Its a 2 step process and herein lies the key. Make the dough at night, cook the ciabatta the next day. Simple, simple, simple. Who needs to knead for ages? Not I! Who needs to wait for dough to rise? I sleep through THAT stage!
My recipe is based upon one by Sophie Gray, but simplified somewhat, well except for the wordy description *blush*
Makes 2 loaves.
700 ml lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp dried yeast granules (I use Piko's yeast in Chch)
900 g plain flour
2.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil ( or grapeseed etc)
Combine warm water with sugar in your biggest mixing bowl, then sprinkle yeast on top. Wait till it goes frothy.
Now I just chuck in everything else and using clean hands you squelch it through your fingers. My dough is always like thick batter so I leave it in my big bowl and squelch. Do this for 5 minutes till well mixed (2 minutes may even do it) I did get a danish dough whisk last christmas so now I use that instead of my hands, but squelching is perfectly fine! Its a mare to get off your fingers so a desert spoon helps. I then pour a little oil on the top of the dough to stop it sticking when it rises. Poke holes in the top with your fingers then cover the bowl (I use a plate) Then pop in the fridge for at least 8 hours. This is what gives ciabatta its holiness, rising slowly in the fridge.
The next day I flour the table and sit my bowl upside down on top till the dough extricates itself. Then more flour on top and cut the dough exactly in half with a serrated knife. Then I shape into that slipper shape, more flour and leave sit for a bit. I usually get a spare tray and slide them on there to do their sitting covered in a tea towel. Then they're easy to slide onto your hot tray.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees C (wheres the wee symbol?) I've started doing mine at 240 now but just see how your oven goes. Heat a tray on the middle shelf for 15 min. Take the tray out and put it on top of the oven. Its a jiggle but you then need to slide your dough onto the hot tray! I do mine side by side. Make sure you cut a few slashes across the top of the ciabatta to stop them mushrooming as they cook. Pop in the oven for 20 min (or maybe a little less) You need to chuck in a 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the oven a few times as the dough's cooking (the steam helps with the ciabattaness) I realised a long time ago when I cleaned the excess water out of the warming drawer, that putting a roasting dish in the bottom of the oven before you start, was a good move.
Turn down to 220 degrees C ( or 200 in my oven) and cook for about 10 min more. Watch and take out a little early if done.
Simple, simple, simple. Let me know how you go!
I havent got a pic of the cooked cibatta but I do have a rather snigger worthy one of what my dough looked like this morning....
why is it spewing forth you whisper?
hmmmmmmm I say, that would be my accidental doubling of yeast *blushes profusely*
Still made superb ciabatta though, thank goodness, as I'd made enough for 6 LOAVES!!