Ciabatta made with "yesterday's" Bread
Oct. 26, 2012 2:33 pm
Updated: Oct. 26, 2012 7:59 pm
In a previous post,
4 Hour Ciabatta I explained my method for making a crusty, flavorful loaf of Ciabatta in four hours without having to make a starter ahead of time. While this loaf is good, you can really kick up the flavor by using a starter. Many Italian breads are made
with a pre-ferment known as a Biga, which is typically around 75-80% hydration. A poolish starter is usually 100-125% hydration. Other Italian breads and focaccia's can also made with a sponge for same day baking. The purpose of the starter is to add mature
yeast and bacteria that strengthen the gluten structure in the flour and deepen the flavor. And in fact, the more the biga/starter matures the more intense the flavor gets transforming the finished bread from a good loaf to a great one.
This method I'm about to explain is a little different in that it uses what's known as yesterday's bread (criscenti in Sicily) rather than a biga. What's the difference? A biga is made with flour and water at about an 75-80% hydration, that is mix 100g of flour
with 75-80g water and let that sit on the countertop for a few days maybe with some fruit juice or scant pinch of yeast to get it started. Each day you remove roughly 2/3 of the mix and add fresh flour and water in the same percentages to give the wild yeasts
new food. After a few, you have nice, happy bubbling starter with wild yeast activity. When making a loaf of bread, a portion of the biga is added to the dough and then more flour and water are added back to the biga to keep it going. So the biga and the bread
mix are two separate things. In this technique, you'll add ALL of yesterday's dough to the bread mix and then save off a portion to use the following day rather than a separate culture that you keep going. You'll see.
So first thing is you need to make some bread dough today that will be yesterday's bread tomorrow. Measure out 50g of AP flour along with 50g of tipo "00" flour and then add 75g of water and mix until all flour has been incorporated. Please see the previous
blog entry (4 Hour Ciabatta) for a discussion on the flours used in this recipe. Scatter a scant bit of active dry yeast (like 1/8 tsp or less) and mix well with the dough. Cover
with some plastic wrap and set aside on the kitchen counter for 8-12 hours and then refrigerate. If you want a stronger flavor, leave it out all night.
Ok, so now it is the next day and you're ready to make your bread.
Repeating the ingredients list from the other post, you'll be using a 50/50 mixture of AP and tipo "00" flour, bottled spring water, sea salt and active dry yeast along with, of course, your dough from yesterday. My flours are Baker's Choice and "00" Pizza
- Flour Mix - 200g (7+ oz) - 100%
- All Purpose Flour - 100g (3.5 oz)
- tipo "00" Flour - 100g (3.5 oz)
- Spring Water - 150g (5.25 oz) - 75%
- Sea Salt - 5g (~3/4 tsp) - 2.5%
- Active Dry Yeast - 2g (1/2 tsp) - 1%
- In a mixing bowl, I use the metal bowl from my KitchenAid mixer for this as it is perfect for the job, add 100g of AP flour and 100g of tipo "00" flour. Add 150g of bottled water and mix well until no bits of dry flour remain in the bowl. Roll and stir
a few turns and then set aside for 20-30 minutes for the flour to take up the water and autolyse. Do not skip or shorten this step as it is very important for the final outcome.
- Now take the bowl containing yesterday's bread, roughly 175g of dough and add it to the dough mix. All of it. Do NOT add the yeast. Mix very well to incorporate the starter (criscenti). In fact the 350g of dough along with the 175g of starter is just about
enough volume to use your dough hook if you want but don't overdo it. Just a few minutes. I use a wooden spatula. What you have now is a blend of new dough with the dough from yesterday.
- Now scrape out the dough from the bowl and put 350g of the dough back into your mixing bowl. Put the remainder back into the "yesterday" bowl for tomorrow. Make sense? You need 350g of dough for the bread recipe and you are saving off the rest to use as
a starter for tomorrow.
