Feb 9, 2013

No-knead ciabatta

Saturday, Feb. 09. 2:30 pm. When I can't go to Italy, I make Italy come to me. This is Italian food at its best. Just a touch of olive oil and I'm in heaven.

I love this recipe. The preparation time and the list of ingredients could not be any shorter. There is no kneading, no electric devices involved. The yeast amount is minimal. Time is doing all the work. 20 hours of it. The last part it a little tricky, but easier than I thought. The dough did a nice flip without a mess.

I don't think I'll be exaggerating by saying that this is the best bread in town. My ciabatta is chewy, tasty, airy with an attractive crust. It doesn't fall apart when you hold it in your hands, it tears like an old time farmer's bread. I can't wait for pick-nick season. Wine, prosciutto, tomato...ciabatta and sunshine.

"Ciabatta" in Italian means "a slipper". Cute, because it's flat. But there is nothing else "flat" about it. The ciabatta is as alive and real as food can get.

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

time: 5 min preparation + 20 hrs inactive + 35 min baking = 20hrs 40min


1 g (1/3 teaspoon) brewer's dry yeast
600 g (4 cups) flour
450 ml (1 5/6 cups) tepid water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

olive oil and flour for finishing


In a jar, mix water with salt and sugar.
In a big bowl (I used the one from my standing mixer), sift flour and yeast together. Add water mix. Work the ingredients with your fingers just till all combined, for about 1 minute. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and put it in an oven, turned off,  for 18 hours. Temperature should about 24C (75F) and not more than 30C (86F). 

Next day, prepare a baking sheet. Wipe it with an oiled paper towel and cover it with some flour. 

Spray your counter top with water (or rub it with a wet paper towel) and lay a plastic wrap on top. Cover it with flour. Transfer the dough onto the plastic wrap (covered with flour) on the counter top. It should have a shape of a rectangle, so it fits on the plastic wrap. Now, flip the dough onto the baking sheet. The plastic wrap will be now on top. Take the wrap off the cake. Sift some flour on top and cover it with a cotton cloth. Place it in the oven, turned off, for 2 hours. I preheated my oven to 30C/86F. Take the baking sheet out and preheat the oven to 200C/390F (fan forced function).

Place the ciabatta in the hot oven (without the cloth) and bake it for 32 minutes. The recipe said 40 minutes, so check your oven toward the end. The ciabatta should be deep golden in color. Take it out and place it onto a cooling rack. This way, you'll have a crunchy bottom too.

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