Who doesn't love going to thier favorite restaurant and getting that amazing chewy bread with their soup or salad! You could go pay about $6/ loaf at a bakery--or make 4 loaves for a tiny portion of the price! Don't let this recipe scare you. Once you get past your fear of making bread--it is actually pretty easy. You can use all purpose flour--but it willl be sturdier if you use bread flour or add extra gluten. #Sonomnom4u #CiabattaBread #EasierThanYouThink
3 cups Bread Flour (You can use all-purpose but it won't be as "sturdy")
3 tsp salt
3 tsp fast rising yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
1-3/4 cups warm water
Extra Flour for dusting
Optional Cornmeal for adding to flour for dusting.
Oil a deep, square container (Clean, Square ice cream buckets make great containers for this because they hold 1 gallon and are a square shape!)
In a stand alone mixer bowl with dough hook attached, add flour, salt and yeast. Don't place the salt directly on the yeast or it will kill the yeast. Add olive oil and 1 cup of the water. Mix on low speed for a minute or so until the dough starts to form. Slowly add the rest of the water and turn speed up to medium and mix for another 5-8 minutes--until the dough becomes smooth and stretchy. This dough is supposed to be sticky and droopy, so don't add more flour!
Oil the square bowl in all sides and bottom. Gently pour the dough into the oiled bowl, scraping the mixer bowl completely. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a tea towel. Let rise 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425° F
Prepare a large, flat, clean surface with some flour and cornmeal. rub them around so they are evenly mixed. Carefully pour the dough out onto the flour/cornmeal mixture and let it keep the square shape as much as possible. Top with a sprinkle of more flour/cornmeal mixture.
Don't knead or mess with this dough. CIabatta is supposed to be as untouched as possible! That is the secret to the airholes throughout!
After the dough takes its shape naturally, cut it into 4 even pieces. If you see a square, cut it in quarters with an even line down the middle and horizotally down that middle.
Take a piece and gently pull it a bit to create a long loaf and place it into the loaf shaped baking pan. Repeat with other 3 loaves. Don't overwork or you will lose the magic of ciabatta!
Bake 20-25 minutes or until bread is golden and hollow when you knock! Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
NOTE: Alternative Pan Mehod:
I use a french bread pan that hold 4 loaves. It helps make a set shape. If you do not have one, ciabatta dough works great just shapes rustically on a large baking sheet! If you do this, coat the bottom of the baking sheet with some cornmeal before placing hte dough on it. Either way this bread is SO NOM NOM!!! Goes Great with Zuppa Toscana and Italian Salad!!