Tasty Ciabatta

Ciabatta may be one of the most famous Italian breads, and is surprisingly very easy and simple to make. It’s ideal to accompany some cheese, or to simply be dipped in some tasty garlic and herb olive oil.

Ingredients:

For the starter:

  • 350 g strong white flour
  • 180 ml warm water
  • 5 g fresh yeast

For the dough:

  • 450 g strong white flour
  • 10 g fresh yeast
  • 340 ml warm water
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  1. To prepare the starter place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix by hand for 5 minutes, to form a rough dough. Brush the inside of the bowl with oil, and place the dough inside. Cover with clingfilm and leave the starter to rest overnight; in a warm place
  2. The next day, to make the dough sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast. Scoop out the starter that you previously prepared and add it to the bowl. Pour in the water and oil, add the salt and mix thoroughly until fully combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 8 minutes until you have a smooth ball
  3. Brush the inside of another large bowl with oil and place the dough ball in it. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it to rise in a warm place away from any draughts for 1 and a half hours until it is bubbly and light
  4. Then, transfer the dough to a floured surface and sprinkle a little flour on top. Gently press down with your fingers and divide into four equal strips. Fold one side of the flattened dough into the middle, then bring the other side over to the middle and press down to seal. Finally, fold in half lengthways and seal the edges to create a long shape
  5. Cover a flat baking tray with a tea towel and sprinkle it with flour
  6. Place the four dough strips on the tea towel, cover with another tea towel and leave the dough to rest in a warm place for 40 minutes
  7. Flour a baking tray and preheat the oven 220 degrees celcius/ gas mark 7
  8. Pick up one ciabatta, turn it over and lay on the floured tray. Gently stretch the ciabatta lengthways to give your ciabatta its classic shape. Repeat with the remaining 3 dough strips
  9. Spray the inside of the oven with water to create moisture, bake the ciabatta in the middle shelf of the oven for around 20 minutes, or util beautiful and golden.
  10.  Serve warm
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