BBA Challenge – Ciabatta

I have a love-hate relationship with this bread.  The first time I made it, I used Peter Reinhart’s Poolish starter.  The bread had a very tight crumb.  Good flavor but definitely bared no resemblance to ciabatta.  Refusing to accept defeat, I made the bread again, this time using the Biga starter, max hydration and the optional olive oil.  I also elected to sprinkle freshly grated asiago onto the dough during the two stretch and fold manuevers.  The dough was super sticky and nothing like any of the doughs I had worked with so far in this challenge, so I figured I must have finally gotten it right.  I was extra careful with the dough, trying as hard as I  could not to let any of the gasses escape.  I was extremely confident that this time I had it right. 

When I checked on the loaves half way through baking, they were massive!  They ballooned in the oven.   My confidence in this bread had started to wane.  The bottoms were done, but the top wasn’t nearly as browned as I would have liked – but I pulled the loaves because I hate burned bread bottoms.  After an hour on the cooking rack, I cut into the first loaf.  It wasn’t what I expected.  The crumb was too tight, but the slice was very light and had a nice flavor.  I was mad.  I started cursing the ciabatta.  I went onto twitter and complained about my failure. 

Then came dinner.  My husband and I decided to have sandwiches.  I started slicing the ciabatta and low and behold – by the second slice in I had holes!  I immediately tweeted by appologies to the ciabatta and then enjoyed a salami sandwich.  Up next is either cinnamon rolls or sticky buns.  I haven’t decided which.  Maybe I’ll split the dough in half and make both.

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