Ciabatta with biga
ciabatta is based on a recipe by Richard Bertinet in his book Dough (ISBN 1856267628). Ciabatta flour can be obtained online from Shipton Mill.
For the biga
For the dough
- 10g fresh yeast
- 340g sparkling mineral water
- 50g olive oil
- 450g ciabatta flour
- 15g salt
- Extra olive oil for oiling
- Semolina for dusting - optional
- Dissolve the yeast in the water
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl by hand or in a mixer for 5 minutes until you have a stiff dough.
- Cover with clingfilm and leave it in a draught-free area for 24 hours.
- Dissolve the yeast in the water and then add olive oil.
- Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and mix in the water, yeast and oil.
- Then, add the biga and mix thoroughly. (This is a very wet mixture so I would recommend using a mixer with a dough hook).
- Knead using your chosen method. (You can also do this using your food mixer on the second highest speed for 4-5 minutes).
- Oil another large bowl and pour the dough into it.
- Allow to rise in a warm place until it has a bubbly and light texture (about 1½ hours), covering the bowl with clingfilm.
- Gently deflate the dough with floured fingers and repeat the previous step or leave in the fridge overnight.
- If the dough has been in the fridge bring it to room temperature before continuing with the next step.
- Generously flour your work surface and using your dough scraper turn out the dough in one piece.
- Flour the top of the dough and using your fingers, gently dimple it.
- Divide the dough into 4.
- For each piece of dough, fold one side of it into the middle and press down and seal with the heal of your hand.
- Fold the other side unto the middle, pressing and sealing in the same manner.
- Finally, fold in half lengthways and seal the edges so that you end up with a long shape.
- Place the pieces of dough onto a couche cloth or piece of linen which has been floured with rye flour.
- Make ruches in the cloth between each piece of dough, to prevent them from spreading too much, but do allow a little spreading room.
- Cover with tea towels and allow to prove for about 45 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to its highest temperature with a tray half-filled with boiling water placed on the bottom. If using a baking stone, put it in the oven before you turn the heat on.
- Flour a baking tray or peel, pick up one ciabatta at a time, turn it over, stretching it lengthways a little at the same time and lay on the peel or tray.
- Transfer to the oven, reduce the heat to 220° C (425° F - gas 7) and bake for about 20 minutes until light golden brown.
- Allow to cool on wire racks.