Ciabatta

To get a good Ciabatta, you need some patience. Because you need to make a Lievito Madre. What is actually something like sourdough.

To make a Lievito Madre, you need
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon wheat flour
a pinch of sugar
and so much water that you get a quite liquid dough

All of that, you mix and put in a little bowl. Cover it, but not very tight, it should be able to get some air. Now, let that stand around for 3-5 days, in a room with about 20° C temperature. (Here at my place, that’s normal room temperature.) Stir it sometimes.
When you can smell that typical sour smell and the dough gets a bit bubbly, add again:
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon wheat flour
1 pinch of sugar
and water – The dough should be a bit less liquid than before.

Let it be for 6 to 12 hours, then add:
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat flour
and water. (No sugar this time.) Consistency as before.

After further 6 to 12 hours, add that again!
You can wait for about 15 days now until you bake. Or you can bake now.

It’s best when you start in the evening of the day before the day you want to bake.

You need:
100 g wheat flour (or if you get it: durum wheat flour – I didn’t)
50 g water
3 tablespoons of your Lievito Madre

Stir those ingredients thoroughly, roll the ball of dough in a bit of olive oil, cover your bowl and let it rest for 12 to 18 hours. The temperature of your room should be again about 20° C. (You could also wait for some days and let it rest in the fridge.)

My dough rested over night. In the morning, I added:
500 g wheat flour (or again: durum wheat flour)
about 375 g water
a pinch of dry yeast
10-13 g salt
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Again, knead it thoroughly. Knead knead knead (I did that with my mixer dough hooks, because it’s a bit sticky) until you have a smooth dough. Let the dough rest for about 90 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put some flour on it.
Put the dough on there, pull it a bit apart and divide it in two pieces. Take as much flour as you need to handle it. Ciabatta is floury.
Now you “fold” every piece: Fold half of the dough in the middle and fold the other half over it. Get what I mean? Both dough pieces should look like this:

Folded in twice.

Now, you let the two pieces rest for another 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 250 ° C.

And then, put your baking sheet in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Spray a lot of water on the dough pieces in between and put some water in the oven with them in the drip pan or in a heat-proof casserole. (You get steam now!) After 20 minutes turn off the oven and let them in there for further 20 minutes.
And now, you should put out two nice golden brown Ciabatta loaves.

Buon appetito!

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