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  COOKING TIME

Overnight really plus a few hours proving and kneading

  MAKES

2 loaves

  DIFFICULTY

Reasonably easy to intermediate

  NUTRITION

It’s a staple! But don’t eat too much.

Ciabatta

This recipe uses active dried yeast, not the fast action type. You make a frothy batter first and then use this to set off your dough.

 

For the starter – also known as a biga

150 g plain white flour

 

1/2 teaspoon dried active yeast

 

110 ml warm water

 

Put the yeast and half of the water in a small mixing bowl and mix in

Add the rest of the water and whisk in the flour, which is sieved into the bowl until a dough forms

Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to get a very smooth dough

Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours (overnight will do)

For the main dough

1/2 level teaspoon of yeast as before

40 ml warm milk

 

2 tablespoons oil (olive or sunflower)

 

175 ml warm water

 

250 g strong bread flower


1 level teaspoon salt

 

Stir the yeast and milk together and cover – leave for 15 minutes

 

Combine the oil and water

 

Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl

 

Make a well and add the starter, the mild and yeast mixture and the water and oil

 

Stir well with a spoon or your hands

 

The mixture will be quite wet, knead for ten minutes in the bowl

 

Cover and leave to prove for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size

 

Folding the dough – keep it in the bowl and fold the end over backwards, rotate the bowl a little and repeat. Repeat this process about 8 times

 

Rest the dough for 20 minutes and then repeat

 

Flour a surface well and tip the dough out. It will be a little wet but don’t worry.

 

Shape the dough onto a large or 2 smaller loaves.

 

Fold the dough over on itself to form a rectangle and lay on baking paper and rest for 20 minutes.

 

Preheat the oven with a baking tray inside to 220ºC, 450ºF, Gas 7

 

Place the bread along with the paper on the hot baking tray and bake for 35 – 45 minutes for a large one, 25 – 30 minutes for smaller ones

 

Test by hitting the bottom for a hollow sound

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