sliced and ready to be consumed (which it was immediately following the photo):