- Cover the "yesterday" bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on your counter for 8-12 hours before putting in the refrigerator. The criscenti will be good in the fridge for a few days and can even be frozen for about a month. When you get up in the morning
the next day, take the starter out of the fridge and it will be happily active and bubbling in a few hours
Continuing on with the instructions from the previous post to make the bread:
- Sprinkle some of the dry yeast on top of the dough and then roll/fold to incorporate the yeast. By roll/fold I mean taking your wooden spoon, roll the dough slightly, lift a portion and fold it back in. Repeat until all the yeast has been mixed into the
dough. This is a very wet dough (75%) and there's no need to hydrate the yeast first, the dough will do that for you. Today's Active Dry yeasts are very good and you don't have to hydrate them. Next, do the same with the salt (notice yeast first and then salt
in that order). Sprinkle some salt on the dough (not to much) and roll and fold to incorporate. Repeat until all salt has been added and then continue to roll and fold the dough a few turns to work the dough. Because it is a high hydration dough I would not
try and knead by hand. When you are finished remove the dough to an oiled bowl and cover.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. You will turn the dough 3 times over a two hour fermentation period. After the first 30 minutes, wet your hand well and then dip it into the bowl, pick up an end and fold it back over the center gently. Turn the bowl 1/4
turn and fold again. Do this two more times and you will have completed a full turn. Lastly, pick the entire dough up and turn it over. Cover and let rest for 30 more minutes. Do this every 30 minutes for 3 complete turns with the total time being 2 hours
including the last 30 minute rest. Remember to fold gently, no punching down here.
- After two hours, flour a board generously (this dough is very wet) and gently roll the dough out of the bowl onto your board. Again emphasizing the word gently, pick up the dough from one end, stretch and fold it over to the middle. Do the same from the
opposite end like you are folding an envelope. Then either gently roll back and forth to make a cylinder shape or pick up the dough and stretch lengthwise, you can even allow gravity to help you out. You should end up with a classic Ciabatta shape about 8-10
- Take a pizza peel or baking tray and put some parchment paper on it with a slight dusting of flour. Move your Ciabatta onto the parchment, dust the top well with flour and cover with a tea towel or two and allow to proof for one hour (#5). If you have experience
working with wet doughs you could do the shaping directly on the parchment instead of the board but since the dough is very wet it will definitely stick to the parchment if it finds a spot that's not floured. The last thing you want is to rip the dough. If
you do though (rip it), just patch it up and let it rest for 15 minutes before shaping.
- While your dough is proofing, heat your oven up to 470 along with a rectangular pizza stone. You will also want to add steam. What I've done is to add a couple of adobe quarry tiles that I bought in Home Depot to an old pan on the lower rack in the oven.
The quarry tiles add more mass to the over that will retain heat and release a ton of steam when I pour 2 cups of cold water over them at 470 degrees. So if you can, put a pan in the lower rack of your oven and add a few tiles.
- After an hour, your oven and tiles are at 470 degrees and it's time to place the bread in the oven. Have 2 cups of cold water ready. Slide the dough with parchment onto the stone and then quickly pour the two cups of cold water into the pan and close the
oven door. Let this bake for 35 minutes at 470. Check when there's about 10 minutes left to go and turn the bread if one side is coloring more than the other. Pull it out, let rest on a rack for an hour and enjoy
- Of course there are other things you can do with this bread like make tasty grilled cheese sandwiches
Therefore, take the starter out of the fridge in the morning, set it on the counter for later. It will begin to reactivate as it warms up to room temperature. When you return the portion of the dough to the "yesterday" bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let
sit on the counter for 8-12 hours. Put it back in the fridge after dinner or before bedtime.
I usually only want one loaf of bread and this volume is about perfect for my wife and I. The leftovers by the way make awesome bread crumbs or croutons. And with each day, the starter gets better and better with a deeper flavor as the culture continues to
Ciabatta fresh out of the oven
Grilled Cheese with Ciabatta Bread